Two years after their already convincing debut "Veles" Russian BUTTERFLY TEMPLE are back with "Wheel Of Chernobog", by now via established label Irond Records and had the previous album already been remarkable, the sextet could build on that with their second effort in basically all areas. The basic direction of Pagan Metal is still the same, they just have added quite a bit of intensity and partly also heaviness.
After the intro "Tropa" "Khort Yamy" thunders through the speakers pretty fast, short, but intense, with more rough vocals, differently used keyboards, rhythmic drumming and again very good clean vocals (male as female) and altogether quite a bit heavier than still on "Veles", but without sacrificing their own sound, sounds damn good, if you ask me! "Demiurg Ekstaza" starts out with a movie sample, with male choir, fire and a female voice, then BUTTERFLY TEMPLE again convince with varied, very melodic Pagan Metal that covers almost the complete speed tempo spectrum, once more convincing through the very good and partly unusual melodies and the excellent vocals, which gives the band its very own sound.
After the bombastic/classical interlude "Chernoboga Psy" (we get quite a few of those on "Wheel Of Chernobog", loosen the whole thing up quite nicely) "Zri Satano!" surprises with some saxophone, which we already could find on "Veles", embedded into the very variable sound of the Russians, again pepped up by very well used movie samples, very intense and just big, surely not suited for everybody, but damn good song, really! "Paskhalny Ubijtsa" then is the most probably fastest song that BUTTERFLY TEMPLE ever have written, because despite all the melodies packs quite a wallop, again very intense, followed by another (Russian) movie sample, after which "Kaleidoskop 69" brings us very heroic vocals, which just sound great! Also in combination with the operatic vocals of one of the female guest singers it does not lose any of its fascination, because the song follows it and sounds very bombastic and epic, but without a doubt singer Lesiar is the star here!
"Tayna" contains a Jew's Harp, hand drums and spolen Russian lyrics, with flute and all, sounds very authentic and good, followed by the very epic "Triumfator Voli", driven forward by thundering double bass and "My Dva Kryla", introduced by great folkish chants and a bit of spoken word, before another very melodic song with quite extensive keyboards follows, which is among the best tracks on "Wheel Of Chernobog", if not THE best, very hard to put into words, let's just leave it at "damn good"!
The production also was upped a notch or two compared to "Veles", very clear, very powerful, very good job here, I am impressed! And also the optical side of "Wheel Of Chernobog" is remarkable, here the total package definitely fits, it is always a joy to see that a band/label really takes care of all elements of a release to deliver the best for the fan.
Had "Veles" already been a really good album, so "Wheel Of Chernobog" tops it off still. The compositions are very varied, original and most of all intense on a CD, which, just like the previous album, definitely is not suited for everybody, but who can handle the at times a bit unusual melodies and elements as well as the Russian lyrics will be rewarded with a great CD of an outstanding band, which just has to be supported!
Please visit our mp3 section for sound clips from this album!
Available at www.metal-cd.ru! (Online October 8, 2003)