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Baruk Khazad - Gold review

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Band: Baruk Khazad
Album: Gold
Release date: May 2023

01. Gold
02. Narag Zaram
03. Chug Your Mead
04. War Of The Three Hammers
05. Bombs Are Great
06. Gorog
07. Elf Slaughter March
08. Uzbad Taragbund
09. Hazkal
10. The Oath Of Moradin
11. Hidden In Runes
12. Khazad Aimenu
13. The Arkenston

Sharpen your axe blades and ready your armour, my Dwarven brethren, for tomorrow we go to battle. For now though, let's just fill our tankards up with as much mead as we can possibly carry, and drink ourselves senseless, as if it's our last night on Middle-Earth!

Baruk Khazad are a Swedish melodeath/folk metal band who formed back in 2009, and the band name is based on the theme of... you guessed it, the Dwarves of Tolkien's Middle-Earth. So, who exactly are Baruk Khazad, I hear you ask? Well, imagine Korpiklaani, Finntroll, and Amon Amarth joining together for a drunken Dwarven-themed role-playing party, and the concept is pure Gold

Astonishingly, Gold is actually the first full-length release by Baruk Khazad in their fourteen-year existence. Their discography only included several EPs before this release, those being the appropriately titled 2016's Axes, Beards And Mead, which was followed two years later by 2018's Hidden In Runes. Gold features a whopping thirteen tracks, six of which are taken from their earlier EPs; these include "Gorog", "Narag Zaram", and "Elf Slaughter March" from Axes, Beards And Mead, and "Hidden In Runes", "Khazad Aimenu", and "The Arkenstone" from Hidden In Runes

As you can imagine, the lyrics are very much centred around the myths and tales of Tolkien's legendary Dwarves, and the vocals are presented in a joyously drunken sing-along fashion, with secondary voices behind the harsh, folkish vocals that take centre lead. If you're at all familiar with the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani, you'll have some indication of what I'm talking about, for sure. Now, I can see this album being more enjoyable for the musicians who took part in creating it than those who'll actually be listening; however, that's not saying this is a bad thing, it just shows the characteristics behind the band's identity.

The musical style is a mix of classic folk metal and melodeath, with most of the heavy riff work, and rhythms being very much inspired by Amon Amarth. Now, love or hate them, I always had a soft spot for Amon Amarth, and here their style and sound will certainly be recognized in abundance by many, such as myself. Tracks such as "War Of The Three Hammers" gives a clear inspiration of early Amon Amarth, through the war-like, melodic, mid-tempo riffs, and tribal rhythmic drumming patterns. It sounds as if the Dwarves are readying themselves for battle, before the track goes back into full-blown party mode once more. The weirdly titled "Bombs Are Great", however, begins at a slightly faster tempo, with influences of Amon Amarth's later work on show. Let's face it, there isn't a single one of these twelve tracks (excluding the interval) in which an Amon Amarth-esque riff isn't featured; I mean the track "Hazkal", for instance, screams out "The Fate Of Norns" to me.

The album, however, isn't solely focused on melodeath; there are equal measures of folk metal in place, in which you'll often hear influences of Finntroll and Korpiklaani, and at times even Alestorm come into the mix. This gives you an indication that the album is geared more towards the light-hearted, headbanging, party side of folk metal, as opposed to the epically constructed side of folk metal represented by bands such as Moonsorrow or Ensiferum.

All in all, Gold isn't exactly going to be a gold standard release for most metalheads out there, but if you take it for what it is, then you might find yourself having a excellent headbanging time. Just grab yourself a strong ale (or, two, or maybe three?), then call a group of close friends who share the same passion for Dwarven culture and melodeath/folk metal to come join (maybe dress up for the occasion?), and let the party start!

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 6

Written on 05.06.2023 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 34 users
06.06.2023 - 10:33
I'd need to be really wasted to enjoy this, but I'd probably enjoy it if I were.
06.06.2023 - 22:25
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Good job man, you own some punted of mead. If this album will get spot light and reviews, band her some support band status in tour, they might be bigger as it is.
I once drunk beer.....
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