Zgard – Contemplation

zgardSole visionary Yaromisl from Zgard certainly isn’t blazing a path for war with his music, but there is a grandiose feel emitting from the heart of his pagan metal that is more along the lines of “victory after the battle” celebration. Comparisons to older Nokturnal Morutm/Kroda could be made upon hearing Contemplation, but I find Zgard to be a lot less experimental while his synth work centers on a warm uplifting of the compositions rather than flamboyant embellishment. Layered choral singing as on Incarnation Memory gives this recording a very cinematic scope and presence for the blackened metal to provide a solid foundation and the various traditional instruments to unleash a strong folk influence. All the vibrant elements sit quite comfortably together on this album and are further developed by Yaromisl’s diverse vocals. A black rasp is of course the core delivery, but throat singing and a shouted/pitch singing style does further offer an eclectic spirit to empower Contemplation with a noticeable desire for humanity to return to its ancient ways. It works quite well and appeals to both the pagan black and Viking era Bathory worshipping side of my metal appreciation.

One has to wonder how the violence and unrest currently ripping the Ukraine apart is going to affect the arts down the road. War always inspires and torments the darker side of peoples muses and with a bulging at the seams pagan black metal scene, there is no doubt that the hatred will flow and the flutes will bleed out a chilling call for vengeance. Zgard are among the pagan metal elite in their country and if you haven’t taken the time to track down one of their 3 full-length albums, Contemplation is a fine place to start if folk influenced black metal is your thing. In tracks like Wedge of Cranes, there is an uplifting lightheartedness… dare I say “hopeful” quality in the songwriting and atmosphere which certainly isn’t a trait experimented with often in this style of music and it sets Zgard apart. -Marty
Svarga Music

~ by martyworm on June 11, 2014.

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