Rating:
6.5
Blackguard - Profugus Mortis
20 March 2009


01. Scarlet To Snow
02. This Round's On Me
03. Allegiance
04. I Demon
05. The Sword
06. In Time
07. The Journey [limited edition bonus]
08. Cinder
09. Vain
10. The Last We Wage


Do you remember when folk metal used to have an air of freshness to it, it used to be a mysterious and highly original genre that more often than not made the hair on your neck stand on end. Well sadly we may have to start the mourning of this kind of music if this is all the genre has to offer in the times of now.

Blackguard are a young Canadian band and keeping with the young theme, won the Nuclear Blast MySpace competition of 2008 to find themselves sitting comfortably in the lap of one of metal biggest and most successful labels. These guys haven't had the years of experience fighting for recognition as a band perhaps would have had to do to seal a record deal in the times of past. Nuclear Blast, the giant metal selling machine have recognised the current fad and have thrown us yet another bone to feed this trend.

Cynicism aside, Blackguard are, for a young band, extremely talented musicians and have done a brilliant job of putting their Nuclear Blast debut "Profugus Mortis" together. The album is professional to the max, every element of the music is executed perfectly and all sits comfortably with the glossy, clean, perhaps too clean production over it all.

The vocals sound concrete and well controlled, if not excessively raspy or too in the line of Children Of Bodom. The guitars and drums together are as solid as a band multiple times their age, and generally sound good with the exception of a highly annoying and repetitive wailing guitar sound in the opening song "Scarlet To Snow". "This Round's On Me" picks up the pace but could easily be mistaken for a Finntroll or Korpiklaani track with its layers of various different instruments bouncing along with the tune. This is good material, but it would be straining a little too much to go beyond "good" because we've heard it all before from bands like Equilibrium and Wintersun, two other Nuclear Blast bands.

Originality aside, the album is typically clean and relatively fun and entertaining throughout, although no tracks stand out from the rest or stick in your head. "Profugus Mortis" would be a great album for anyone new to the world of folk metal and needs a crash course on modern folk metal, but for anyone else who knows their stuff about the genre and has already chanted along to the battle cries of Ensiferum or got drunk with your friends listening to Korpiklaani, this album will sound bland and unoriginal. Blackguard need to find their own style and play their own music instead of following the trend and borrowing every other band's style.


Band profile: Blackguard
Album: Profugus Mortis


 



Written on 27.03.2009 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››

Guest review by
MétalNoir

Rating:
7.8
The first thing you have to know before you listen to Profugus Mortis is that it's not that much of a Folk release. Don't be fooled by the "Chasse-Gallerie" cover art: as a matter of fact, it's 90% Extreme Power metal and 10% Folk. Profugus Mortis was a Folk band mostly because of the violin (I really miss that violin), but newborn Blackguard is a remake of early Children Of Bodom with Alestorm-inspired folkish keyboards (This Round's On Me definitely sounds like extreme Alestorm).

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published 19.05.2009 | Comments (1)



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ItalktotheWind - 28.03.2009 at 00:19  
Very good point about the folk metal scene. It really used to be the new genre, with all of its innovation, but now its just up the bands who created it to keep it going. It's turning into what black metal was in the late 90's.
quirin - 28.03.2009 at 01:19  
Written by ItalktotheWind on 28.03.2009 at 00:19

Very good point about the folk metal scene. It really used to be the new genre, with all of its innovation, but now its just up the bands who created it to keep it going. It's turning into what black metal was in the late 90's.

Quite right, quite right... I dont think I'm even gonna check out their myspace songs : It hurts when a whole style goes to shit just because majors need money.
MetalAlex - 28.03.2009 at 08:39  
The album isn't too much folk. It's actually finnish like melodic death metal with some folk elements. Folk elements are somewhat similar to Equilibrium. The melodic death part is absolutely perfect, it's fast, catchy, energetic!
The folk only adds some nice feeling. If you want listen to mainly folk metal band, don't try Blackguard.
Myself i rate the album 10/10
Svartekunst - 28.03.2009 at 10:39  
Blackguard is a bit of a Children of Bodom lookalike, with some folk metal elements in the music. The album is quite strong, but after three of four listening sessions it's starting to bore me.
HardSide - 28.03.2009 at 14:36  
Folk blackmetal? Let me give you better explanation of what this album is, the lyrics are folk themed. The music is down right children of bodom minus the guitar, its mostly all keyboard. It probably uses more keyboard then any album i ever listened to (that says a lot) It is a good album 6.5-7.0 top but if you hate keyboard, or corny dragonforce/arch enemy sound distortions you will hate this album.

Yes it does play fast on most parts, but as I said dont be fooled, its keyboard and sound tech. I understand where some would say it has a black metal influence because of his "harsh" vocals, thats not black metal, the vocals arent even harsh he just lowers it and raises it according to the keyboard.


In Conclusion:
If you like fast music, dont mind keyboard, dont mind "harsh" vocals that rise up and down = get this.

