Review: Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar

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Label: Nordvis

Skuggorna Kallar, the fifth album from Skogen, is a work of glorious darkness. Pulling together folk and black metal in ways that testify to the experience of the band, the album is like a journey through some forgotten woodland, full of sights and sounds as wondrous as they are terrifyingly captivating. It is a record content to take its time, with front-loaded appeal but keeping its best aspects slightly hidden, that feels as if it is possessed of a spirit that calls to something almost-forgotten in mankind; a sense of connection to the world around us, of respect for nature, and an understanding of our place in it.

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Domestikwom – A Peace That Destroys

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Label: Self-released

Geography and sense of place can be important in metal. There are many bands who draw deep inspiration from their physical location – think of Ulver’s early works and their relationship with the forests of their homeland; or the local pride and sense of defiance that is at the heart of Panopticon; or the way Winterfylleth draw upon the legends of early England to lend extra character to their music. In such cases, a sense of belonging is intrinsic to the music. Which is part of what makes A Peace That Destroys, the debut album from the one-man band of Jonathan Petkau, Domestikwom, so interesting – this is an album that deals with ancestral escape from one homeland, and the challenges of resettling in another. It makes for a deeply personal album, and that sense of loss and searching helps make the music contained within all the more interesting.

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The Wolves Of Avalon – Across Corpses Grey

Wolves of Avalon - Across Corpses Grey

Label: Godreah Records

Given that The Wolves Of Avalon include Metatron (also of The Meads Of Asphodel) in their ranks, it’s no surprise that their folk-metal (or, if you prefer the band’s own description, prog-pagan) has tended towards the historical and dramatic, with a healthy progressive element to it for good measure, and little regard for convention. Yet even when compared with previous albums Carrion Crows Over Camlam and Boduicca’s Last Stand, their latest release, Across Corpses Grey, is a vast, challenging album. Consisting of one 30-minute long track and two covers, and including guest sports from Turios (Drudkh), Hildr Valkyrie, and Daemonskald (SIG;AR;TYR), it is unapologetically epic in scope, playing by no rules save the band’s own, and being very successful in doing so. I went in to it rather warily, being no great fan of folk or pagan metal, but by the time it was done, Across Corpses Grey had completely won me over, and my appreciation of it has only grown with each listen.
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