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Review: Draugul - The Voyager
Draugul
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The Voyager

Label: Pesttanz Klangschmiede
Year released: 2013
Duration: 56:20
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 2.75/5

Review online: February 16, 2014
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
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The Voyager

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Review


Here we have another one from Pesttanz Klangschmiede, whose recent releases I've been covering with some measure of frequency as of late. Draugûl hails from Malta, and play an epic/Viking style of black metal, clearly taking cues from Bathory as well as adding elements of Enslaved, and some atmospheric/new age-style keyboards/synthesizers. Thematically Draugûl unsurprisingly look towards Tolkien, with the band name being derived from the black speech. Draugûl also touches on some Norse mythology.

Straight off the bat I want to say I feel the vocals are too high in the mix; at times it overpowers the music, which frankly, kills it. Whilst I'm going for the jugular, covering "One Rode to Asa Bay" is a bad decision, and serves as detriment to the album. Sole band member Hellcommander Vargblod just doesn't have the skills or experience to do justice to the mighty Bathory, and whilst it's all well and good honoring your heroes, don't put it in the middle of an album (just don't do it, full stop). The harpsichord was a bad idea too, adding a thick layer of cheese to "From the Ruins of Angmar", which given the subject, should have been badass.

Outside of the aforementioned major negatives I've found there to be at least some solid material throughout The Voyager. Whilst the mix is a little shoddy - what with the levels sounding wrong at certain times - the music itself is for the most part decent and shows potential. There are definitely some good riffs here, and if they were allowed a little more breathing space could come off relatively mighty. The opening number "Paths Of The Dead" or the relatively cool "The Curse of Heoroth" show this off well, and I prefer the slower, heavier riffs as opposed to the faster tremolo riffs, which sound relatively stock. The clean vocals aren't bad either, and work well in context with Vargblod's atypical snarls.

Truth be told, I found the negatives outweigh many of the positive factors displayed here, and as a result I won't be listening to this one again any time soon. A nice try, and certainly not without potential, but I'd definitely say a little more hard work would be required to result in a more engaging release. I can't think of all that much reason to give this a look in, although if Tolkien-inspired black metal sounds like your cup of tea then you might find something here I didn't.

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