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Munruthel: Epoch Of Aquarius

Munruthel is a bit of an odd one to review. The Ukranian band is described in the press release accompanying the album as ``Pagan Folk Metal``. The album was originally released in 2006 and apparently sold out back then, so Svarga Music and Gardarika Musikk decided to release it now.

I can say with confidence that while the album does have some folk metal influences in it, there are also a lot of death metal and even a teeny bit of black metal influences mixed in there. Not much black metal, but enough that you can just hear it every once in a while. Now, as a 35 year old who has been listening to metal since he was 10, I tend to like an awful lot of what passes through my hands to review. And why not? I love the stuff and have since I first heard it. Munruthel I also sort of like, but not enough to give this a very positive score.

The problem that I have with this album is that while the songs are played quite well the production is absolutely horrid. Now, don`t get me wrong, I`m not one of those people who call themselves ``metalheads`` that sits around listening to Lamb of God and 5 Finger Death Punch all day. I listen to a ton of black and death metal and am used to crappy production. After all of the stuff I`ve heard in the past 25 years or so you might say I`ve got the ears for it, but Epoch of Aquarius is in a completely different ballpark as the album sounds like it was recorded from an extremely shitty vinyl that was recorded from an 8 track. It sounds bad. Bad to the point where it is an actual deterrent to the listening experience and made me totally distracted from what I was listening to.

The second thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the vocals which alternate between a death growl and some weird power metal mixed with folk metal sound. It`s weird. Don`t get me wrong I like death grunts, I like power metal vocals, and I even like folk metal. Combining the three in one song just sounds wrong though. The singer would be fine if he just stuck to one style, but the mix of styles does not go well at all.

Other than the production and the vocals the songs are musically fine. Like I said they are well played and at times you can really see how much potential the band has. It sucks that the album had to be ruined by the production and the vocal style though as the band does have a lot of potential. Good effort, but falls way short of the mark.

Track Listing
1. On the Verge of the World (Prologue)
2. The Raven Croak
3. In Leaves` Whisper or In Bursts of the Thunder
4. Epoch of Aquarius
5. I Was Confided by Dreams
6. Echo of the Forgotten Battles
7. On the Verge of the Worlds (Epilogue)
8. Black Sun (Dead Can Dance Cover)
9. Tomhet (Burzum cover)

Added: October 10th 2012
Reviewer: Curtis Dewar
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 1314
Language: english

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