Skyforger
Kurbads


3.0
good

Review

by Mikesn EMERITUS
May 12th, 2010 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid, if generally unspectacular offering from Latvia's finest.

A few years ago I had a hipster acquaintance who told me that he couldn't listen to any sub-genre of metal due to its general silliness, with the exception of folk metal. Now I am pretty tolerant of opinions, but his reasoning confused me greatly. Folk metal done right can be excellent, but even then, it is still one of metal's silliest variants. Latvian, flag-waving pagan metallers Skyforger are a solid representation of such artists. They're certainly a likeable group if Kurbads is anything to go by, but between the harsh vocals and the sometimes oddly placed folk instrumentals, there's something challenging about it. Perhaps it's intentional; this brand of metal isn't meant to be easy-listening, and Kurbads is hardly any different. Still, Skyforger's fifth LP is a solid, if generally unspectacular album.

Mind you, Skyforger doesn't limit themselves to the folk metal of groups like Ensiferum or Eluveitie. While the band incorporates traditional folk-ish instruments (bagpipes are a constant), Kurbads is primarily rooted in thrash and traditional '80s metal. "Curse of the Witch" features familiar chugging riffs that have been a staple in thrash bands for twenty-five years, while the melodic guitar work in "Bewitched Forest" hankers back to old Iron Maiden songs. Though neither styles are particularly innovative, they give Skyforger an advantage over a lot of contemporary metal groups in that at least there is (some) variance from song to song. Factor in the folk melodies, which have a more complimentary role more often than not, and we have a surprisingly heterogeneous record. Granted, it isn't anything we haven't heard before, but between rousing epics ("The Last Battle") and gritty headbangers ("The Devilslayer"), there's enough quality material to warrant a listen or two.

For what it is – a fun, if underdeveloped metal album, Kurbads is quite successful. And really, that's all an album like Kurbads aspires to be. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. It isn't without fault; the harsh shouts of the band's vocalist are irritating at the best of times and though his high pitched growl is fairly good, he doesn't utilize it nearly enough. This isn't a major problem and while it isn't the difference between a good record and an excellent record, stronger vocal efforts would have made Kurbads a better album. But again, as far as folk metal is concerned, it's a welcomed, if sometimes silly offering.



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 12th 2010


17611 Comments


Folk metal just makes me cringe.

Crysis
Emeritus
May 12th 2010


17363 Comments


Some folk metal is good, some is downright terrible.

Relinquished
May 12th 2010


38592 Comments


band is blech

Metalstyles
Emeritus
May 12th 2010


8573 Comments


cool, was wondering if this is any good. I do love me some folk metal when the mood is right, so I'll be looking into this one.

Mikesn
Emeritus
May 12th 2010


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Folk metal just makes me cringe.
For me it depends on how it's executed. I'm not into like bands like Fintroll or Eluveitie, but this isn't as gimmicky.

Willie
Moderator
May 12th 2010


17611 Comments


There's a band called kivimetsan Druidi, and their first album was ok. That's the only "real" folk metal I've ever really appreciated.


ThePalestMexican
May 12th 2010


2816 Comments


I was going to check this out, but then I got over my "folk metal" kick.

Mordecai.
May 12th 2010


8374 Comments


I like Windir... so

BludgeonySteve
May 12th 2010


558 Comments


I'm all for folk metal if done deftly like Equilibrium, Ensiferum, Eluveitie, Elvenking, etc.

Maybe Skyforger just need to change their band name to begin with an E.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2010


22486 Comments


metal just makes me cringe.


Athom
Emeritus
May 12th 2010


17240 Comments


Kauja Pie Saules is neat, but that's the only thing that's ever held my attention by these guys.

Bitchfork
May 13th 2010


7584 Comments


Kátai Tamás is better at folk and metal than these guys are at either. Yep. Felt like namedropping.

liveinflames
May 13th 2010


9 Comments


Surprised to see a review of these guys, as until I wrote one for "Perkonkalve" they had no reviews for any of their albums. But I guess that's also because they haven't been active for 7 years.

Anyways, I like the album but Perkonkalve will remain my favorite it seems. This album lacks a bit of variety, I think there should have been more mid-tempo and acoustic stuff.

@Willie, come on, Kivimetsan Druidi is probably one of the cheesiest folk bands. Nothing original. If you're looking for some good folk metal, Pagan Reign is the band.

Aids
May 13th 2010


24456 Comments


Folk Metal eh? I've never felt inclined to delve into that genre.

Dryden
May 13th 2010


13553 Comments


yeah dont do it its a waste

ReturnToRock
May 13th 2010


3446 Comments


Hipster declaration is t3h lulz. "Metal's silly...oh, but not folk metal, THAT'S not silly at all!"

*rolleyes* *facepalm* *sigh*

zaruyache
May 13th 2010


19997 Comments


Folk metal is great for when you feel the urge to pretend to be a pirate, or a viking.

Digging: Black Funeral - Empire of Blood

Taxt
May 13th 2010


1237 Comments


Worst album art I've seen in possibly ever

BrahTheSunGod
May 13th 2010


1279 Comments


Thought this had to do with Amorphis for a second

got really excited, really confused, then really disappointed.

Hawks
May 13th 2010


64566 Comments


Some folk metal is good, some is downright terrible.

This.




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