Special Update: Alvenrad Interview 5/30/15

The zine has been updated today with a special interview with Dutch folk masters ALVENRAD!

Alvenrad is a very unique band in my opinion and one that deserves special attention. Be sure to check out the interview, and there will be another update following soon with more interviews and reviews on the way.

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Alvenrad (Interview)

It can be difficult to find genuine and impressive Folk Metal today. Some Folk bands focus on boring and unimaginative cliches, and other bands seem more focused on making songs about drinking ale and wearing pirate costumes than they are with preserving history, folklore, and tradition. Alvenrad is a Dutch Folk Metal project that instantly impressed me and combine a wide variety of influences in their music, creating a unique sound and atmosphere. In this interview I speak with Mark and Jasper, the masterminds behind the band about their history and inspirations.

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  • Greetings Alvenrad! Thanks for taking the time to answer this interview with Barbarian Skull. Please introduce the members of the band and give us a history about the formation of the band.

Mark: Alvenrad is a two man band, being Jasper and me. Once I joined the melodic metal band Sentenim as a guitarist, Jasper played the keys. On a moment due different artistic idea’s we both left the band and continued our musical journey together, as respectively Faelwa and Stormsterk. After the release of an EP and full length under the banner of those projects, our artistic clock told us it was time for metal again: thus Alvenrad was born. We’re still a duo in the core but right now we have a guesting bass player and drummer: Arjan Hoekstra en Ingmar Regeling, both playing in The Good Hand.

  • The name “Alvenrad” refers to the Elven sun wheel, why did you choose this particular symbol for the name of the band? Your music is very influenced by folklore and old beliefs, how much of an influence do these things have in your daily lives?

Mark: I wanted an encouraging name for the band and this scaldic kenning proved to be appropriate. We think the name hold a prolific horizon for our band.
Personally spoken and in view of the new album, I hail the phallic god Freyr, sovereign of the elves’ domain, the apotheosis of male sexuality. I like the idea of the elevation of the sexual act; regarding sexuality those scaldic poems about he who rule Álfheimr can be inspiring, although I also take inspiration from tantric writings. But indeed, Nathan, the old gods are still influential in my daily life. They are like living ideals to me.
Both Jasper and me live on the Veluwe. Hilly and wooded lands forever in our heart. It’s the most imaginative part of the province Gelderland, full of heath and forests; it’s the birthplace of many a saga. Thus it feels naturally to refer to such matters in our lyrics and music.
But folklore and old beliefs are not covering our whole conceptual course. I also have a big sympathy for the humanistic view on life and I referred to works from artists who back in the days had an attack of geniality, but not necessarily have affinity with our (local) folklore or mythology. I’m always in the search of a meaningful life, so I take up inspiration from all kinds of arts and philosophies.

  • Alvenrad’s music is extremely diverse musically, mixing Folk, Metal, psychedelic rock, and even hints of classical music. What are your main inspirations musically? Was this great mix of genres intentional, or did your sound develop naturally?

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Mark: Jasper and me share the intention to free ourselves from people’s expectations, genre limitations, commercial agenda’s or anything false. We just write the music we love. There are some musical inspirers for me, which are diverse as our music is. You may think of Jethro Tull, Vintersorg, Thyrfing, Angelo Branduardi, Boudewijn de Groot… there are so many. And I’m also a staunch listener of classical music from different era’s: Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, Monteverdi, to name a few I listen to quite a lot. You know, we’re not driven by what genre keepers say. We didn’t have an intention to do something new nor mix everything up. It’s just about playing the music we love. We like the writing process to be an adventure though.

Jasper: For myself, I would name Amorphis, Uriah Heep, Paatos, various film music and many more.

  • Alvenrad’s music is sung in your native Dutch language, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of having lyrics that are not in English?

Jasper: Because the majority of Dutch music is sung in English, and so many other European bands do alike, so many clichés are worn into the lyrics, diminishing the true meaning of the writing. Exploring your native language and expressing yourself feels like an enrichment and can be very liberating. Of course, the biggest downside would be that most people don’t understand a word we’re saying. That’s the reason why we have English translations of our lyrics in the album booklet!

