Reviewed: June, 2020
Released: 2020, Kadabra Music
Reviewer: Kat Knite
Ukrainian melodic metal band IGNEA release ‘The Realms of Fire and Death’, a three-part experience of a heavy collision between metal and symphonic, electronic, and folk elements. Each part consists of three songs, outlining different perspectives on the themes of fire and death. IGNEA are able to seamlessly shift into brutal moments while remaining melodic. Using various electronic sounds and synths they incorporate melodies into their Ukrainian folk-laced atmosphere that transform the traditional into the modern.
Focusing on riffs structured commonly around the harmonic minor scale, IGNEA instantly connect to me. My own family came from Ukraine so the music strikes a certain chord. ‘Chorne Polumia (Black Flame)’ adds something very witchy to this already mysterious group, the Ukrainian language so unusual and beautiful to hear over a modern metal landscape. Helle Bogdanova’s screams layer the track, where apocalyptic storms meet ancient folklore. This band is tight, creative, fiery, and thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.
Bogdanova’s vocals are impressive, her range between clean sounds and growls unexpected when you are first hit by it. ‘Too Late to be Born’ and ‘Gods of Fire’ showcase exactly what this girl is unafraid to do. She is able to sound like a lullaby before turning into a menacing warrior, which is an ultimate power to hold! ‘Tokuni’ (originally by Eivør) is a mystical metal cover of a beautiful song, which they manage to effortlessly execute. Her vocals here remind me of a powerful mountain witch, a growling pant incorporated in like a tribal call.
The other musicians are just as powerful in their delivery, with dark and heavy riffs to feel, jump, and head-bang to. ‘Out of my Head’’s riff is one of my favourites on the album, coming in like a massive wave after an electro-laced intro. I especially love Ivan Kholmogorov‘s drums behind it, inspiring something in my core to move. We hear some serious skill during ‘Gods of Fire’ in Dmitriy Vinnichenko‘s guitar solo, the sound of which is heavily blended with electro… sort of like it’s programmed into a video game (this sound can also be heard on ‘Jinnslammer’). The heavy instrumentation shows talented musicianship on behalf of the band.
One song I don’t fully understand is ‘What For’. While I can appreciate the storyline value of it, it doesn’t make much sense to me personally within the musical scope of the record. It comes unexpectedly, the sound bright and bubbly, reminiscent of a medieval village daytime festival. I know the inclusion of this song holds purpose for IGNEA and I respect that, but it takes me out of the feel of the album. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see how they continue on after.
‘The Realms of Fire and Death’ stays strong and finishes with ‘Disenchantment’. Epic feelings, ancient memories, and visions of a futuristic cyber-apocalypse flash before me as we come to the end of the experience. I’ve gotten to know the force that IGNEA is, and am excited for them in their upcoming release. I will be looking to see what the future brings for the band.
An exclusive edition of ‘The Realms of Fire and Death’ will be released via Kadabra Music on July 3rd, 2020. The CD will be available as a 4-panel digipak, distributed by Plastic Head (UK/Europe), Season of Mist (France), and Rock Inc. (BeNeLux).