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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Scald - Will Of Gods Is A Great Power [Ordo MCM - 2018]

Scald is a doom metal band that has not been active for over 20 years. The creative period for this project was very short. The band where  formed in the Russian city of Yaroslavl in 1993 and ended in 1997. They recorded a rehearsal demo and, in 1997, their only full-length album, Will Of Gods Is A Great Power. A few months after the release of the album, the vocalist Maxim “Agyl” Andrianov tragically died, and Scald ceased to exist.

Will Of Gods Is A Great Power was originally released on tape by Russian label MetalAgen Records, going onto be greatly praised by Doom Metal fans. Later this album was reissued several times with additional material. The Russian label Wroth Emitter in 2003, 2005 and 2008 re-released this album on two CDs entitled "Agyl's Saga". In 2005, this album in the form of LP and CD was issued by the Greek label Kyrck Productions.


Here we have a recent reissue of the album on Italian label Ordo MCM released the form of a double LP edition. You can purchase it on the labels website or Bandcamp page of the label - either regular black, limited silver with red splatter, and limited white with black splatter. There's also a digital download version

The cover features a black and grey colour scheme. In the centre, there's a graphic element in the form of an arch, the top of which is the Scald logo, made in a rather geometric style, with smooth edges. The bottom of the arch is made in the form of a ribbon, on which is written the title of the album Will of Gods Is A Great Power, made by stylized Scandinavian runes. In the centre of the arch (or frame), we can see a graphic image of several Vikings leading the battle. This whole arch is one element which, in my opinion, is very good design work. The background for this element is a photo of a dark winter forest. The cover of this edition is fundamentally different from the original cover, which was, to put it mildly, of dubious quality. The original cover was a photo of the waterfall, made in the autumn. The logo was painted in red. The name of the album was written in red italic font. So, the new cover is much more professional, been better suited to the musical part of the album.

This release has a total runtime of just over an hour and twenty minutes, consists of ten tracks, of which the first six tracks are the album Will of Gods Is A Great Power. Then, in chronological order, there are three rehearsal recordings of different years. The last track is a demo version of the song "Sepulchral Bonfire", which was recorded specifically for a music video, which was never filmed. Accordingly, the album can be divided into two parts - the album itself and bonus tracks.

I originally heard Will Of Gods Is A Great Power more than 20 years ago. I got the cassette release when it first came out. So I have a clear opinion about this album because I know it so well. I recall thinking at the time that I was surprised  by the fascination of Russian musicians with the themes of Scandinavia and Vikings.

From the first notes of Scald music, we immerse ourselves in the unique legendary atmosphere that was inherent in the iconic project Bathory on their 1991 album Twilight of The Gods. The same measured, swinging rhythm, like the steps of the ancient northern giant, melodic guitar parts, backed by the atmospheric background of keyboards, and the epic melodious clean vocals. But Scald are not a simple copy of Bathory. Despite the apparent similarities, Scald music is much more complicated and deeper. Guitars abound in classic Heavy Metal solo, riffs more melodic and also tend to be a classic Heavy Metal. bass work is much more professional and more diverse than that of Bathory.
Some listeners attribute Scald to the so-called Viking Metal style. In terms of lyrics and image of the band, it is. But I would say that sonically Scald is closer to Epic Doom Metal. Specifically, to Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. Based on the Bathory albums Hammerheart and Twilight of The Gods atmosphere, Scald introduced elements of the classic Doom and Heavy.

Of course, Agyl's vocals played a huge role in the sound. Without his vocals, this album would not have been so monolithic. He has a clean epic vocal middle tone, sometimes taking a high falsetto tone. The vocals seemed to be similar to the work of Johan Lingqvist, on the debut album of the legendary Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. However, when the vocalist takes higher notes, we can hear Quorthon intonations and more hard rock intonations of Klaus Meine.

One can certainly admire the professional work of all the musicians in Scald. Everything is played very technically and harmoniously. The only thing I would mention is some of the drummer’s work, although very professional, seemed a little simple to me. As if the musician is constrained within the measured, almost slow, rhythm of the compositions. It also worth mentioning, despite the pronounced melody, the vocal lines can seem a bit monotonous, devoid of bright and memorable melodic moments.

I knew that this edition is not a remastered version. However, I was interested to hear the album, which I had previously heard only on tape. Of course, the sound seemed to be more pure and rich than on the original edition. But, nevertheless, there is a small frequency imbalance. In my opinion, there are too many mid frequencies, and the bass is slightly blurred. However, the sound is very deep and atmospheric, despite this small setback.

The second part of the album, consisting of rehearsal and demo recordings, is valuable, first of all, for fans and collectors. These are tracks of rather dubious quality, the first of sounds like a not very good copy of Iron Maiden. The rest of the tracks are Russian versions of some of the songs featured on the original album- sadly the quality of these recordings are so bad that it's difficult to understand the lyrics. The last track is a demo version of the track "Sepulchral Bonfire". The sonic quality is much better here, but the sound is drier and flatter, and almost devoid of atmosphere. It’s also worth saying that all these bonus tracks were already released on the previous two-disc re-release of the album on the Wroth Emitter label, but there were more of them. It seems to me that the addition of four bonus tracks to the new edition was forced, in order to make the timing of the album acceptable for 2LPs.


So, in my opinion, Will Of Gods Is A Great Power can already be called a classic of Epic Doom Metal. Despite the obvious similarity to the style of some bands, Scald created a massive monolithic album, with its own originality and atmosphere. It is a pity that the history of Scald ended so quickly. But, fortunately, we have this album, which I have listened to many times and, I am sure, I will listen again.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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