Released: 2008, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Ukraine is presumably one of those more obscure and odd territories for metal that most of us wouldn´t expect to hear new bands popping up like every other week or so. As for starters, I openly confess to belong to that group of people who haven´t much experience of Ukrainian metal bands at all. Now I'm wondering myself where my ears have been for all these years?
Natural Spirit, this melodic folk/black/pagan metal sextet from Kyyiv, Ukraine, has already a pretty long history behind them, which dates back to 1999 when the first seeds of the band were sowed in the ground, at that time under the Fangorn moniker though (which, however, was quite soon changed to its current name, Natural Spirit). The band released their debut album, titled RUSKOLUN in 2004, on their own as a limited edition, that was soon re-released with some bonus stuff on the Russian label More Hate Productions in summer 2005.
SITA ROSA, the title of Natural´s Spirit´s 2nd album, has now been released on both Russian label Sound Age and rising American label Stormspell Records. It´s a definite plus for them to perform their folk-ish pagan black metal in their mother language, Ukrainian, providing more uniqueness and originality for their own musical crusade into the depths of the kind of genre they represent.
What I like on this album in particular, is a contrast that has been created between two vocalists. Katherine´s (Prischepa) beautiful, even partly operatic vocals added with Oleg´s (Kirienko) more harsh, trollish black metal shrieks and snarls, create quite a setting together for a ´good-against-evil´ type of play on SITA ROSA. As for the music itself, it´s thoroughly well-thought-out and strongly presented, in which all the instruments´ interaction with each other is in a good balance and harmony – none of the instruments taking too much precedence over the other instruments, and that way dominating the outcome more than what is necessary.
As for some certain musical references to Natural Spirit´s stuff, I´m sure the most dedicated fans of this genre can undoubtedly easily pick up at least Moonsorrow´s and Finntroll´s names out from the songs on SITA ROSA – also Nightwish´s name may somewhat easily crawl back to some of our minds – at least occasionally, whenever Katherine does more of that ´operatic´ singing style within the songs (check out her singing in such songs as “Kladovest” and "Dream" as examples).
As the album also contains great production, the clan of Natural Spirit can be very confident about their future since this whole folk/pagan/whatever metal genre seems to be highly popular amongst metalheads of all ages nowadays. A very good second album Natural Spirit anyway which they can sincerely be proud of.