Holy Blood

The Wanderer Holy Blood - The Wanderer (Bombworks) 2004

1. "Bogatyr Gates In Capital Town in Kiev" (1:10)
2. "The Wanderer" (3:22)
3. "Kill" (2:33)
4. "The Warrior" (3:04)
5. "Morning" (2:19)
6. "In the Lake of Fire" (5:02)
7. "The Poor World" (4:59)
8. "The Dnieper" [instrumetal] (:51)
9. "On Drakkares of Fate" (4:51)
10. "Gold Winds" (3:51)
11. "Kill" [remix] (3:42)

Holy Blood, despite having a band name that sounds like something out of the early 80's Christian metal movement, is a Ukranian band that blends elements of symphonic death metal, black metal, progressive metal and folk music. While that may sound like an odd combination, and it certainly does to me, it actually works rather well. Even the vocals have a wide range, albeit nothing that will appeal to anyone outside the black and death metal genres. At one point the vocals are of the high, shrill, black metal variety then switching instantly to a deep, dark death metal growl. Intertwined here and there are spatterings of operatic female vocals as well to spice things up a bit. Of course one of the main ingredients here is the keyboards which add most of the melody to the music. To be quite honest, this has always been my biggest problem with most modern black metal. While I can appreciate the musicianship that goes into the music, I have a hard time indentifying with metal that uses keys to gain it's melody and harmony, while the rest of the instruments are used mostly to generate sheer speed and noise. Having said that, I'll be the first to admit it took me a listen or two to finally get this one to sink in, but once it did, I began to see the beauty that was intertwined within the chaotic riffs and blast beats. It almost comes off as poetic, even before reading the lyrics, which in ang of themselves are also very poetic. This independent release sports a professional cover with a figure that looks like omething out of the Lord of the Rings. Must also make mention of the "remix" version of "Kill" which totally doesn't fit the mood of the rest of the album. This version of the song is a bizarre mix of black metal and techno, two styles that are diametrically opposed in my opinion. It didn't work here either. While it was an interesting listen the first time, it's not something I would invest time into listening to in the future. Fortunately, it's the last song on the CD so you can enjoy the other 10 tracks before stopping the CD.

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