Paganland - From Carpathian Land (2016, Svarga Music)
As I am writing music reviews daily since a couple of years, I have come to the conclusion that the best releases are often those at the end of the year, read here the months of November and December. November 2016 has been pretty decent and we are continuing with Paganland’s From Carpathian Land right out of the cold forests of Ukraine. Trying to grasp the spirit of a genre that’s been prolific and well received years later is often a risky task. With From Carpathian Land, Paganland recreates the 1990’s Pagan Metal landscape starting off with this superb cover art.
Emulating the early offerings of Borknagar and Vintersorg it is even possible to include bits here and there of Finntroll, Moonsorrow, and Windir. Spanned over seven songs with a new version of their classic ‘’Black Mountain’’, From Carpathian Land gets us right where they want to go; into classic Pagan Metal. There is almost no gimmicks, trendy hooks or whatever and the melodies are elevated by the atmosphere created by the synthetizers.
Guitars and drums have enough space to get us to headbang and they shine where they need to shine and get less attention when it is needed. The final mix pleases me and I think it serves the musicians well at the end. The only thing with this album is that it screams for a tighter editing and a tad more of creativity in the song compositions. It is the limit of reproducing a defunct golden era, you have to find the middle between color painting and getting out of the pattern.
In conclusion, the attempt at catching and recreating Pagan Metal of the 1990’s was mostly successful. Personally, I grew tired of the genre once the ‘trolls got into the game as the reference of the genre. However, Paganland did not bored me and I am wondering what would be the genre if it kept its edge just like they did with From Carpathian Land.