Mark: Of course the English language has a head start commercially speaking, although in folk metal it is popular to sing in your native tongue. To sing in your native tongue can win interest from some listeners though. But then we’re mainly speaking about listeners abroad, because we the Dutch have a difficult relationship towards our own language. I noticed Dutch people have a hard time listening to their own language beforehand. I also noticed the Dutch are writing worse and worse, both grammatically and substantively. Stupidity reigns in the manifesting of our language these days. I never understood why. Our language is beautiful.

  • Not only is Alvenrad’s music diverse, but so are the themes in the songs. What are your favorite Alvenrad songs, and why?

Mark: Definitely “Woudakoestiek”: music and lyrics forming a whole. I expect this song to be played forever by the band on stage. I’ve to be modest but it could be our “Till Fjälls”, our “ Arntor, ein Windir” or our “Mother North”, so to speak. The topic of this song is highly unique and I think I succeeded to give the lyrics a romantic atmosphere. I more then often referred to this work as the summum of the collaboration between Jasper and me. After I explained the theme to Jasper, he immediately thought of recording wood acoustics, which is the subject, in our beloved forests. You can hear the acoustics on the song as resound on per example the vocals, since Jasper build a virtual resound from it.
Another favorite is “Foreest in Tweelicht”. On this song you hear three singers: me, our bass player Arjan Hoekstra and our grunter Koen de Graaf. Plus very cool classical arrangements by Jasper. Plus a great guitar solo from Erik Sprooten. It makes me proud to work together with such great people.

Jasper: Although it’s hard to make a hard selection, I would choose “Foreest in Tweelicht” and “Zwartwildernis”, being the songs I simply enjoy the most listening to.

  • Your debut album Habitat was released by Trollmusic, who seem to be highly involved and supportive of the band. How did you begin to work with Trollmusic, and will they also be handling your future releases?

Mark: Yeah, their founder kicked ass so far! After our work with Faelwa and Stormsterk, when we announced we would launch a metal band by the two of us, we were already offered a record deal. We signed a contract for two albums and later due the trust of the label signed up to four albums. The financial side of things is in the hands of Prophecy Productions through their commercial canals. They were enthusiastic about the debut, although they didn’t like the fact that the drums were programmed per example. Still they think when we play live, we could become bigger. As a duo we are handicapped when it comes to this. So that’s the first thing we want to free ourselves from: we intentional go for a full line-up.

  • Habitat also featured some guest musicians, can you tell us more about the special guests? Do you plan to continue to feature guests in your music?

Mark: Koen is one of my best friends since more than ten years. He has a great voice and proved himself already in Thronar and Burning Hatred. I know Arjan since my studies and we’re good friends even since. He’s a multi-instrumentalist playing in various bands. His biography learns us about the technical trash / death metal band Sidius, the rise and downfall of the Endorphins, his solo work entitled Mirna’s Fling and the uprise of The Good Hand. The latter two highly active. Also he plays a role in The Riders of the Universe. I highly recommend his works; there’s a lot to explore over there. Further we had Hanna van Gorcum on vocals. The first line-up with Stormsterk included her. These days she is active in the folk group AmmA and she played violin on the latest Heidevolk album. Further we had Erik Sprooten playing some solo’s on the debut. He’s well known for his work with Ancient Rites. At the moment his old extreme trash band Inquisitor have a resurrection. As I mentioned for the new album we’ve found a drummer, who is a good friend and long time band member of Arjan, named Ingmar Regeling. A passionately  musician who proved himself to be able to play extreme loud and very tight. He played in several extreme metal bands but at the moment together with Arjan he’s on the rise with stoner band The Good Hand and Mirna’s Fling.
I’d like to see Alvenrad as a welcoming home, where Jasper and me are the hosts. So, yes, we’ll continue this, since it’s always a pleasure to make music with nice guests.

  • You are also involved in a Folk side-project, Stormsterk. Tell us more about Stormsterk and why you decided to form this side project.

Mark: It was our main band in the year of writing the debut album under this banner. But when Alvenrad was born, we put this project in hibernation. Anyway, before making folk metal we felt the urge to write more traditional folk, although we don’t play traditional music, we play folk rock; let’s say less rock than roll, perhaps more wood than rock. But it was a good start to search for our own sound in folk metal, if you ask me now. When I look back on the chronological aspect, the way things followed each other up, seems a both a logical as a natural process. Thus IMHO we’re adding something unique to the folk metal scene of today.

