Ukrainian band Midgard has released three full-length albums during five years of existence, and this year they have released conceptual folk album “Tales of Kreia” (via the label Sliptrick) based on fantasy visions of their frontman Scald. Once again they have presented solid war-like melodic death/folk metal, and despite the fact, that the lyrics are entirely in Russian, this album isn’t close to theme of paganism, its roots must be sought in the mystical worlds of dark fantasy writers, so much favored by power and epic black metal bands.
Midgard is very serious about their concept of art; this album is based on Scald’s fiction tales about the original world Kreia with deepest respect for the writers like Tolkien. There the elves, dwarves and orcs dwell side by side, the epic battles constantly take place, and all is covered in a veil of magic. Definitely, this kind of devotion deserves attention; such a meticulous approach to lyrical themes gives the music of Midgard some extra points of ingenuity.
But there’s useless to look for some kind of revelations regarding the music itself, “Tales of Kreia” is classically pure mdm/folk material, and the most original moves can be associated with the adoption of thrash and alternative metal elements. Generally this well-composed album sounds very melodic with frequent epic highlights (especially on “Elven Blade” and “Ice Spirit”), and the songs vary from fast to mid-tempo. The speediest and folkiest song is “Dwarf King”; it is also very jolly and wild. “Elven Blade” is closer to medieval ballads à la Blind Guardian, whereas the other material rather reminds of Ensiferum. Some songs surprise with the modern vibes, and almost can be recognized as metalcore, for example, “Keeper of Freedom” and “The Hunt”. But all in all, the songs are traditionally built – heavy verses, melodic choruses, heavy metal influenced guitar solos, anthem-like rhythm, catchy guitar riffs. Not so fresh or original, but this music is performed with a soul, so it sounds incredibly positive and sincere, inducing the feelings, like you actually belong to this fantasy world.
Apart from the standard set of musical instruments, there can be heard a flute (“The Reaper”) and bagpipes (“The Horde”). The singer mostly growls lowly, but he also uses the clean voice to emphasize the emotional impact, especially during the most melodic parts. This also contributes some diversity to the record, and even provides with a sense of distinctiveness (like the acoustic passage with ethnic manner of singing in the song “Velmehazerun Dolian”). Clean voice also softens the brutality and stresses the melodic side of the release.
The technical skills and the song-writing abilities certainly have increased during five years of history, the music have become more harmonious and comprehensible, nothing too complicated or progressive. But this album ideally conveys the folk atmosphere in a down-to-earth and historical way.
Release date: August 18th, 2020
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