Pagan/Folk Metal has been one of my favourites for a long time now and bands from Russia especially have found a spot close to my heart, mostly due to the fact that they incorporate these peculiar melodies that you will not find anywhere else. So when I found out about a new band hailing from St.Petersburg named FEARLIGHT, I was intrigued to say the least, hoping for another gemstone in the eastern Metal scenes.
“Nash Zavet” is the title of their debut album, out via Gardarika Musikk, and it is kind of a two-edged sword for me. The use of the tin whistle and bagpipe lends the Folk element, which does not necessarily mark them as Russian band, while the vocals of Albinoni hold the Russian touch in the melody lines, on the other hand the songs lack some of the fascination that marks so many other bands of this style and country, making the Metal parts seem rather bland in comparison. But maybe I should not make the mistake to try to measure them up against the ARKONAs and BUTTERFLY TEMPLEs...
And when looking at it again, it makes sense to view FEARLIGHT a little differently, as their approach to the genre is somewhat gentler, sometimes more geared towards Rock compared to Metal, even though the harsh voice of Elf that comes into place here and there, might say something different, but at the same time, they kind of seem out of place, as do the two songs with English lyrics (“In the mounting so high it is sultry”), which is somewhat puzzling.
So, when taking the different approach to the review, then “Nash Zavet” is an enjoyable album that suffers just a little from the at times extensive carpeting of the keyboards and the very artificial sounding drums (especially the brass drives me nuts sometimes), but when they bring in the tin whistle and bagpipe, the Russians show their strengths and originality and also their potential, which undoubtedly is there.
In the end I can’t help being somewhat disappointed, as I had hoped for another stroke of genius out of Russia, the end result is an enjoyable album with several flaws, which dampen my spirits one way or the other, resulting in the overall rating, give it a chance, though, if you like these styles, you never know, maybe it’ll manage to connect with you more than with me.
(Online May 30, 2008)