  • On the Stormsterk website, you mention using strange music techniques (such as playing bass with a violin bow) and utilizing musical ideas to represent parts of a story (such as “singing the flames” in a song about a burning homestead). These creative ideas are really impressive and bring a fresh atmosphere to the music. Have you used such uncommon techniques in Alvenrad, or do you plan to?

Mark: Well, we just write what comes up. We’re not afraid to leave the beaten track. We don’t plan such things, but according to the new songs, you may expect the unexpected!

Jasper: Yeah, you never know what arises between our ideas. That said, we also have to keep in the back of our heads that we have plans to perform our songs live.

  • Based on the reviews I’ve come across online, it seems that the majority of your fans are European. However, Barbarian Skull is an American zine, and I know you must have fans in other parts of the world! What areas outside of Europe have you received fan mail/reviews from, and what country has surprised you most?

Mark: In these times it is not uncommon to be known fragmented around the world. Internet is the high way the word is spread, but not so many Alvenrad vehicles are on it yet though. I’m not surprised, but amused by the fact in some faraway countries they are actually listen to our Dutch sung music.
It’s also really cool to see that we left no one unmoved. We mostly got good critics but there are some great dynamics in the whole media picture. You know, some reviewers hated my vocals, whereas some spoke about golden lungs, haha! But it’s good listeners are moved anyway, be it positive or negative. The baddest dream for me is that the majority experience Alvenrad as average. I prefer people hate us above that! I believe no one is waiting for us and I believe, that this is a good thing.

  • What can we expect from Alvenrad in the future?

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Mark: a new album entitled “Heer”, dealing with masculinity, sexual behavior, love and hate; all in both a mythological and personal context for everyone to mirror something from him- or herself in it. We’ll play a mix between modern folk metal and classic rock with the emphasis on the latter. No programmed drums but a real life drummer this time. And we plan to promote the album on stage!

Jasper: Musically, I think we are moving towards a less complicated and more band-focused fundament. Expect less orchestration, heavier guitars, more organ and an overall more organic sound.

  • Thank you so much for answering this interview! Any last words are yours!

Mark: Check out a new project both Jasper and me joined: :NODFYR: It was formed by ex-Heidevolk frontman Joris van Gelre. We connect very well together and are in the middle of the writing process.

Update IV – 5/17/15

The zine has been updated – sorry for the short break in updates! There are currently reviews of Walden, Exclamavit, and Medhelan, as well as interviews with Sviatibor and Thrym! As always, there is plenty of material pending here at Barbarian Skull, and there should be another update shortly.

Thrym (Interview)

Thrym is a new one man Doom Metal project from Sweden. The band not only continues in the tradition of Swedish metal music wise, but also features Norse mythology themes. In this interview I speak with mastermind Henrik about the band and his influences.Thrym-bg-bk

  • Greetings Henrik, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with Barbarian Skull! Please tell us about the formation and history of Thrym. What inspired you most to create a Doom Metal band?

Thanks  for having me. I started this project a bit more then 2 years ago when I got a bit more serious about singing. There were a few different options, but I felt that going at it alone was a fun and interesting challenge for me. I’ve always liked the vocal style of certain doom metal bands and found that it was a style that suited my voice very well, and also fun to sing. The slower tempo makes for more interesting songwriting as well.

  • The Thrym EP was self-released by you in 2014, can you tell us more about the release? What feedback have you received from fans regarding the EP?

    It is hard to get anything noticed when there are so many band putting out music, especially for a new project without a fanbase. It really wasn’t the best planned release, but I think Bandcamp helped a lot with getting it noticed by some. All in all the feedback has been pretty good and I’m glad that people appear to like it. I’m my own biggest critic, so I always feel there are things that could have been improved, but I will do it with future releases instead.

  • Thrym plays a unique mix of Epic Doom Metal mixed with Viking, folk, and heavy metal elements. What projects most inspired your sound?

    I think the sound is a big mix of all the different music I listen to. The most obvious would be Candlemass I guess, but also other bands like Moonsorrow, Falkenbach, Ensiferum. I just try to write music that I would listen to.

  • Sweden has a great tradition of Doom Metal and is home to the greatest Doom band of all time; Candlemass. Lately I have noticed other new Doom bands (such as Mammoth Storm, for example) emerging from the country. What contemporary bands do you listen to, if any?

    In truth I don’t listen to Doom Metal as much as you’d think. I love Candlemass and Krux, but aside from that I listen more to black and death metal like Behemoth, Emperor, Taake, Bolt Thrower etc. I seem to always compare doom metal bands to Candlemass and that comparison is a tough one. Krux is another band with the great Leif Edling and I hope they will continue to release stuff.

