BOLERO - Voyage from Vinland CD
Genre: Pagan/Folk Metal
As any reader of Scumfeast Metal 666 will tell you I've always been into the Pagan Folk metal genre and giving it's various bands credit which they richly deserved. Unfortunately the Paganfest free for all over the past couple of years has created a genre overflowing with too many copy cats swimming behind the original long boats in order to catch a ride. Which brings us to this Canadian band who are musically spot on with their rendition of the pagan folk elements inter weaved with the melodic metal structure. Unfortunately there are a lot of things wrong here which makes this less enjoyable then what other's previously have done. First off is their band name because when I see the word "bolero" I'm not able to link that to the pagan, folk or viking legends since it's more a reference to Latin music and dance. Secondly the release title is backwards. Wouldn't it be more relative to the musical genre subject matter to be "voyage to vinland"? Be that as it may nice cover art work and it could be worse. They could have been Pirate Metal.
Now getting back to the music, on this their debut full length, the band borrows influences from most every European act whose ever graced a Paganfest stage with a regimented melodic death metal pedigree. Their song themes run through the various cliche themes of drinking, battles and that o'l north land magic. Instead of adding traditional folk instrumentation ala: strings, woodwinds, accordions, etc, these Canadians use keyboards to cover that ground. I always found that to be a cheap imitation to what the great bands of this genre have already done and continue to do. BOLERO does introduce some acoustic guitar on a number of cuts but even that sounds cliche. Sure it must be hard to have an ad answered which reads "Wanted: Metal band seeks multi instrumentalist who can play accordion, tin whistle, flute and fiddle." Of course having those doesn't necessarily make one a pagan folk act but not being from a Scandinavian country or even from a Northern European nation really hurts one's credibility as well as sincerity to the music. Don't get me wrong and think I'm picking on this because they're Canadian. Hell I've dumped avalanches of scorn upon wanna-be Pagan Folk Battle Metal acts from the the US, Mediterranean countries and even one from South America.