The idea of pagan metal (or shaman metal depending on whichever you fancy the most) has always been such an interesting concept to me because it combines the harsh elements of black metal with the tranquility of folk metal which creates a very special combo to say the least. And it’s only the really good pagan metal that gets me going (sorry I’m an ass like that), and Darkestrah’s new album of “Turan” is true god tier quality pagan metal that really drives the spirit of the north into your spirit and never lets go.
If you aren’t aware of the whole thing that is pagan metal, let me give you a brief summary. Imagine folk metal with atypical instruments for metal such as flutes, violins, cellos, etc. but then add a layer of intensity to the mix with the guitars, bass, and drums doing a fantastic job in unison, and then slap in the vocals that sound like a howling ghoul assaulting you from its icy tomb for some character, and then have the music shift between the intensity of a blizzard to the serenity of a calm snowfall. That’s essentially what the genre is, and “Turan” takes that to the absolute max to create some of the most atmospheric, well done, and epic pagan metal that I’ve ever heard in my life. A lot of times pagan metal bands have a monotone sound with very little shifting in their sound throughout an album, but Darkestrah show mastery of the style by expertly going from calm to brutal to back again multiple times to give you this experience that wondrously embodies all things you’d expect out of harsh tribal north of the old world. All six tracks and 50+ minutes of “Turan” envelope you in icy riffs, vocals that pierce deeper than any serrated knife, and epic symphonies that truly beckon your spirit to float out of your body to embellish itself even more in the grand spectral wave that Darkestrah have crafted for us. This is just such a grand and awesome record that it’s hard to truly explain its scope without you having listen to it first because otherwise you cannot understand the depth and meaning of what I’m trying to fucking tell you.
“Turan” is a true pagan metal record that fully embraces the cold north and has the perfect sound for its genre that many bands try to achieve and get very close to, but Darkestrah prove that they are the real deal. Clearly masters of this dignified and monumentally awesome genre, Darkestrah do not disappoint in the slightest with this album.
LISTEN to “Turan” on Bandcamp here.
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