Review Summary: A very interesting album that will appeal to all fans of powerful emotional music, however it can sound a bit samey.
Folk Metal is a genre often put down for its tendency to be over the top and pompous, often quite funny and ridiculous in its excessive presentation (see Turisas). However there are a few bands that manage to incorporate their native folk music into metal with great success, often creating unique and outstanding albums with a completly different take on metal. Chilean duo, Uaral is one of these bands, they take the native folklore music of the Andean mountains and incorporate into doom metal, creating a record full of ambience and overwhelmingly emotional.
A soft intro starts the album off with the sound of rain and the cries of birds setting the mood for the deppressive endeavor to follow. Two quiet acoustic guitars and a piano start off the first track "La Escritura Y El Alarido" joined by a light drumbeat and a monk-like chant around the two minute mark. This is where things get really interesting, the monk chant deforms into a low, death metal-ish gurgle which then becomes a scream of agony a la Count Grishnack. All of this over a quiet later of acoustic guitars and flutes creates a musical landscape that will give you something new with every listen. A beautiful guitar solo closes the song on a high note. However no matter how beautiful this mix might be, it doesnt variate for most of the album with only very occassional and short ventures into heavier territory (as far as the instruments are concerned this album can hardly be called metal) to offer some variety. And though Uaral's niche is definetly the quiet strumming of acoustic guitars it seems rather ironic that such an experimental band doesn't venture much outside of its comfort zone.
However the music is still stunning, especially epics "Lamentos" and "Acidal (Tonada Para El Huerto Re Menor)" being mind numbing in their emotional weight, with lyrics that truly crush the soul. However I can make this observation because I can actually understand them (they are in Spanish. I am Colombian) however most people will not be able to understand the true weight of the moment when Caudal (the vocalist) cries (quiet literally as in tear crying) "de tanto enterrar familia" in the closing track of the album, possibly the most powerful in the whole disc. And Caudal is certainly one of Uaral's (consisting of him and multi-instrumentalist Aciago) sharpest weapon's, his vocals, ranging from chant, to growl, to shriek, to very real actual sobbing and whispering are what adds much of the emotional depth to the album, his delivery feels very real, creating some truly chilling moments of intensity which are rendered even stronger by the contrast with Aciago's beautiful classical guitar and piano work.
And contrast is definetly Uaral's craft. In the last minutes of "Lamentos" (possibly the best track on the album bar "Acidal") the electric guitar tremolo picking matches the intensity of Caudal's screaming backed by a soft layer of beautiful fingerpicking. However this is a hit or miss formula, because even though it works extremly well at times, at others it sounds almost forced and inorganic leading to a boring and bland musical landscape. However this is a very occassional ocurrence, for the most part the album is a marvelous affair full of emotion and depth, and even though I complained about lack of diversity earlier in the review the band do throw some other influences in there every once in a while such as the hints of prog rock in "Surrendered To The Decadence" (yes that one's in English).
"Lamentos A Poema Muerto" is a wondrous album with very few, easily ignored flaws, mainly that it can sound a bit samey at times and that most people won't have a clue what the hell Caudal is saying most of the time. The band shows an extreme amount of potential in this album and though they probably wont have much commercial success, they are sure to create more masterful music.