Svartby - Riv, Hugg Och Bit review
|Album:||Riv, Hugg Och Bit|
|Release date:||August 2009|
02. Trollkarlar Av Dvärgfolk
03. Dvärgars Bastu
05. Ensam Ensling
06. Groda, Ryttare
07. Solens Ljus
08. Kvävande Gruvor
10. Liv Eller Guld
12. Riv, Hugg Och Bit
13. Snubbar, Snubbar
In looking for some new folk bands to listen to I stumbled across the Russian band Svartby and decided to pursue their latest album: Riv, Hugg Och Bit. Why? Their Myspace had some pretty interesting songs that seemed to defy the growing clichés present in the ever stagnating folk metal genre. Unfortunately the experience is extremely hit or miss.
Svartby plays a type of folk metal very similar to Finntroll, with deep growls and an attempt at a sing-songy "polka" infusion. While clearly not a copycat it is an easy comparison that does not bode favorably for Svartby. Unlike Finntroll who have managed to make extremely fun songs a la "Trollhammeren" the music of Svartby on Riv, Hugg Och Bit is much more serious, serious meaning boring. Although Svartby does not have to make "fun" folk metal, such similarities to Finntroll or even Trollfest makes one expect that they will, especially considering the album cover has a dwarf flipping the bird to whoever may be taking his gold.
The music itself isn't bad; in fact there are many instances where it is excellent. The beginnings of "Ensam Ensling" or "Solens Ljus" are great ethereal sounding keyboard parts while "Vinterkvall" manages to balance between metal and keyboard very well. However, contrasting these examples are constant mundane chugging guitar riffs that have been played a thousand times before or riffs that start out well and simply either fail to evolve or do so into mediocrity. It seems as if at times Svartby is too ambitious, trying to use too many riffs in a song so that instead of having one or two good keyboard "folk" leads surrounding the vocals there instead are one or two good leads for about twenty seconds followed by two minutes of average sounding riffs thrown into the mix.
The keyboard leads that are present unfortunately still sound rather synthetic, which takes away from the mythical experience that Svartby are trying to create. Instead of thinking about dwarves riding frogs I'm stuck wondering why they chose to use such crummy synths for their album. Also, the vocals are extremely quiet in the mix, so it is impossible to understand a word they are saying. This is bad news for anyone looking to get a laugh out of their poor Swedish like in their past album, especially since they now use native Swedish speakers to proofread their lyrics before recording.
Riv, Hugg Och Bit could be a very good folk album, but the positive aspects are too often diluted by poor riffs and the vocals are almost a useless aspect of the album. Just remember that they have a new album coming out this year so anything could happen with it considering the potential of this album.
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