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Various Artists - One and All, Together, for Home [SOM Underground Activists - 2014]

On and All, Together, for Home released by Season of Mist in May 2014, is a collection of various artists assembled together by Drudkh member Roman Sayenko.  17 songs are here, graciously supplied by an international roster of metal artists.  Don’t let that fact throw you, each band represents a different region of Europe (Ireland, France, Netherlands, Portugal, England, Ukraine, Finland and Norway) and more to the point, represent their roots in traditional songs and folklore. 

Most of the bands here have contributed 2 or 3 songs for the compilation, with exception to France’s Himinbjorg and Portugal’s Ava Inferi.  Regardless every song here is finely constructed music, although some of these bands can lean toward the more extreme metal moniker they each took the time and care to thoughtfully and carefully submit what was suited for the project.

When reviewing music it’s almost easier to write about things that aren’t done well, they stick out like sore thumbs and stray hairs.  Yet when music, lyrics, production and emotions are so skillfully put together, one tends to get a little speechless.  Seventeen songs here and not a dull one in the bunch, all killer and no filler as the saying goes.

To hear Alan Averill’s soaring vocals on the stirring “Dark Horse On The Wind” and the dynamic “The Foggy Dew” with his clear and robust voice is haunting. Honestly to every band here (with exception to Drudkh who have 2 instrumentals) sings with so much passion and care.  Each band has successfully represented their own countries unique musical style, traditions and folklore.  You can feel the pride and love that has been tenderly been poured into their songs.

Musically it runs from traditional instruments with modern flourishes (bagpipe, fife, percussion, and violin) to more modern sounds (electric guitar, bass) Winterfylleth shines with solemn vocals united with male and female voices on “Abbots Bromley Horn Dance” and “John Barleycorn”.  Finlands Haive gives us a Tyr-tinged heavy combination of folk and doom on “Ukon On Tulinen Turkki”,”Onpa Tietty Tietyssani” and “Ei Kuule Emo Minua”.  Ava Inferi starts off with dreamy guitar work on “Ao Teu Lad” which leads into the rapturous vocals of Carmen Susana Simões.  From France, Himinbjorg’s “Espirit De Brave” is a mix of raspy vocals layered with clean merged with (what sounds like) bagpipes and percussion.  Netherlands Mondvolland  contributes Montferland I (with Folkcorn), II, and III,  each an interesting combination of jazz like bass lines, persistent throbbing drums and traditional instruments, some vocals whispered others are chanted, guitar work (especially on III) is beautiful.  Norway’s Kampfar gives us the haunting and delicate “In Hymne Til Urd” with soft piano and violin that dissipates into dissonant chords only to reemerge with driving guitars.  Likewise on “Bådnsull” with its melancholy melody and spoken vocals, it’s heavy yet quite delicate.  Drudkh contributes with distorted and acoustic guitars played lyrically against percussion on “Dovbush”.  On “Forgotten Lullaby they grace us with a bouncy tune filled with flute, guitars, tambourine and percussion.

Any fan of the above contributing bands would be foolish to pass this up, as would anyone who is a fan of folk or traditional music.  As said earlier, the love and dignity that each band feels not only for their country but their own inimitable folklore and cultures, gleams through in every song.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Viktorya Kaufholz
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