Metal Message - IV (Metal Message) - Back
A forth passage through the Metal Message is now upon us. These samplers have been annual releases from the online magazine Metal Message starting in 2004. 13 bands contributed songs to Metal Message “IV” and it is jam packed with over 72 minutes of music. Each band has their own style within the Pagan, Viking, and folk metal realms.

Many of the bands are familiar to me, and knowing that, it’s not much of a surprise for me that there are several good tracks. I’m sure you know some of these bands as well. You won’t necessarily find out everything about these bands with one track for each, but you should get a general understanding. Here’s a little bit on each tune.

Starting of the disc is the Norwiegian act Gjenferdsel with their track “Svik”. They start off the disc with one of the best tracks. I found this track to be rather easy to get into do to the appealing riffage and pace.

Forefather has been hovering around the underworld of metal for over a decade now. "Engla Tocyme" is one of their movements from a few years ago. They convey a nice mystical aura on this track. Though the music I know of theirs seems to be a little more aggressive and dark, this is a quality track that brings contrast to this CD.

"Lidsetel Sünkjatel Radadel" has an acoustic beginning that builds to the body of this song. This Tharaphita track is rather straightforward for the remainder of the tune. It’s a decent track, but also nothing all that adventurous.

Galar’s track "Hugin Og Munin" is one of the more diverse tracks on the disc. Blackened to majestic elements take part in this song and it concludes with a somber outro. Some of you Vikings out there are bound to enjoy this venture.

The one-man musical army of Ben Corkhill makes up the likes of Oakenshield. “Ginnungagap" is well put together for one person. Though the programmed drums don’t excite me. I understand sometimes its necessary for band to do so, but I still like the more enriched sound of the real thing. The flute and chanting almost make up for it.

"Vinterskald" by Irminsul is possibly my favorite tune on this CD. It has the overall vibe and musical construction that should please most that are fans of this brand of music. The many layers of instruments encompass you on an epic journey as you listen. It’s one solid tune to drink your mead to!

Half way through this compilation you will find a Slechtvalk track. "On The Eve Of Battle" is one of the more aggressive tracks on the disc. It more relentless then most of the songs, but possibly could have had a bit more variation in a song that is over seven minutes. But still it’s another decent track.

The 20 plus member folk metal band Folkearth track is a welcome sight. “The Riding Of The Queen Boudiccea” is from their 2007 release “Drakkars In The Mist” as a European bonus tracks. Not sure how many of the members of the band are on this particular song, but this tune is as diverse as the countries of the members origin. Not a favorite track for me by this band, however everything they make is at least respectable, and that goes for this as well.

Theudho is the next band on this record. "The Journey To Lyngvi" varies from one extreme to the other. At one point its fast-paced and extreme then changes to melodic and mellow in the middle, then goes back to be furious. The parts aren’t bad, but don’t quite please me when brought together. It could use a bit more cohesion.

One of the more lively tunes on Metal Message “IV” is the track “Darkness” by Alkonost. It seems to be almost playful at times, with pleasing melodic metal riffs. Angelic female vocals are contrasted with abrasive death vocals. “Darkness” keeps energetic for the majority of its eight and half minute length.

Another one of my favorite tracks is from the Germanic tribe of Slartibartfass. The tune "St. Cuthbert" has a combination of the rhythmic beats with a dudelsack making for an entertaining sound. I noticed that this track seemed to pass by quite quickly as I listened. It’s a strong-bodied song. Even without the bagpipe, it would have been to my liking.

The legendary Skyforger also makes a glorious appearance on Metal Message “IV”. “Cekulaina zîle dzied” or “A Crested Bird Sings” as listed on the track list is actually a bonus track on the re-release of their album “Zobena Dziesma”. This is the most folk oriented song on this CD. Not much of a metal presence but fits this compilation perfectly. Another great tune on this disc. I’ll drink to that!

The final track, and also the longest, is Sirocco’s "Forsaken Shores". It wraps up this disc quite well. The song at times has an almost Iron Maiden vibe, but progresses into what the band likes to call “Celtic Thrash”. The guitar riffs dance around on the neck of the instruments and also partake in some nice melodic leads and solos.

Famous French artist JP Fournier envisioned the cover artwork of this compendium, "Druid’s Summoning of Celtic God Cernunnos Within the Cauldron". His creativity has graced the covers of band such as Dragon Force, Elvenking, Cellador, Immortal, Diabolical Masquerade, Edguy and many more. Belgium’s Kris Verwimp also contributed his expertise to the CD-label artwork. You may have seen his previous efforts for bands like Absu, Arch Enemy, Marduk, Manegarm, Old Man’s Child, Samhain, and Twin Obscenity to name just a few. You can surely frame this CD’s artwork and hang it in an art museum.

Well that brings us to the end of this chapter of Metal Message “IV”. Several more quality examples of Pagan, Viking, and folk metal will be released later this year with the fifth installment of the Metal Message samplers. Be prepared for war!


Reviewed By: Jeffrey D. Adkins