GOD · The Barbarian Horde - Hell & Heaven review


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Band: GOD · The Barbarian Horde
Album: Hell & Heaven
Release date: August 2006

01. The Promised Land
02. Riders Of Hell & Heaven
03. Barbarian Gods
04. Mystic Song
05. Riders From Hell [Hells Angels version]

According to the promo sheet God (what a pretentious name!) have existed for 13 years by now, starting out in Romania as a gothic metal band that soon gathered a cult following. At some time the two brothers fronting the band relocated to Portugal and reformed with a new lineup and a "new" style. Well, the style isn't really new as God just jumped on the currently astoundingly popular pagan metal bandwagon; which raises the question why the band has dumped its oh so great gothic metal career...

Anyway, let's take a look at this EP, the debut of the band's Portuguese incarnation. The recipe is slightly different than that of other pagan metal bands: the riffs aren't black metal with folk metal influences, but rather kinda melodic death metal with heavy metal influences. The synthesizers add the obligatory epic feeling and as every so often we get clean and harsh male vocals. Constantin Lapusneanu's vocals probably are the strongest part, in the clean moments sounding a bit like Sigurd of Nomans Land and in the harsh ones like Fuchs of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. His brother Eugen's work on lead guitar isn't bad either, being heavily influenced by traditional metal and especially garnishing the opening track with his solos. And that's where the pro list of this release ends already. The production is average, the guitar sound lacks some pressure and the snare is a tad too far in the foreground which wouldn't annoy at all if the drumming wasn't so damn unimpressive. The songwriting is quite decent for the first two tracks: "The Promised Land" has a nice chorus and the synthies keep you hooked throughout the song, while "Riders of Hell & Heaven" is a nice listen for its upbeat nature. "Barbarian Gods" is just bland and boring though with its uncreative chorus ("Barbarian people, barbarian gods", repeat three times) and "Mystic Song" is the calm, pseudo-atmospheric closer of this mini-album interpreted mainly by clean vocals and synthies. "Riders from Hell" is the "special Hell's Angels version bonus track", which basically is exactly the same as "Riders of Hell & Heaven", just with some motorbike sounds and some more clean vocals thrown in by some guest vocalist who sounds like a second rate heavy/power metal singer.

All in all you get an EP of 26 minutes, of which only the first 11 minutes are worth their money. Track 3 is just boring, track 4 is just boring and track 5 is track 2 ruined by some bad guest singer. Even if you like pagan metal, there are so many other releases that deserve your attention more than this. If you still want to check this out, above is the link to the media player on the band's label's website where you can listen to the entire thing. Alternatively you can check out the band's Myspace, listen to some of their old stuff and indulge in incomprehension as to why they changed their style the way they did. Conclusion: dispensable.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Production: 6


Written on 25.01.2007 by Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.

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