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Artaius: The Fifth Season

When it comes to folk metal, I tend to applaud the idea more than the execution. After all, the connections between folk music and heavy metal seem natural; there's just something driving and aggressive—something metal—about certain folk melodies and the way they ought to be played. It makes sense, then, to blend the passion and the aggression, the folk and the heavy.

Still, I'm a reluctant listener, maybe because I've always preferred metal with the hardest possible edge. I do like Korpiklaani, though, and enjoyed Akphaezya's latest eclectic take on jazz and metal. As I listened to this release by Artaius—their first full-length album—I wasn't sure what to expect and worried it would be imitative of better and more established bands. For the most part, it does offer much that is familiar. The album is full of folk melodies played in an inimitable metal style, heavy guitars leading the way. The flute, violin, and keyboard parts sound good, the vocals clear, strong, and pretty. At other times, though, the music veers into something else, something surprising; there are even a couple of odd jazzy moments, mostly taken up by keys and bass, which add a playful quality to the whole thing.

The album works pretty well. I especially liked the last four tracks, all of which are connected by the word "wind" in their titles. I'd recommend those tracks, especially "Wind of Quest" because of the mellow acoustic guitar lead and the brightness of the vocals. For those wanting a harder edge, this band does offer plenty of throaty growling, but the selling point here is the upbeat and playful take on folk melodies. For readers that enjoy folk metal, this release should find a welcome home. It won't convince everyone, but it's good enough to warrant a listen.

Track Listing:
1 Make the Iguana
2. Through the Gates of Time
3. Over the Edge
4. Horizon
5. Stairway's End
6. Prophecy
7. La Vergine e il Lupo
8. Wind of Truth
9 Wind of Quest
10. Wind of Revenge
11. Wind of Wisdom

Added: May 9th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2055
Language: english

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