Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Album Review: Krynitza - "Angel"

Krynitza - Angel

Band: Krynitza (Russia)
Album Title: Angel
Label: Sonnenvolk / Stellar Winter (Russia)
Released: 2005

I don't listen to a lot of traditional folk music, and most of it I do listen to has some sort of connection to the metal scene. From the great pagan metal label Stellar Winter comes Krynitza, which is connected to the metal bands Oprich and Bog Morok (and, more recently, the awesome Vo Skorbyah). Rodoslav, the leader of this project, is (allegedly) a session member of Oprich, and violinist Vasilisa played on that band's split with Kroda. Rodoslav also contributed much to the Vo Skorbyah CD, which is one of my favorite CD's of 2007.

You won't find any metal on Angel. The music is entirely acoustic (except for a bit of keyboard on one track), consisting of guitar, violin, flute, mouth harp, and male and female vocals. Rodoslav supplies the male vocals, his voice sounding proud yet melancholic. Tatyana Vyugina is the primary female vocalist on Angel, yet her voice is mostly used as an ethereal-sounding backdrop to Rodoslav's vocals, as she sings very few actual words on the album. All lyrics are in Russian, and there is no translation provided in the insert, so I can only guess as to the nature of the lyrics. Song title translations include, "Song of the Wind," "As Upon the Wild Wasteland...," and "The Leaves of Life," which are pretty ambiguous.

The album begins with "Requiem," which is mostly instrumental, except for the wordless female vocals. For some reason it sounds to me as if it would fit very well in an Italian western film. This song also features some nature sound effects, which is something that is also used in the next few songs. The other instrumental on Angel is the very pleasant "Rusalia," which features two flutes, a simple keyboard backdrop, and nothing else.

There's no single exceptional element to this album. The guitar is little more than strummed chords, and the violin, though well-played, loses a bit of its character due to the somewhat rough recording. However, it's how it all fits together that gives Angel its unique and charming sound. The album gives me a nostalgic feeling, despite my not being able to understand the words. It's a short album (only 28 and a half minutes, which includes the live recording of "As Upon the Wild Wasteland...," a song which appears earlier on the CD in a studio version), but it's very enjoyable, from beginning to end, and it's one that I play quite often.

Though Krynitza improved in many ways with their second album, Hail to the Sun, their first little gem should not be overlooked.

No comments: