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Review: Tverd - Follow the Sun's Way
Follow the Sun's Way

Label: Wicked Music
Year released: 2008
Duration: 63:36
Tracks: 10
Genre: Folk Metal


Review online: June 14, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.78/5 (75.56%) (9 Votes)

Wow, this one took me by surprise. I was remotely aware of "Folk" Metal through the Blackmore's-Night-pointy-hat-wearing-renaissance-faire type stuff and completely unaware of Tverd or their direct predecessor, Pagan Reign. Man, was I missing out on some outstanding metal.

Tverd (which apparently is Russian for "Ancient Fortress," thank you Mr. Buckle) are from Tver in the Russian Federation and what they bring to the table with Follow the Sun's Way is a fantastic combination of diverse metal styles (mostly Power and Black, but there are others including some NWOBHM solos) and traditional Russian folk music. This is accomplished by mixing awesome, crunchy guitars with both clean (male and female) and raspy vocals and a wide assortment of non-metal instrumentation such as flutes, mandolins and percussion. On the surface this would seem difficult at best, but Tverd pull off the feat seamlessly. Oh yeah, and throw in an absolute shit-load of epic songs.

Tverd is led by former Pagan Reign guitarist, composer, raspy-vocalist, and folk instrumentalist Vetrodar and he brought with him some very impressive songwriting skills. Not only that, but he has a excellent feel for how to combine the metal and folk elements of his songs so you never feel like you've drifted into the aforementioned renaissance faire nor do you ever lose the imagery of ancient warriors riding across the steppes. That imagery comes across in spite of the lyrics all being in Russian, so I actually have no idea what the songs are about, other than the titles, which are in English. Songs like "Wolf and Gyrfalcon," "The Spring" and "When the Steel is Being Broken" (see what I meant about epic?) seesaw back and forth between all out metal assaults and beautiful, folk melodies with such fluidity that you get swept up in the music and hardly realize there was any change. The rest of Follow the Sun's Way flows just as seamlessly from song to song. You'll be 3 minutes in to "A Falcon is Over Rus" before you realize the previous song, "Under the Sun's Magic Arrows," was entirely acoustic guitar, flute and birds singing. There is a weird electronic, dance-music breakdown at the end of "Russian Land's Sorrow (Kalinov's Bridge) that is hard to explain in the context of the rest of the album, but since it is at the end of the last song, it doesn't take away from the overall listening experience.

Follow the Sun's Way is incredible, plain and simple. I have been playing it non-stop for a week and it gets better every time. If you like your metal straight up with just guitar, bass, drum, vocal, this may not be for you. But if you've got even the tiniest bit of adventure in your soul I highly recommend you check this album out. You'll be glad you did.

More about Tverd...
Review: Follow the Sun's Way (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Rus: Prophetic Oleg (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Vetrodar (Guitar) on July 23, 2009 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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