  • You handle all of the instruments and music in Thrym yourself, why did you choose to create a one man project? Do you have any plans to play live with session musicians?
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It felt right to do it my way with complete control over the music. I do like input and cooperating with people but this time I wanted something that was mine and that I could be 100% behind. I had most of the stuff needed to make it happen, so I did. There are no live plans right now. Playing live is something I would really love doing but right now it would involve too many complications and I don’t think there is any demand for it. Maybe some day in the future.

  • The song “I Hel du väntar” is one of the only Doom Metal songs I know of in the Swedish language. I always enjoy listening to Doom in other languages. Do you plan to continue this with future releases?

    That song was the odd one out since it is purely acoustic. I just wanted to do something different and get out of my comfort zone and to me it was harder writing in Swedish and trying to avoid the worst clichés. I might do a few more songs in Swedish in the future, it was a fun thing to do.
     
  • What can you tell us about the future of Thrym?I’m slowly working on material for a self released full length album but it will take some time. Inspiration comes in waves and I never force myself to write music just because I have to and this project is also a hobby, so there are other things in my life that I prioritize. The songs that I have thus far written have much of  the same sound, but with a bit stronger black metal influences.  Hopefully I can get it done by this winter, or maybe early next year.
  • Thanks again Henrik for taking the time to answer this interview! Any last words are yours!Thank you very much for the feature and many thanks to the people who listen to the music and support me!

Sviatibor (Interview)

Sviatibor is a new band in the Pagan Metal scene. Unlike many bands that label themselves as Pagan, Sviatibor has an actual interest in preserving indigenous religion and culture. In this interview I speak with sole member and mastermind Thomas about the history of the band and his personal beliefs.

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  • Greetings Thomas, thank you for this interview with Barbarian Skull! Please tell us about the history of Sviatibor and what inspired you to create the project.

    Hello Nate ! Thank you very much for your interest in my project. Sviatibor is a Pagan / Atmospheric Black Metal solo project I created in the end of 2013 when I was 15 years old. I started to compose my first songs being very inspired by Burzum and the European heritage, and I still am ! However the quality and the atmosphere of my music evolved a lot since the very first songs. Let me give you the description of my project I use on my Bandcamp page: “Here you will find amusic of travels, reflections and contemplations through the pure lands of ancient Europe, full of legends, tales, and mighty symbols, along with a religious atmosphere created in honor of our wise ancestors, and our glorious european gods.”

  • Sviatibor released quite a few full length albums in 2014, just one year after the band’s first demo. How long did you have that material written before it was actually recorded and released?

Well, I started to compose From Yav To Nav as soon as the project was created, and then, when I finished to record it (just after composed it), I had the irresistible desire to do something totally different, so I started to work on “L’Oeuvre De Rod”, and then it was the same with “La Foi Des Ancêtres”, and the same with “Dans La Splendeur Des Dieux”. Everytime I’m done with an album, an atmosphere, I want to try something new, I need to try something new. The writing process of each album started when the previous one was recorded. However I see you coming, but it’s not the case this time with “Dans La Splendeur Des Dieux”, haha.

  • The album that introduced me to Sviatibor (La Foi Des Ancêtres) was released by Primal Relics Records. How did you get in touch with the label? Will they be releasing future albums?

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Primal Relics Records’ owner Nick Stanger (from Ashbringer and No Heroes) contacted me himself to release one of my two first albums, but I told him that I was working on a new one and that I wanted this one to be released through his label, we had a deal and then the album was released few months later ! My next albums (and other special stuffs) will all be released through my own label, Endless Decrepitude Productions, except if I’m getting signed with a big label, which is something I planning to reach for this year.

  • On “La Foi Des Ancêtres” you have lyrics in English, French, and Russian. Why did you choose to write songs in such a variety of languages?

Indeed this is my only album in which the languages are so various. In “Dans La Splendeur Des Dieux”, everything is in French except one single song in English. “From Yav To Nav” is written in English (very bad English by the way) and “L’Oeuvre De Rod” in French. I chose to use these languages because I love both of them (even if French is my favorite) but English was more fitting with the music in some songs so I used it too. Some songs are in 2 languages ! And as you said there are some parts of the lyrics in Russian. I used this language because I’m in love with the Russian culture and I have some basics in it, and it’s a European language, and Sviatibor praises the entire European heritage, so why not ? 🙂 I’m planning to put some German in my lyrics in the future.

