Wednesday, October 9, 2019

review: Narrenwind

Ja, Dago
Pagan Records
24 September 2019
Sound: The Polish-language entity Narrenwind is on the avant-garde side of things, you could say, but it’s not so strange as to render the music as experimental or not song-centered. Despite what you might be told elsewhere, this is not a black metal album. The music is a type of folksy, trippy, melancholic, melodic execution that seems to have as much psychedelic rock as it does folk metal; and sure, there’s some black metal in there, too, on this eccentric album.
Production: There’s a certain DIY/homemade feel to the album, although the quality of the recording is completely within the standard of good do-it-yourself recordings. The bass guitar is not something that is very audible, but if you turn it up really loud, you hear a thumping in the background. The drumming does not seem like it is programmed; it sounds like a person doing the drumming, but this cannot be ascertained by this review.
Instrumentation: The rhythm section, especially the drumming, is good, and the guitar melodies are rather tasteful and have lots of catchy parts. There’s quite a bit of good slow soloing, a kind of bluesy and melodic style of soloing. There are also some other studio sounds that are probably studio magic made to fill out the sound for a fuller, more melodic and melancholic vibe.
Vocals: The vocals are rather eccentric and requires some test driving to hear for yourself. The vocals are sort of black metal but in a peculiar way. Sometimes it sounds like the vocalist is just trying out different techniques to see how it sounds. For instance, there’s a dramatic voice that seems like the vocalist is trying to sound like a giant, like you would find in an old Disney movie or old cartoons. Apparently, the album is about legends of the giants dwelling in ancient land that is today called Poland, so maybe there is some logic to this. Anyway, there is also some definite black metal in some of the vocals, too. In general, the vocals are pretty strange.
Songs: The songs stand alone well by themselves, and are not experimental pieces. At the very beginning, the music might make you think this is black metal, but by the third track you should start to really understand that this is a bit unique and different. The songs themselves have a personality or particular traits that you’ll remember after a couple of listens.
Lyrics: Apparently, the themes revolve around Polish legends. Some of the lyrics sound intelligible, but of course, not knowing any Polish words, this review is unable to help at all with the question of the lyrics.
Potential audience: Fans of folk metal and black metal would be two particular demographics that would be interested in this music.
Similar bands: If you like extreme metal music that is more concerned with vibes of mysticism and obscurantism, as opposed to speed and brutality, then this would be that type of album.
Assessment: In general, the album is for fans of eccentric folk-based extreme metal. Given that it is a peculiar album, mostly because of the strange vocals, it is a pretty unique work. It is not a big-budget production, and that may turn off some picky listeners. However, it is done well and the weirdness enhances the experience. Narrenwind is keeping Polish metal strange. Anyway, this ride is not too bumpy, but it is more like a trip to wonderland, or rather, a trip to the land of the giants.

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