Munruthel - CREEDamage

11 songs
59:52 minutes
***** **


Munruthel is the project of the Ukrainian musician with the same alias. Active since 1997, he has just now released his fifth longplayer CREEDamage. Although he is in charge of all the instruments and the programming, he brought in this time two guest vocalists: Masha from Russian folk metal band Arkona and Wulfstan from British Viking metal band Forefather.

The album starts with an enormously martial sounding intro which would fit perfectly into a RPG computer game. Munruthel labels his genre symphonic pagan metal, which despite being a rather vague expression still makes sense. The music takes its vitality from countless breaks and pace changes, transforming the listening experience into a regular rollercoaster ride. Next to the brutal growls and fierce instrumentation, the female moaned vocals add for an interesting folk component. In between we get the occasional melodic parts where Munruthel proves his undeniable guitar skills. Acoustic and gothic moments complete the album’s sonic range.

The record’s highlights are definitely the two tracks with the guest vocalists. Masha of Arkona is featured on The Mown Dawns Like On The Ground, a song that could be labelled commercial and ready for radio airplay, were it not for the evil growls towards the end. Forefather’s Wulfstan is lending his vocals to the Bathory cover version The Lake, which manages to maintain the original’s grandiose melancholy. This is followed by another great piece: The Eyes Of Abyss combines fast symphonic black metal with great orchestral arrangements. Eight songs into the album, I was totally amazed, and sometimes it’s best to stop when things are at their best. This album ends with three instrumental tracks that share a common concept. Clocking in together at sixteen minutes, they unfortunately give the album a rather tedious and dispensable ending.

Apart from its last quarter, I can recommend CREEDamage to every fan of Bathory and Ensiferum. The first eight tracks are a prime example of how pagan metal should sound. Ukraine has recently spawned quite a few remarkable bands, and Munruthel are certainly not the exception. I only hope that next time he will find the spirit to give his record a more fitting finale.

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