2016 was quite a busy year for the lad. After the more than convincing record ‘’For The Devil Speaks The Truth’’, in collaboration with his other band ‘’Khaospath’’, now it’s time to cover another project of his, loosely based on an undying passion besides black metal. In Draugul, the Maltese born multi musician explores his devotion towards Norse mythology and J.R.R Tolkien’s bibliography, incorporating a rather more folkish approach which mirrors perfectly the sub genre in question.
It is noteworthy how the musician never loses his touch in his work, as he unleashes a rather impressive 4th release in the span of 4 years. Spawned in Malta, fully domiciled in Skelleftea, Draugul brings you ‘’Winterspell’’, a bone chilling record which apprehends the best picture possible as I’m sitting here in my room listening to the record, on a breezy wintery night.
Unlike his other lovechild ‘’Khaospath’’, were no questions are asked, simply raw black metal as it’s meant to be, it’s in Draugul were one can analyse the myriad savviness of the man. Other than simply guitars and vocal duties, Hellcomander Vargblod cleverly merges a fusion of flutes and harps dubbed in the programming of the album, sharp enough to invoke the listener in losing touch with reality and for a brief moment, acquaints himself with his inner Vikingal brethren.
Shades of early Rotting Christ, ‘’Triarchy of the Lost Lovers’’ era to be exact and Bathory, ‘’Winterspell’’ is once again another libidinous album that doesn’t miss a single cue much like it’s fellow predecessors. From the fully Swede lyrical ‘’Fjallstrom, setting the tone of the album as its intention is to be an immaculate concoction of heavy and ethnic at the same time, carefully caresses an acoustical bridge to help emphasizing the Nordic elements of the material.
‘’Bysann Lull’’ is an acoustic instrumental based on the old eponymous sailor themed ballad composed by Evert Taube, a 2 minute elementary but haunting track which takes you down to the gulf of Bothnia. More epic and folkish tracks are ‘’Hagalaz’’ and ‘Smoke Rises From The Mountain Of Doom, here to mention the celestial guest vocals performed by his wife Katia especially in the former track, accentuating Tolkien’s mythopoesis popularised in the critically acclaimed Lord of The Rings series.
Inclusive in the album is a meticulous Inkubus Sukkubus cover of ‘’Wytches’’ and the intrumentals ‘’Chant of The Ravencult’’ and ‘’Lake Of Unnumbered Tears’’, whereas the usage of keyboards is conspicuous enough to close the lid of yet another delightful record.
Another impressive effort by the man, quintessentially dedicated to the three things he enjoys most, his family, mythology and of course, metal. Recommended to epic and folk metal enthusiasts.
‘’A gift from the ancient world
The woods now awake
their breach can be felt
in pale morning’s break
the earth is reborn
under the light of the moon
And now sing its song….
The Hagalaz Rune”