Being pessimistic simply isn’t worth it, especially when it comes to music. With everything going on in the world today, with work, school, a tanking economy, whatever it is. It’s simply not worth it to stress yourself out, especially when it comes down to something like music. After all, isn’t music supposed to calm you down when you’ve had a ***ty day? So why is it worth it to bitch and moan about terrible music when there are so many good albums out there which simply make your day better, because it’s these albums which are the reason why we listen to music in the first place. So I’ve taken a personal stand to try and review albums which do nothing but make people happy to listen to music when they hear it. With that said, my first escapade into this new take on things is something which put me in a great mood from the moment I heard the amazing intro “Growing Storms” on last.fm a few weeks ago. It is an album which encompasses basically what I think makes an album worth listening to: epic, melodic leads, awesome vocals, rolling guitar riffs which force you to stand and headbang, and an overall atmosphere worth taking an hour out of your day to listen to and embrace.
Germany isn’t typically what you think of when your first hear what folk metal band Wolfchant plays. But alas, despite the epic atmosphere and lyrics about Nordic mythology and paganism, these guys hail from the fine nation of Germany, a nation which one doesn't quite expect so many quality bands to come from. However, Wolfchant is an exception to this, because their latest album A Pagan Storm
is nearly exactly what it’s title suggests, a hail storm of melodic folk metal dealing heavily with the ideologies of paganism, whether it extends to mythology and heathenism or to full-on anti-Christianity. The album art is the first hint at this, with its cliché but always excellent artwork featuring a snow-laden mountainside in the dead of night, with a lone wolf straying behind as it’s pack runs back into the dark woods, underneath two ghostly apparitions engaged in combat. It sounds really dumb, and to some it probably is, but it represents the album as a whole so well it has to be mentioned in detail. Indeed, when the record starts spinning it is a full-on melodic folk onslaught until the last notes of “The Axe, The Sword, The Wind, And A Wolf” vanish.
The sound of A Pagan Storm
is best described as epic melodic black metal, but fits well under folk metal. It may come as a surprise, though, when the harsh raspy vocals make their way in, as well as the numerous blast beats and gravity blasts from the drums. However, there is a very distinct folk atmosphere on this album, incorporating awesome chants and serene acoustic work (most notably in “Guardians Of The Forest”) which does justify its classification as a full-on folk metal work. These attributes are incorporated nearly flawlessly into a furious brand of melodic black metal which retains the undeniable heaviness and raw nature of black metal with downright awesome melodies which will, as mentioned earlier, put a pretty big smile on your face. It’s hard to pick out specific riffs during specific songs, since every single
track has its own unique and inventive riff which drives the song. It’s everything I look for in this genre and more.
Despite its pretty apparent awesomeness, there are things which drag the album. While it wasn’t that big of a deal for me since I thoroughly enjoy this album every time I hear it, A Pagan Storm
has the potential to bore some listeners, since every song revolves around the same style and formula. But this isn’t that big of a deal, since things change enough to entertain most listeners, such as the slower but equally amazing riff which opens the standout track “Starkend Trunk Aus Feindes Schadel” before things explode into what can be best described as a melodic black metal fan’s dream. Also, the bass isn’t as audible and prominent as I’d like, since I am a closet bass guitar lover, but that simply doesn’t pop into your head considering the sheer quality of the guitar leads, solos, and riffs. They blend together with the surprisingly refined drumming like nothing I’ve really heard before, and it simply works
, and works perfectly.
A Pagan Storm
is brilliant in its way of taking melodic riff-driven metal to a level unlike anything I’ve heard before. I have seriously never heard so many awesome riffs packed into one album, making A Pagan Storm
sound complex and brilliant and immediately put me into a good mood every time I hear it. This is simply because it contains what I want in music and more, and delivers it with damn good songwriting and a clear production. It’s music to listen to when you’ve had an exhausting day and you’re just sick of the day-to-day BS of life in our modern world. It isn’t depressive music to embrace when you’re sad, that’s left to other, darker metal bands. Woflchant’s A Pagan Storm
is music to listen to when you’re ready for something epic to put your mood back on track, and is something which helped me get through the day on numerous occasions in the few weeks I’ve had it.