Blackened folk metal is the order of the day for Germany’s long-running Black Messiah (active since 1992!). Main pagan Zagan has been there since the beginning, shepherding a varied crew of band mates through four previous albums and handling a great deal of the musicianship along the way.
THE FINAL JOURNEY is the band’s first album in three years and they waste no time exploding into the rousing “Windloni”, which shows off the heavier side of the band’s attack; the song being almost straight ahead black metal. As the album unfolds, the folkier elements of the band’s sound become prevalent, with violin being a featured part of the music (see “Der Ring Mit Dem Kreuz”). Melodic lead guitars usually lead the charge in each song, providing some memorable riffs in most of the songs. The vocals remain a mostly blackened caw, but are decipherable. These are mixed in with a gruff clean vocal for variety in some songs.
The centrepiece of the album is the four-part “Naglfar Saga” which is the band’s take on the Norse myth. Indeed, the three songs that close this epic are probably the most remarkable on the album.
All told, this is very solid folk metal (pagan metal by the band’s reckoning) and deserving of your time. Fans of the likes of Tyr and Equilibrium will find much to enjoy here.
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