  • Sviatibor is a based around native European religions and the days of old. What role do the indigenous religions of Europe have in your life, and do you think these religions will ever become dominant again?

    The ancient european religion is the perduration of my ancestor’s soul within me. This is what makes a link between us, and give me the ability to improve as a man everytime I die and reborn, because I am my ancestors and they are me, what we call “life” is only a step each generation of myself face, the true life is eternal, and the name we gave to it is “time”.
    I don’t know if the european religion will become dominant again in our society because people are way more rationnal than once today. However I strongly believe that the values born by this belief and our deities (Blood, soil, work, art, ancestry and family, the only truely important things in life) will come again in our societies, when people will understand the vanity of our modern world.
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  • What can you tell us about the upcoming release “Dans La Splendeur Des Dieux”?

    “Dans La Splendeur Des Dieux” is according to me, my best release so far. Way superior to anything I ever released. My music matured a lot and so did the lyrics. I used a lot of new sounds and instruments and the sound quality has a lot improved. The compositions are more complete.

  • You are the sole member of Sviatibor, are you involved in any other projects?

    Indeed ! I’m also working on a Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal band project called NERVENGEIST. Which I created one year ago with a great friend of mine. We are hard-working on our first full-length but we already released a demo called “Path To Suffocation”.

  • What else can we expect from Sviatibor in the future?

    This year will welcome a split with the mighty ASHBRINGER by my friend Nick Stanger, who released his first full-length some weeks ago, amazing work, highly recommanded ! And also something that people wouldn’t expect from a solo project, but I can’t tell you more about this now 😉

  • Thank you Thomas for taking the time to answer this interview. Any last words are yours!

    Thank you again for your interest in my project ! Everybody must support this great zine ! Huge thanks to everyone who’s reading this interview or supported my project in anyway. Sviatibor is nothing without you ! Stay tuned for the next !

Medhelan – The Minstrel’s Fireplace Tales (Review)

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Title: The Minstrel’s Fireplace Tales

Artist: Medhelan

Rating: 4.0 / 5

Genre: Dungeon Synth

Year: 2015

Country: Italy

Label: Self-released

Links: https://medhelan.bandcamp.com/album/the-minstrels-fireplace-tales

Medhelan is a fairly new project in the Dungeon Synth genre, debuting with the first album “Ticinum Insubria”, which was a dark trip into the pagan woodlands of Italy. With this EP, “The Minstrel’s Fireplace Tales”, composer and mastermind Matteo Brusa moves toward a more epic and medieval approach. What immediately caught my attention about this EP is the amazing soundtrack quality of the songs. The opening track, The Age of Wizards, easily brings to mind soundtracks from The Lord of the Rings or Kull The Conqueror; with incredible string melodies, strong timpani and percussion, and song structures which take listeners through a variety of emotions and atmospheres, although the music is always exciting and heroic. Medhelan has achieved the very difficult task of creating music that can rival movie and video game soundtracks, while still maintaining the simplicity and focus of Dungeon Synth. This music is not meant to accompany a story, but to tell a story by itself. I can’t imagine a better way to begin this EP than with The Age of Wizards, a song that can easily rival any of the best Dungeon Synth artists today.

Tale of the Jester King features some great brass fanfare, and immediately brings the image of a medieval castle and court into my mind. Again, Matteo Brusa must be recognized for his ability to take listeners through several moods with his songwriting. The song begins with proud, valiant brass instrumentation before leading the listener into a nostalgic string and flute section, only to return to the heroic fanfare from the start of the song. Twilight of the Forest Gods features a great harp and plucked string duet and definitely carries a Celtic influence that was present on the first album Ticinum Insubria. The string sections later in this song are also the closest this album gets to the Lord of the Rings atmosphere. I personally imagine the riders of Rohan travelling across the plains, and the end of the song brings to mind the great shadow and black iron of Isengard. This is perhaps the most intense song on the EP.

