Much like what I said but two days ago, the pagan metal is something that I’ve always felt partial to but has always favored it more for the folk elements and spirituality above all else as I love that shit. But I don’t immediately turn away once I see there’s a focus on the other end, and a solid harmony can end up being better if it’s put in the right hands. Finding out the acts of Hordak and Crystalmoors was something that I needed to experience immediately. After what felt like an eternity, this collaboration hit my ears and it’s just what I’ve been dying for.
The last great collaboration that I had the pleasure of hearing that was undoubtedly something to behold was the split between Downfall of Nur and Selvans whose creation is still sending waves across communities because of how top-tier it is. After all that time, I have the pleasure of saying that the glory of “Árguma / Ophiusa” can take the pedestal as the grand album of pagan black metal that we’ve been desperately needing! With six tracks, both Crystalmoors and Hordak make some of the best material of their careers to allow us an experience that’s easily the best of the style that I’ve heard since the aforementioned collab. The whole of “Árguma / Ophiusa” is split into two sections as Crystalmoors tackles the first five tracks to leave Hordak with just the finale, but the Spanish act instantly makes up for it with a 20-minute piece of excellence that’s everything I should’ve expected from the renowned musicians. The entirety of this record is jock full of plenty of greatness that makes pagan metal so entrancing, to begin with from vicious assaults that can immediately transition to a catchy acoustic guitar that pulls you in even more as you wander the beautifully detailed forest, and that’s just Crystalmoors! What Hordak does with “Ophiusa” is what we’ve always known this band could do but never seen them pull it off. It’s an epic that is cut into seven parts but is so beautifully executed and put into one piece that it’s all-consuming in how entertaining it is along with how well it stands next to the glory that Crystalmoors presented to us just before.
By the time “Árguma / Ophiusa” ends, you’ll be clamoring to replay it just like I was because the whole of this collaboration is a truly magnificent and one of a kind effort that we don’t get often by any means whatsoever. It takes us through all the layers of pagan black metal by two fairly underappreciated acts that have demanded more attention for years, and it’s with “Árguma / Ophiusa” that Crystalmoors and Hordak top themselves one minute after another. There are no two ways about it: “Árguma / Ophiusa” is a stunning release that’s sure to capture the imagination of many and continue to take us through the many planes and forces of nature like many of us having been craving for.
“Árguma / Ophiusa” releases on October 15th via Beverina and Casus Belli Musica!
LISTEN to a sample of “Árguma / Ophiusa” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Crystalmoors on Facebook here.
LIKE Hordak on Facebook here.