The sound of humming wind in the opening track announces the arrival of Pagan Metal horde originating directly from the deep dark forests of the land of wine, cheese and the Eiffel Tower. To be honest, you do not even have to listen to the whole track-list in order to know what kind of music they perform. A quick glimpse at the album cover and everything is clear: a bit pretentious logo showing signs of musicians’ fascination of medieval weaponry and above all a bearded savage with a truly stylish decoration attached to his head, namely deer antlers.
The CD starts as already mentioned with a typical Pagan introduction featuring sounds of nature accompanied later by a choir-like voices and epic drumming. “Howl Of The Iron Bells”, as this is the title of the composition in question, develops soon into a mid-tempo Black Metal track being in certain parts speeded up by the drummer and a bit more aggressive riffs. The acoustic part with the vocals similar to those mentioned above, is a nice supplement of a generally decent, though not captivating tune. Although such folk accents do not appear in the following “Hymn Of The Black Legions”, this piece seem to be a bit more remarkable mainly for the reason of a better guitar work and the combination of both faster and slower passages. Admittedly, I heard such things before, yet it might be quite difficult not to follow the awakened here call of the wild and headbang a bit. Next comes “The Evening Lights” with even more aggressive feeling and a kind of groove during the second minute of this track. The drummer is doing a good work and the only thing I do not like is the fact, that the song for some unknown reason ends unexpectedly in a quite interesting moment.
After these Black Metal pieces, HINDVIR reminds us about their Pagan inspirations by a composition called “Caballus Divina” including acoustic guitars, drums as well as the choir-like motive known from the previous songs. The rhythmicity of this song – mostly as regards guitars – brings to mind associations with the culture of southern Europe countries like for instance Spain. Almost identical motives are placed in “All Hail The Tyrant”, which also draws one’s attention thanks to certain Black riffs summoning the spirit of ENSLAVED.
Generally speaking, the further we proceed, the somewhat better music we get. The second part of “Roth Cingetos Taxonaria” is slightly more diverse and thereby more absorbing. The acoustic passages, which are nicely performed and arranged in songs like “Horns Raised”, “Galia Bardus” or the last one “Tears Of The Gods”, illustrate this very well. Likewise, the guitar efforts seem to be of a bit better sort and even quite catchy like in the title track. “Fields Of Anger” in turn sets off with guitar work, which probably even IMMORTAL themselves would not be ashamed of.
Well, so far everything seems to be all right here, however, there is something in this music, which does not convince me. HINDVIR show definitely that they have mastered the Black Metal craft, yet it is still not sufficient for becoming one of the genre’s stars. I would be likely to give this record a higher mark, but unfortunately its lack of some really stunning musicianship prevents me from this. I do find the acoustic folk culture themes really good and perhaps even a little original in a way, also most of the Black Metal fragments are played all right, yet somehow I miss something here. Perhaps it is because of the fact, that the formula used by HINDVIR have already been tried before, perhaps the band should rely more on those folk passages, perhaps…
One thing I clearly dislike about this album are the lyrics. While it does not come as any kind of surprise, that the French guys are not keen on Christianity, the way they sometimes express their thoughts makes my scepticism towards their release grow even more. The texts in certain songs are rather infantile and one can get a feeling, that the band were not exerting themselves while writing these.
All in all, if we put aside the above-mentioned disadvantages, we get a portion of decent Black Metal with some Folk/Pagan influences, though decent does not mean really innovative and therefore the final rate can not be more than average.
(Online May 31, 2008)