Typically, I’m not very picky when it comes to the various sub-genres of metal as I like how many bands can do many different things, but there’s one style, in particular, I find myself to be quite selective with, and that’s folk metal. With that vein of metal, I always want a genuine experience that sounds like an epic soundtrack to an amazing fantasy tale or grand battle scene. Open Access wasn’t extremely memorable with their debut EP, honestly, but it’s with their first full-length record that they’ve gained not only my attention but also my applause.
On their first effort of “Over a Mountain Peak”, Open Access did a solid job, yes, but they didn’t really have any staying power or any sort of material that latched onto you and made you come crawling back to its sound time after time. I’ve also always found folk metal to be the most enjoyable for me when the metal is accompanied by instruments like the flute or a violin to really give the music another texture altogether, and that’s something Open Access also understood with their initial album but fell just short. But as with most things when given time, Open Access honed their skill and it’s on their first full-length album of “Toward the Wilderness” that they show how far they’ve come, and they’ve come a long way indeed! The eleven tracks of “Toward the Wilderness” are beyond an upgrade from what we’ve heard from Open Access before in terms of pure musicianship and how fucking awesome they sound in general. From the beautifully stunning vocals to the brilliantly interesting rhythms to the fantastic new layers brought upon by the added instruments, “Toward the Wilderness” is a good distance from the best piece of folk metal I’ve heard in my days, but damn me to hell if this isn’t very enjoyable in so many ways. It is simply just one of those albums that if you’re any fan of folk metal, then Open Access have created something that you absolutely need to hear. It’s a trip through a world many of us have been to before, but this tour will be one that you will want to take over and over again.
Open Access have done what might as well be considered an absolute overhaul and have created something I could never have seen coming given their previously released material, and if this is but the beginning of what these Polish natives can come up with then I’m more than willing to throw cash at my computer screen to hear more. “Toward the Wilderness” is a pristine record that is nigh unforgettable should you give it its due attention, and hopefully you’ll see what I see and the hear the magnificence and massive amounts of potential that I hear.
“Toward the Wilderness” releases sometime soon in 2017!
LISTEN to the song “Chant of the Forest” off the album on Bandcamp here, or via YouTube below
LIKE Open Access on Facebook here.