Sangre de Muerdago
O Camino das Mans Valeiras


4.0
excellent

Review

by bnelso55 USER (30 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2015 | 21 replies


Release Date: 07/21/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Evoking the voices of the ancients.

Pablo Ursusson and his bandmates may have roots and repute in the Spanish punk and countercultures of the 1990s, but the music they create under the moniker Sangre de Muerdago exhibits none of the abrasiveness those tags would imply. Instead, the Galician collective repurposes the underground’s creative fires to weave otherworldly folk tales through an earthy lattice of nylon-stringed guitar arpeggios, desolate violas, warbling flutes, and sparse percussion and form delicate laments inspired by the many mysteries of nature. The aid of a few more exotic sonic textures, including the nyckelharpa, hammered dulcimer, and hurdy-gurdy, produces an enchanting, primordial air to complement this stark change of tonality.

The band’s 2015 offering and third long-player O Camiño das Mans Valeiras finds their neofolk blend at its most potent and pure. Here the compositions, performance, and lyrics coalesce like never before and the mutual heart of the band is fully exposed. The result is a stirring and intimate assortment of dark folk music that dabbles in a bit of black magic to breathe new life into the subtle yet soul-baring stylings of the late-1970s-era Galician folk movement.

The record may have been captured north of the Thuringian Forest on a cold, February weekend, but the disposition of these eight songs is markedly inviting. A heartfelt sincerity and ghostly warmth pervades each track, from the album’s windswept opening moments to its beseeching denouement. These features are best witnessed in moments like the rousing a cappella conclusion of “Xordas” and the elegant verses of the title track.

Aural diversity is another noteworthy quality. In a genre renowned for a homogeneity that can span whole records and some artists’ entire discographies, Sangre de Muerdago breaks the mold by using evolving song structures to fashion a sound world that moves effortlessly from melody to melody and story to story without compromising the ingrained melancholic tone of the whole. Also, no two tracks are alike. “Mensaxeiros do Pasado”, for example, is a haunting account of a chance meeting with phantoms from the next world that relies heavily on chorale arrangements to evoke the voices of ancient spirits, whereas “De Musgo e Pedra” dismisses vocals almost entirely and hinges its eerie strains on a backdrop of droning strings and hurdy-gurdy.

O Camino das Mans Valeiras is more than just a high water mark in Sangre de Muerdago’s output. The album also proves the much-needed point that there is still room for passion and authenticity in the world of neofolk. For its focus, its integrity, and its beauty, O Camino das Mans Valeiras deserves mention alongside 2015’s best folk releases.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
bnelso55
October 23rd 2015


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Check it out here: https://sangredemuerdago.bandcamp.com/album/o-cami-o-das-mans-valeiras



May not be my best work, but I felt this needed a review. Any feedback is certainly welcome. This may very well make it onto my favorites list for this year. So glad I happened upon this band. A shoutout to Atari for encouraging me to review this record.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2015


23861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YES! I didn't have any doubts that you would do this album justice, very nicely done man. loving some of your descriptions and agree with review as well. in a year that has been pretty scarce for great neofolk this was a nice surprise



also, the artwork for this album is fantastic

Digging: Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

bnelso55
October 23rd 2015


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Atari! Agreed. The artwork fits this perfectly. Seems we're the only ones digging this enough to rate it here. Hopefully the review will stir a little interest.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2015


23861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah there's some pretty exceptional neofolk that goes almost entirely unnoticed by sput. another example would be asya sergeeva - the heart of winter. I think that album is simply stunning, and it still only has 2 votes!



I do really hope more people check this one though :/ lovely album

bnelso55
October 23rd 2015


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That is a good one! Still need to rate that one. I like it quite a bit.

Jethro42
October 24th 2015


15562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Folk is not necessarily my cup of tea, but I'm listening to the album atm, and it sounds great. I was curious to check out this since you rec'd both Tenhi and Agalloch.

Good review, pos'd.

bnelso55
October 27th 2015


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Jethro! I'm glad you checked it out. This genre can be really hit or miss, so there are only a handful of titles that I would recommend to others. This is one of them though. I really like the atmosphere they create here.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2015


23861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

anyone who likes this should also check out the split they dig with novemthree, it's great

Jethro42
October 27th 2015


15562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@bnelso55; yes this is great. It really deserves a 4. I thought this would have some connection with Blackmore's Night or with Loreena Mckennitt but after listening to both, I was quite wrong. Blackmore's Night flirts more with medieval and is more upbeat, and Loreena flirts with celtic. There is more corelation with Loreena if anything. I intend to revisit Tenhi for fun.

@Atari; I'm listening to Novemthree atm. Sounds great for a start.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2015


23861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool man, you listening to the split, or one of their LP's? I've really been enjoying their album "renewing" lately

Jethro42
October 27th 2015


15562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm listening to the split with Sangre de Muerdago. I take note for the LP's. I'll take a look at it at some point, thanks!

bnelso55
October 28th 2015


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hope you enjoy revisiting Tenhi, Jethro! They've penned some beautiful music and are probably my favorite band.

DungeonBoy
February 10th 2016


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just stumbled upon this through bandcamp, and subsequently your review which I enjoyed reading. I'm really digging the music and the vocals on this. The melodies are fantastic, and I'm pretty particular about vocals in neo-folk but these are great and very fitting. I'm excited to spend some more time with this.

Digging: Vouna - Vouna

bnelso55
February 23rd 2016


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet Dungeon! Glad you found this. It was one of my favorites from last year. I know what you mean about the vocals too. Good vocals seem hard to come by in this particular genre. The arrangements here are a rare exception in my opinion.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2018


23861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

new album hype. this year is being so kind to the genre

DungeonBoy
April 16th 2018


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Listening to it at the moment, it's really good!

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2018


23861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's sweet, honestly one of my favorite neofolk bands

Elynna
April 18th 2018


282 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh damn, these guys released a new album?

Digging: Diabolical Masquerade - Nightwork

DungeonBoy
April 18th 2018


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep, and it's really good. Didn't really know if they'd be able to match this since it was such a fantastic record, but the new one is exceptional just like this. It was a bit more of a grower for me, but after 4 or 5 listens I bumped up my rating on the new one.

Elynna
April 18th 2018


282 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Will make it my top priority, given how much this album means to me emotionally. Listening to it makes me saddened, desolate and happy at the same time. This year is shaping up to be a truly exceptional one for dark folk.



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