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Skyforger: Kurbads

Skyforger have been peddling their brand of Latvian Pagan Folk Metal since 1995 and opening a whole new world of ancestral culture and themes to a bewildered metal audience with a great deal of success along the way. They keep their traditional story- telling theme for this their latest album Kurbads, and it's been a while coming with nothing from these bagpipe blowers since 2003. A conceptual album based on the Latvian fairytale hero Kurbads who as legend goes was born magically from the white mare and responsible for many great deeds. Choosing to sing in their mother tongue does not distract from your listening experience but an understanding of Latvian wouldn't go amiss. Coming across in some areas like Mastodon the howling wolf depicts the start of proceedings with 'Curse Of The Witch' a stomping chugging track with some light folk flurry's here and there.

Thinking that this would distract me I was pleasantly surprised with the overall heaviness of the album and dare I say it's progressive nature, there's plenty on offer for all you Metal Heads out there with some glorious pounding riffs and hooks. So with tracks like 'The Devilslayer' and 'The Stone Sentinel' taking elements from Norwegian Black/Death Metal but given that Latvian twist and translation Skyforger style which they pull off perfectly. With Latvia having a very proud tradition of folk based music it is to Skyforgers credit that they honour that tradition and keep it well and truly alive with tracks like 'The Nine Headed' while fully displaying their adopted metal roots. Every song on display has a rip roaring guitar solo kirk Hammet would be proud of, I kid you not. Let me make one thing clear, Skyforger are not a poor mans Turisas but more a thinking mans Finntroll, with their latest opus Kurbads they are well and truly putting Latvia on the map and are more than worthy to blow their own (Bag) pipes. I would love to see these guys on the Eurovision Song Contest just to gaze upon the blank expressions on the crowds faces as they launch into 'The Devilslayer' but alas I'll just have to turn it up in work instead.

If you want to broaden your Metal horizons I truly recommend Kurbads as an essential purchase this year. Horns up to Skyforger it took Seven long years but was so worth the wait, hopefully pending volcanic doom they'll be forging a path to a city near you soon.

Kurbads is out now on Metal Blade Records.

Track Listing

  1. Curse Of The Witch
  2. Son Of The Mark
  3. The Nine-headed
  4. Bewitched Forest
  5. In The Yard Of The Father's Son
  6. The Devilslayer
  7. The Stone Sentinel
  8. In The Underworld
  9. Black Rider
  10. The Last Battle
  11. Kurbads

Added: May 18th 2010
Reviewer: Mark Davies
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 3197
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Skyforger: Kurbads
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-05-18 15:35:13
My Score:

Latvian Pagan/Thrash Metal band Skyforger unleash a tasty dollop 'o fury on their latest release Kurbads on Metal Blade Records. Whether it's raging metal ("Curse of the Witch"), epic sounding Latvian war-dances ("Son of the Mare"), melodic, dare I say 'gothic tinged' rockers ("Bewitched Forest"), or doomy, black/death metal styled crushers ("The Stone Sentinel"), there's plenty to sink your teeth into here.

The musicianship is more than competent throughout, especially the guitar and drum work. Plenty of tasty guitar solos, furious riffage, and rock solid kicks & blasts, plus the welcome addition of bag pipes and recorders is a nice touch. The vocals will be hit or miss for some-at times, things are almost too 'Amon Amarth or Unleashed' sounding, and there's a certain one-dimensional quality to the growls & shouts on most of the songs, but overall, considering how long it took these guys to churn out a new album (seven years...long freakin' time), Kurbads is a solid platter of metal and a welcome return from Skyforger.

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