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Krampus: Shadows of our Time

As much as I enjoy both metal and folk music from all parts of the world, I am terribly skeptical when they are combined, because, for whatever reason, a lot of folk metal strikes me as being either silly or cheesy.

Fortunately, Krampus' combination of folk music and metal music works fairly well, and it certainly does not sound silly at all. On the contrary, the band manages to combine the folk elelements and metal elements into some rather interesting and rivetting music, taking the emotional gamut associated with Celtic folk music (I am not really a folk expert, but I think that Celtic folk music forms the basis of the folk aspect of Krampus' music) and the energy and aggression associated with metal. While the folk aspect comprises Celtic fol music, the metal aspect draws on power metal, melodic death metal and traditional metal and this is a blend that works very well (just check out 'Witchs' Lullaby' which draws on melodeath and metalcore and, yes, it actually sounds good). One thing that I appreciate is that the folk instruments, while melodically prominent, never obscure the guitar such that the overall impression of the album is a quite balanced one.

The only two things that I am not a fan of are the vocals and the use of epic synth effects. While I get the idea behind the epic effects to sort of generate a symphonic feel in the intro of 'The Rocks of Verden' and in a passage of 'Echoes From the Ancients', the effects used strike me as being a bit cheesy (and remind me of some of the fantasy computer games I used to play on my PC in the late 90s); an actual symphonic orchestration would probably pull it off, but, then again, that would also be terribly expensive. The problem I have with the vocals is that they are sort of growled in a metalcore fashion. I do not have a problem with growling per se (or with metalcore), but I think that the sort of music that Krampus plays calls for a more melodically diverse type of singing, and some clean singing would really add something interesting to the music. There are some passages in 'Tears of Stone' (which is an incredibly good tune, I must say) with clean male and female singing, and that really sends shivers down my spine whenever I hear it so I would have liked more of that.

This is definately a folk metal release which is worth spending time on. It captures a lot of different moods from dark melancholy to uplifting happiness and shows that the combination of folk and metal.

Track Listing:
1. Echoes From the Ancients
2. Shadows of our Time
3. Tears of Stone
4. The Rocks of Verden
5. Witches' Lullaby
6. Howl
7. Wooden Memories

Added: July 13th 2011
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1730
Language: english

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