Sounds like:
Norther, Dragonforce (with less guitar work)
Berser_KED - 28.03.2009 at 19:12  
I can agree with the low rating for originality but otherwise I think this is a pretty decent effort. Good production and everything is done/played well.

Personally, I'm not always looking something fresh. Sometimes I am just looking for more of the same to give me my fix when older stuff has been played to death This is more then adequate for my tastes.
Pétur - 30.03.2009 at 17:37  
Average Melodic Death/Folk album, ruined mostly by the crappy repetitive screams. There are some great party happy songs tough (Allegiance, The Round's on me and Vain). It can't save the album tough.
-DC-002- - 02.04.2009 at 14:05  
You don't know how glad I am and how expected it was that this album got a lackluster review
Samael - 03.04.2009 at 18:00  
I also think this album is more melodic death than folk. For me it sounds more like Norther with some folk elements like Finntroll. For sure this is nothing new but this is a pretty decent release, catchy, well played and well arranged. I live in Montreal, the same city of Blackguard, so I heard the band since their first demo that was more black metal. Also it would have been interested to note that the original name of the band was Profugus Mortis, which is the album title, and they were forced to change when signing with Nuclear Blast. The production of the first album was mainly done by J-F Dagenais of Kataklysm so I don't know if they worked with him for this one. I saw them live a few times and the guys (and girl) give a good performance. But I think they try too much to sound like the Finnish bands and it would be nice if they had a little something from here.
Mourningstar - 07.04.2009 at 00:20  
When I heard the intro of ''This Round's On Me'' I was thinking that I was listening to Alestorm. ^^ I agree about the point that it's way more Melodic Death than Folk, that it's not that original and imo I think it's also a pity that the melody's are nearly only played on keyboard. But I really like the sort of atmosphere of the album and I think that the songs are fun, fast and catchy. I like it. ^^
Lord_Regnier - 11.04.2009 at 21:58  
I liked this band when they were still named Profugus Mortis. I have their first album, "So It Begins", and it's not bad at all.

However, I dislike the move they have done by turning into another 'Pagan' band. There are way too many of those Pagan/folk/viking bands already and they sound too much alike, it gets boring. It's a good genre but overcrowded these days.

Concerning the album "Profugus Mortis" itself, I listened to 4-5 complete songs online and I've decided not to spend any money on it. The reason is they went too far from melodic Black Metal, imo. The new songs sound too happy for my tastes. Put clean vocals over this music and you can as well label it as Powermetal. Some would call it folk-ish melodic Death Metal but, if you label Children Of Bodom and Wintersun as extreme PM, then Blackguard must be labeled as PM too, as it's less heavy and aggressive than old CoB and Wintersun.

And yes, production is too clean, it lacks punch.
moombaz - 15.04.2009 at 14:20  
Also Liked more their previous style but luckily songs are still good .
Until the End - 20.04.2009 at 22:30  
One of the catchiest albums of the year so far. Alright, so it's not that original but what they play is high standard melodic death (?extreme power?)/folk metal. I'll never get tired of hearing "another" melodic guitar/keyboard riff or solo so to me this album's fantastic as there's plenty. If you're going to compare it to CoB then it'd have to be with their older stuff. In other words, the best of CoB.
dismaleuphony - 08.05.2009 at 09:30  
Saw the band live on the Paganfest tour here in the US - they were more entertaining to watch live than the CD is, which gets boring after even one listen. It's not that it's bad - it's just that there isn't a shred of originality in it. It's like an extreme power metal soup with other shit thrown in for good measure. I doubt I'll listen to it in its entirety again any time soon.
bitthebeast - 05.02.2010 at 22:44  
Honestly, i love Blackguard. They put on THE BEST live show i've ever seen, and i've seen quite a few big names. I think that it's a downright shame that they got such a bad score on this album. It's a fantastic effort. For everyone saying that is folk... i can't help feel you are reading reviews before you listen to it. The album Profugus Mortis doesn't sound anything like folk metal to me. It's Melodic Black with some Power influences and folk lyrics... straight from their vocalist's mouth after a show. I can, however, see the parallels to Alestorm, but only because of the heavy keyboard usage. They don't sound anything like Children of Bodom, vocals are ENTIRELY different and the instrumentals are... similar but not by any means a clone. The last point i'd like to make is that, if anything, they have moved AWAY from being a folk metal band. Their previous album So it Begins... featured a violin, which they dropped for this album. Honestly, there is nothing to complain about, i've listened to the album plenty of times and it doesn't get boring at all.
moe5512 - 22.10.2012 at 19:50  
Why did this review come up as an update?
Sir Thrashalot - 22.10.2012 at 21:02  
Written by moe5512 on 22.10.2012 at 19:50

Why did this review come up as an update?


I was wondering the same thing, this article is like 2 years old and Blackguard came out with a badass album since then lol
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.07.2013 at 13:26  
Quote:
Do you remember when folk metal used to have an air of freshness to it, it used to be a mysterious and highly original genre that more often than not made the hair on your neck stand on end.


That was only the case with Skyclad when they started out during their first couple of albums. Not a single other folk metal band ever managed to sound fresh and not one was ever mysterious and highly Original.

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