|Review: Gontyna Kry - Welowie|
Label: Old Legend Productions
Year released: 2002
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: January 8, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (24 Votes)
I finally got my hands on this early material from the Polish Pagan Metal masters. This CD is a re-issue of the original 1998 release, with a 12-page booklet that includes all the lyrics in both Polish and English - very convenient since not only does the band sing in Polish, but the vocal style doesn't lend itself well to actually understanding any of it (and the somewhat low-quality production doesn't help either.) :) Very nice job on the booklet.
While Gontyna Kry's later material is reputed as "National Socialist Black Metal", Welowie clearly falls more into the "Pagan Metal" genre, both from a lyrical and musical standpoint (you'd be hard- pressed to find anything actually offensive in those lyrics - except for a couple of lines in the booklet, which I believe were added for this re-issue.) The vocals on this sound like they come directly from the abyss, sounding very "far" behind the music, very obscure and haunting, resulting in vocal work that'll give you the chills. The music is quite varied, with a mix of raw, agonising guitars with more of a Thrash edge than the expected BM style, and a very judicious use of keyboards and synths (something that the band got even better at in their later work.) I think I can safely say that Gontyna Kry should be a reference for keyboards/synths use in the Black Metal genre (and similar genres.) Overall this stuff is pretty fast-paced, but there's the mandatory slower atmospheric passages on occasion - very reminescent of some of the BM bands of the early 90s, as well as a few spoken passages accompanied by synths and acoustic music, quite melancholic. Being finally able to read their lyrics, I can say that the mood of the music fits the lyrical them very well.
It is very interesting to finally hear this band's earlier material, and, comparing it to their later material, it is a textbook example of how to really progress musically - i.e. actually improve rather than going for a more "commercial" sound. Don't let this comparison with the later material fool you: This album does stand on its own, leaving in the dust most releases by similar bands. Highly recommended (as well as the rest of their catalog, for that matter.)
- Originally released in 1998 as a CD-R with professional booklet, also by Old Legend Productions
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