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Te Ruki - Marako Te Ruki review

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Band: Te Ruki
Album: Marako Te Ruki
Release date: April 2022

01. Orero (Intro)
02. Huero A Tamaera
03. Tohitika
04. Ruahatu
05. Kurakura Te Kavake
06. Marako Te Ruki
07. Te Aka Tamaki
08. Komeri A Kamahi
09. Tokerau Rua
10. Tomo Te Aho

I have reviewed music from a lot of places, but... French Polynesia?

French Polynesia, home to such fascinating archipelago names as Society Islands and Disappointment Islands, are also home to a few metal bands. Though out of the three bands currently listed on Metal-Archives, only one is still active. Though I am generally a bit skeptical of bands from such unexpected countries in fear of running into a Ghost Bath situation, as in a band from the first world pretending to be from someplace exotic for attention. And to be fair, the main reason why I'm giving Te Ruki attention is because of their country of origin, so it does work. However few bands are as convincing in their authenticity as Te Ruki, from the lack of anonymity that usually accompanies such acts, to the lengths the band goes to to include their heritage.

For starters, the band sings in Tuamotuan, a dying language whose speakers number in the thousands, so I can absolutely admire the preservation effort that this album also acts as in addition to being a music album. It makes perfect sense that this album was made with support from the French Polynesian Government. The specific phonetic and cadence of the language certainly adds a flair to the vocal performance of the album, something that, in my limited knowledge of Pacific linguistics, mostly reminds me of Māori. Thus, just like the cover art, merely listening to the vocals evokes images of wild oceans and angry tattooed warriors. I refrain from using the term "exotic" because of its orientalist leanings, but a lot of what makes Marako Te Ruki unique is precisely that, the novel feeling of metal being used to preserve Pacific culture.

Tuamotuan aside, Marako Te Ruki is mostly a symphonic black metal album, whose instrumentation mostly sticks to the standard, bar a few flute and percussion moments. For a band from French Polynesia, the sound quality is pretty up to standard, and I've heard many bands with budgets potentially bigger sounding worse. So kudos to the studio in Tahiti where they recorded this (and to the studio in France where it was mixed and mastered). Of course, the synth sounds especially sound cheap, so they're the ones that betray the band's low budget most. But then again, that is pretty much in true black metal fashion. Instead of making it sound underworked, it adds some extra authenticity and kvltness. Complete that with the fact that the songwriting and performances never disappoint, and you have an album that would've been an interesting listen even without the novelty of its origin.

That's it. Now I want every culture to make at least one banging black metal album.

Written on 02.05.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 89 users
02.05.2022 - 17:07
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I know those islanders plays rugby better as Romania, and it's expensive to travel there but it has awesome dandy beaches.
Cool find man
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
02.05.2022 - 22:37
Rating: 7

It's a good enough album for sure, but the parts of it that felt like they were inspired by polynesia, particularly in some of the later songs, leave me hoping that they double down on those elements in future, as I reckon going all in on those ideas could bring about something really great. The DIY keyboards are probably the biggest weakness
03.05.2022 - 13:14
Rating: 8
I discovered this album the same day it was released and got hooked immediately. Very melodic album and on this occassion the not so perfect production just elevates the listening experience. Also very cool with a government supported black metal record. Would like to see that happen with Mayhem or Watain And don't forget to listen to their 2020 debut EP E Tika Mateu too. Great stuff!
"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
03.05.2022 - 23:09
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
It sounds intriguing, will check this out. Thanks for the review!
03.05.2022 - 23:30

OK, now you got me curious.
Cthulhu for President! Why settle for the lesser evil?

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