The Siege of the Citadel begins with militant percussion, cymbal crashes and awesome string and brass work. The militant feeling persists through the entire song, and is a great transition to the final track, Song of a Wandering Minstrel. The final track is the “bard’s song” of the album, and can be seen as the defining song for “The Minstrel’s Fireplace Tales”. The official Medhelan bandcamp page says the following about the album: “In ancient times every minstrel would tell his own version of a same tale; for this reason track titles are meant to suggest a story every listener can make up using his own imagination.” It is hard to imagine any fan of medieval music, fantasy, or Dungeon Synth disliking this album. The composition is highly impressive, the music is atmospheric and memorable, and carries all of the obsession with an old forgotten past that is so admired and praised here at Barbarian Skull. I truly hope that Medhelan will release another album in this style in the future.

Exclamavit – In the Shadow of a Citadel (Review)

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Title: In the Shadow of a Citadel

Artist: Exclamavit

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Genre: Dungeon Synth / Medieval Ambient

Year: 2013

Country: USA

Label: Swampkult Productions

Links: https://exclamavit.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-shadow-of-a-citadel

Exclamavit is a project that immediately caught my attention, and like many other great albums I found myself buying it before I even managed to get half way through the album upon first listen. Exclamavit is a synthesized medieval ambient project that could easily be defined as Dungeon Synth as well, although the production is very clear and clean compared to other projects that play a similar style. The album begins with Fealty and Reverence, and excellent harp based song with folk percussion and great sounding piano melodies. This song sets the atmosphere for the entire album, bringing the listener into an old monastery in the dark ages. The second song, A Blade To Herald An Age, is by far my favorite track from Exclamavit. The track begins with droning synths and deep strings, with the effects of a blade being tempered and drawn. As the brass section comes in, the song slowly builds up tension and presence, before being accompanied by timpani drums and a dark main melody. This is an extremely strong sounding song, and conjures up images of a mythical blade being forged for a hero. This track has all of the elements that first drew me to the Dungeon Synth genre to begin with.

There really is not any filler on this album, and each track carries it’s own unique qualities. The harp and wind instrument melodies on The Fear of Beasts are very memorable and remain in my head for days at a time. A Pilgrimage Through the Fog features a great sounding mouth harp, and actually gives the feeling of a walk through a murky forest by lantern light, surrounded by fog and the unknown. Esoteric Banners Upon the Stone features some great distant whispering vocals, which for the most part are unintelligible (a trick that could only enhance a song if used in a few genres of music, Dungeon Synth being one of them). As the album ends with A Monastic Vision, we are again transported back to a feeling similar to that of the start of the album, this time with the imagery of a procession of monks disappearing into the mysteries of the past through chanting, strings, and harpsichord sounds.

Exclamavit is described as by the sole mastermind behind the project Elan O’Neil as “a contemporary soundtrack to an ancient age”, and it achieves just that. This album has become a personal favorite of mine for this style of music, and I deeply regret that the project has only produced 24 minutes of music in their discography thus far. I sincerely hope we will hear more from Exclamavit in the future.

Walden – Wenn die ersten Blätter fallen (Review)

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Title: Wenn die ersten Blätter fallen

Artist: Walden

Rating: 4.0 / 5

Genre: Acoustic Folk

Year: 2013

Country: Germany

Label: self-released

Links: https://waldgefluester.bandcamp.com/album/wenn-die-ersten-bl-tter-fallen

Walden is a nature inspired Folk project from Germany which is primarily performed on classical guitar. The style is somewhat similar to the Norwegian folk band Vàli, although I find myself enjoying Walden a little more. Walden’s songs are all instrumental, sometimes featuring tambourine, flute, or clean vocal humming, but the guitar is always the center of the music. The band’s mastermind Danijel Zambo creates guitar melodies that are dark and memorable. For example, the main hammer-on/pull-off melody in Wanderung im Moor stays in my memory long after I’ve finished listening to the album, sometimes entering my mind randomly at night.

It is clear that Danijel is a professionally competent musician, who can not only play his instrument well but is able to write and structure guitar-based music very well. The song Sonne erhellt das Nebelmeer reminds me a lot of John Williams’ guitar interpretations of Vivaldi’s sonatas (a huge compliment, as Vivaldi is my favorite composer of all time). However, I find it best to not focus on the songs individually, but to listen to the entire album from start to finish and be transported in the forests and mountains of Germany. Walden is the perfect music to listen to in solitude, and while the music is dark and somewhat melancholic, it is in no way “depressive”. For all those who have ever stopped to admire an old tree, the falling of leaves, or the weeping of a river, this music is meant for you.