Kroda - Schwarzpfad review
|Release date:||May 2011|
01. Schwarzpfad I - First Snow
02. Schwarzpfad II - Universal Provenances
03. Schwarzpfad III - Forefather Of Hangmen
04. Schwarzpfad IV - Heil Ragnarök!
05. Schwarzpfad V - Cold Aurora
With Schwarzpfad, Kroda have released an album whose music will never go down in history as anything unique or ingenious. In fact it will never go down in history at all, because it replicates a string of many other albums which have become rampant in the black metal scene today. But the record does have a saving grace; it has a few lucrative traits which enable it to make a fairly sizable impact on the industry (and it really did).
The record has it all: layered guitars on repeat mode add a menacing texture to the sound. It has those energetic, sharp riffs with a jagged tone, which along with the drums keep the tempo up. It has those unnerving shrieks which pierce your very soul (and ear drums). The overall nature/forest theme just resonates everywhere, from the soundtracks between the songs to the album cover itself. All performed and delivered to near perfection. But it's all generic and lacking of that refreshing individuality that every album needs to stand out. Even in the song writing department, the structures are nothing to marvel at. They have the same long song duration, with each track about 10 minutes each, where the riffs keep recurring to form an atmosphere. The production is quite fitting, it accommodates Kroda's composition precisely.
The album would have become completely redundant, if not for one particularly pleasing aspect: the pagan folk melodies which intricately saturate every track. Gives the album the individuality it desperately needed. It would be fair to argue that the melodies along with the well performed traditional black metal elements actually mean a very strong record. But with the entire personality of the record residing on this one aspect alone, it has to be breathtaking at every moment. This is where the album falls flat a little, as some tracks get plain boring as the folk melodies aren't up to the mark. "Schwarzpfad II - Universal Provinces" and even "Schwarzpfad IV - Heil Ragnarök!" become a little bland since the folk touches fall short.
One thing you can not take away from the album is the graceful listening experience. The songs flow and almost pour into each other, and the album finishes with you wondering how quickly those 50 minutes went by.
The record is given a lift-off from the copious number of plastic bands which are widespread in the industry, thanks to some isolated traits. All in all, Schwarzpfad is not an album which ruffles anyone's feathers, but it's definitely worth taking a bite at.
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