But, like you guessed it, recently I received an album that is just too good to ignore. For the record, yes I'm back in the metal business and I have been since the inception of Merchants Of Air. Still, folk or pagan metal is something we don't get often here. That's probably why I've been so curious about this album. I wondered: did the genre evolve? Is there something new and refreshing to be found in pagan metal? The answer, oh hell yeah.
Thy Worshiper is not a new band. They have been around since 1993 and witnessed a rebirth in 2005. This Polish six-piece recorded several albums already and there's no intention to stop. In fact, they're already planning the next one, to be released next year or so. However, let's focus on their current album. It takes pagan metal as a basis, add a healthy dose of eastern European folk to it and comes out with something unique, something that resembles dark folk above metal.
The album isn't loaded with guitars, although there's plenty of headbanging sessions possible. The drums don't rock like the previously mentioned bands do but they add a sense of ritual percussion to the whole. Opener 'Brzask' might be one of the most 'metal' songs, sounding like a blend of Moonspell and Rotting Christ but again dwelling in a mysterious atmosphere, thanks to the ethnic instruments. Vocals range from ritual chants to growls and angelic female vocals. Besides, there's a stunning danceable folk passage in this piece that is so beautiful.
Thy Worshiper clearly have their own style, influenced by black metal and seemingly also by those spooky folk acts like Of The Wand And The Moon, Elend or Sol Invictus. I admit, Thy Worshiper is a lot heavier than those bands but they do have a lot in common, including atmosphere and vocal arrangements. Furthermore, they seem to have a nag for complete freedom in music. In 'Halny' I can even hear some jazz influences. The Shining (blackjazz) could have made this song in a dark mood (but certainly not as good as Thy Worshiper do).
Is it ok to add 'post' to the description of this music? Well, in a certain way it might be. There are some drones and some dark, hypnotic passages. 'Ozyny', for instance is a diabolical chant, dark, eerie and driving on didgeridoo and a percussion like a heartbeat. So let's call this post-folk, especially when the drony bass and guitars come in. Yet, there's is little to no metal to be found here, which isn't a problem by the way. I love this song.
And I also love the other songs, 'Wietlica' is a psychedelic version of a Lacuna Coil song (again, only better), 'Wsrod Cieni i Mgiel' shows the blackened side of the band again and closer 'Ozimina' is a scary piece of music, driving on uptempo percussion and a dark, gothic atmosphere. All of these songs seem to have a different sound, although they fit perfectly together. So what else could I do then recommend this song to everyone who's into dark music. As far as folk, or pagan, metal is concerned, this is now on the top of my list.