Album Review: NordverG – Багровый рассвет/Crimson Dawn
Origin: Ekaterinburg, Russia
Release: December, 2011
Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Style: Folk / Viking Metal
It seems we got caught in a slurry of Folk and Viking Metal album reviews. Today’s is by Russian band NordverG.
Formed in 2006 as Dragon’s Tears, Crimson Dawn is the band’s first album as NordverG. The record came out in December 2011 and spans nearly three quarters of an hour worth of Folk Metal with Slavonic and Viking-inspired lyrics. A bonus is that the whole thing is in Russian, which turns out to be a lovely smooth language for the purpose. Clearly this is a good one for those of you that dig a piece of Folk Metal with a Northern atmosphere, but also a thick classic Metal sauce.
Past the three-minute intro of medieval folk instruments and primarily acoustic guitars, which sets a lovely medieval-fair type of atmosphere, NordverG set off into something that screams ‘Eighties Metal’. The classic galloping rhythm and a melodic lead guitar that just keeps on going. The pace isn’t too fast, but the growling vocals provide for a heaviness the otherwise rather gentle music can definitely use. Strong point of this second song, the title song, is a clean multi-vocal chorus over acoustic strumming that brings up a distinct Slavonic atmosphere and begs to be sung along (if only I knew Russian!). The song’s finished off by a simple but well-played solo.
Crimson Dawn is straightaway the best song on the record and it’s a bit of a shame that means the band has blown its load already. Subsequent songs, in general, feel more Folk and less classic Metal, despite that there is plenty of distorted guitar to be heard. Drinking Song, for instance, is primarily a promotion of heavy bar drinking from skulls and horns, much in the vein of Korpiklaani. With its almost six minutes it’s a bit too long for the purpose. Before the Last Battle is an atmospheric (wind and night noises and such) instrumental and An Invitation to Tavern, a 45-second intermission almost, welcomes more drinking celebrating in the subsequent song Old Tavern.
Wolfhound is one of the more calm songs on Crimson Dawn, that seem to grow more populate in the second half of the album. It’s one of the best of that inclination. It’s slightly sad, almost a campfire song of guys that’ve been in a losing war, far from home, for far too long. Smithy of the Gods is another atmospheric instrumental that seems to introduce the heavier and more heroic Sword of Fate, the closing song of the record. Bagpipes, snare drums and clean vocals are employed for one final folk-Viking fest, with a sharp-edges guitar solo towards the end.
Berserk, track 5 and one of the few exceptions to the above rule, really gets the battle lust going and probably best suited to characterize the band’s overall effort on this album.
Crimson Dawn mixes up Folk Metal as you know it with the early forms of Metal, the type that invented galloping rhythms, whipping leads and a heroic atmosphere all together. And it’s good, very good. Shame the Metal is often snowed under or replaced by too much Folk. A few less instrumentals or drinking songs at the benefit of more songs like Crimson Dawn and Berserk would’ve made this album even stronger.
My Grade: 7.5/10
Buy this when:
- you can’t get enough of Folk and/or Viking Metal
- you’d enjoy a slightly Slavonic atmosphere for a change