Romuvos - Spirits review
01. Snake Dance
02. Sun And The Morning Star
03. World Tree
04. Become As One
05. Garden Of The Sun
06. Spirits Of The Oak
08. Crescent Moon
Have you ever imagined what a combination of Wardruna and Rotting Christ would sound like?
Romuvos is a folk metal band, originally formed in Lithuania back in 2014, who now currently reside in Germany. The band's music style ranges from Viking/pagan metal to traditional medieval folk, but even hints of meloblack have been featured, and thier songs tend to be lyrically based on subjects including paganism and Lithuanian traditions. The latest line-up assembleed by founding member, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Velnias mark the band's 10-year anniversary with their fourth full-length release to date, titled Spirits.
If you're a fan of folk and metal music, then chances are you'll be familiar with the band Wardruna, a band perhaps best known for providing the perfect soundtrack for the historical hit TV series Vikings. I say this because no band has ever managed to capture the true nature and essence of Viking culture in a way quite like them, until Romuvos came along, that is. However, Spirits offers something much more. Along with the use of traditional Viking folk instrumentation, you also have a modern meloblack twist, but what's most intriguing is the remarkable guitar tone and riff work, which bear a resemblance to Rotting Christ in particular.
The album begins with "Snake Dance", which greets listeners with an ambient section featuring tribal-like drum beats, Viking warrior chants, and various other traditional Viking instrumentation. As the track progresses, the tempo increases, and folkish acoustic guitar, with instruments and passionate folkish chanting are joined by a semi-heavy riff. This makes for a mesmerizing start to the album, one that is nevertheless familiar to those well accustomed to the band's previous material, and this style continues throughout the coming tracks.
Now, as listeners proceed, it becomes clear that there's more than meets the eye; the following track, "Sun And The Morning Star", is noticeably heavier than the opener, with its main riff and more upbeat rhythm, but the heavier instrumentation also goes hand-in-hand with the traditional instrumentation, and this is where we see the blend of the two styles really come into its own.
Once taking the traditional pagan folk style approach out of consideration, there are several moments that are well worth highlighting. To start with are the heavy, addictive, meloblack-style riffs very much in the vein of Rotting Christ that are primarily heard on the tracks "World Tree" and "Fire"; it's almost to the point of hearing melodies directly taken from the notebook of Sakis Tolis himself. However, "Become As One" has a hint of Falkenbach, in how the powerful galloping rhythms, heavy folkish riffs, and soaring passionate, echoing cleans drive the track forward.
Another influence I can hear is of the Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum; on the closing track "Crescent Moon", the wind instruments and beautiful folkish acoustic melodies sound as if they're taken from an early Ensiferum interlude or intro. Another album highlight worth mentioning is the atmospherically dark and disturbing "Spirits Of The Oak ", which sets a backdrop of a sacrificial ritual that tremendously builds up to a much heavier and more upbeat second half of the track.
Overall, Spirits shows an impressive all-round musical performance; from vocals to instrumentation, it's a monumental effort. However, a special mention should go to the incredible performance of Velnias. In terms of melody and memorability, Romuvos couldn't honestly have done anything more, and the blend of traditional pagan-themed folk and meloblack is striking, to say the least. However, there's a downside, and that for me is the short track lengths; just when you're drawn into the whole ambient setting, the songs seem to be over in a flash. Most tracks, if not all, follow a similar structure, in which they begin with an ambient build-up and suddenly get heavier before closing in ambient fashion once again. This may help with the album's consistency and perhaps even flow, but it could also be accused of repetitiveness, and a lack of inventiveness. Depending on which way you look at it, this is a great way of introducing the world to pagan metal made the Lithuanian way.
|Written on 12.02.2024 by Feel free to share your views.
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