Thursday, September 20, 2007

Album Review: Vo Skorbyah - "Vo Skorbyah"

Во Скорбях - Во скорбях

Band: Vo Skorbyah (Russia)
Album Title: Vo Skorbyah
Label: Sound Age (Russia)
Released: 2007

Vo Skorbyah (in English it seems to mean something like "in sorrow") is a one-off project featuring members of Bog Morok, Oprich, and Krynitza. Bog Morok I'm not at all familiar with, but Oprich is a folk metal band known for their 2005 split CD with Kroda, and Krynitza is a well-received neofolk band.

The music on this album has been described as "folk funeral doom." I don't listen to much doom metal, and have had even less exposure to funeral doom, so I can't even imagine who I'd be able to compare Vo Skorbyah to. Judging by what I've read from others, there really isn't a good comparison. If I were forced to make any sort of comparison, I would say that they kind of sound like Oprich, only much slower. And better.

The lyrics are apparently taken from Slavic funeral texts that date from pre-Christian times. The fifth song contains a sample of a Russian woman mourning a dead child through song. I'll have to take their word for it, I suppose, as I have no way to figure out what is being said, as all lyrics are in Russian. However, it is easy to determine from even a single listen that there is a lot of sorrow in these songs.

Many of the vocals are of the growling variety (delivered by Oprich frontman Yaromir), and there are also some beautiful clean male and female vocals. Krynitza's Rodoslav, besides contributing some excellent clean vocals, also plays flute (and jaw harp). Keyboards are used to good effect, and are never overbearing. Guitars and drums are devastatingly heavy. Even though four of the five songs are about 10 or 11 minutes long, I've never found myself bored or reaching for the "track skip" button. Each song unfolds perfectly.

In fact, I can't think of a single thing I would change about this release. Well, okay, the "crying" vocals at the end of "Batushka Part I" are a little off-putting, but I'm sure that if I had any idea what they were saying, it would all make sense to me.

I really wish I were better at expressing my thoughts and feelings about music so that I could do this album justice with my words. It's simply so good that it should be heard, as there seems to be no way to adequately describe how beautiful and near-perfect Vo Skorbyah is.

Though 2007 has been seen great releases in the pagan metal genre, Vo Skorbyah is certain to make my top albums list. It's one of those brilliant albums that came out of nowhere.

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