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Draugnim - "Northwind's Ire" (CD)

Draugnim - "Northwind's Ire" CD cover image

"Northwind's Ire" track listing:

1. Moonpath
2. Craionhorn
3. Feast of the Fallen
4. Towards the Dusk
5. Will Dawn Rise Again
6. Sworn to Waves
7. Archein

Reviewed by on April 24, 2009

"This isn’t music for a concert hall or night club however; the only venue vast enough is the northern wilderness."

Finland is known for its beautiful terrain. Vast forests, lakes scattered like polka dots, rolling hills, expansive fields and meadows, bubbling brooks, it all combines to create the stereotypical, yet gorgeous, woodland scene. Draugnim is a pagan black metal band from Finland, and their music isn’t made up of traditional instruments, but instead uses the cold snow, huge trees and chilled breeze from the Finnish countryside.

The first song, “Moonpath” begins with the sound of waves gently rolling onto the shore. When the band breaks in it is immediately at full force; drums, guitars, bass and keyboards all mixing together for a mythical effect. Chimedra’s vocals ease into the music, sounding like a brutal wind whipping through a valley. The song travels on for almost seven minutes, with only a few briefs respites from the assault.

This continues through the entire album, with each of the seven songs painting a slightly different picture of the Scandinavian landscape. “Craionhorn” is what Leif Ericsson and Olav Haraldsson would have listened to before charging into battle. The guitar wall of sound is deafening, and the drums are a persistent avalanche. “Feast of the Fallen” has almost an industrial feel, while “Towards the Dusk” has backing vocals that call a religious ceremony to mind. Despite the differences between each track, they all drive home the sense of being in the beautiful and harsh Scandinavian wilderness.

The music itself is also something to behold. The guitars drive on every song, with a constant black metal drone, but they carry more melody than a standard black metal guitar might. The guitars combine with the keyboards to create constantly haunting melodies that are driven into the skull like an axe. The bass can be heard a little, and the drums are valiant, but mixed quite a bit back in the soundscape. The vocals are both beautiful and repulsive, and are at all times enthralling. The whole mixture is broken up using short breaks, with either a single clean guitar or keyboard melody, or maybe some atmospheric or natural sounds. The best comparison is a pagan black metal symphony.

This isn’t music for a concert hall or night club however. The only venue vast enough is the northern wilderness, and the only listeners are hardy travelers with errands too important for them to stay inside, where they would be protected from the brutal and beautiful landscape.

Highs: Beautiful melodies mixed with black metal majesty.

Lows: The music does get a little repetitive.

Bottom line: A masterful pagan black metal full-length debut.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)