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Skyforger - Kauja Pie Saules - 2006 - Paragon Records

Track Listing
1. Zviegtin Zviedza Kara Zirgi
2. Kauja Pie Saules 1236
3. Sencu Ozols
4. Viestarda Cina Pie Mezotnes
5. Kursi
6. Kalejs Kala Debesis
7. Kam Pusat Kara Taures
8. Kauja Garozas Sila 1287
9. Svetais Ugunskrusts
Latvian pagan metallers Skyforger have been releasing material for almost ten years, although only recently on a worldwide scale. “Kauja Pie Saules,” their first full-length, originally came out in 1998, but was re-released this year on Paragon Records. Although they’re a four-piece consisting of a guitarist/vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer, various folk instruments such as bagpipes, mouth-harps, and rattle sticks turn up in a few songs to add depth to the otherwise fairly straightforward black metal formula Skyforger employ. Lyrically the band sticks to singing mostly in Latvian, although the CD’s booklet does contain helpful English translations of the lyrics for international listeners, who probably make up a good portion of Skyforger’s fanbase, as the metal scene in a country as small as Latvia cannot be too large.

As mentioned above, “Kauja Pie Saules” is essentially a pretty straightforward album. Skyforger combine standard black metal riffing, drumming, and vocals with a proud, pagan-oriented Latvian theme which is enhanced by the occasional use of a folk instrument or two. Currently the band employs a member who plays folk instruments exclusively, so it’s likely that on their later releases Skyforger’s music is a little more diverse. Fortunately, the band manages to mix things up a little with tracks like “Kam Pusat Kara Taures,” which contains a choir of clean-singing males, hand-drumming, and what sounds like some sort of woodwind instrument. This song is immediately followed by “Kauja Garozas Sila 1287,” which is probably the album’s strongest. Instead of using folk instruments sparingly during introductions or interludes, bagpipes and other woodwinds are used throughout the song to augment the melody and atmosphere. In addition, acoustic guitars and nicely places during parts of the song’s chorus to add even more of a folk-oriented sound.

While it might not sound like much to the modern listener, “Kauja Pie Saules” would have been a very good pagan metal album back in 1998, when less bands were playing the style. Putting things into that perspective, Skyforger were a relatively creative and innovative band, despite not being especially exciting. I haven’t heard any of their newer material but I am interested to see how they’ve progressed since this album’s initial release in 1998. I won’t give this album a rating since it’s a re-release and therefore doesn’t properly match up to other albums being released, but I will give a cautious recommendation to those who may be interested in music like this. A lot of listeners might opt for a more modern sound, but if you’re a fan of Taunusheim and even old Thyrfing, “Kauja Pie Saules” will probably appeal to you.


--Veritas 11.26.06

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SKYFORGER
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Kauja Pie SaulesSkyforger
2006
Veritas11/29/2006


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: SKYFORGER

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