Various Artists
Pagan Storm

Two-year old compilation tape with ten bands from Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, a couple of which I am already familiar with.

It is always a good idea to begin your compilation with a great band, especially if this band is SKYFORGER who start things up with two songs off of their legendary "Semigalls' Warchant" demo. If you haven't heard this band yet, I suggest you get off your lame ass and do so because you are missing out on some great music.

Second band, unfortunately, is total shit. I mean, I how much could you really expect from musicians who call themselves SENCE'S CALMING AT DEAD'S LAMENT PLACES (S.C.A.L.P.)? I hate this crap. Cheesy synth music that is only good for some tear-bringing Hollywood movie.

Luckily, the situation is corrected with another great band, namely OYHRA, with a kick-ass track from their demo "Na Yazichnitzkai Zyamli." Next up come HA LELA, who start their song with an almost child-like folk tune, which then transforms into full fledged folk-metal not unlike Zpoan Vtenz, but less dark and more playful, and not as accomplished. Still a pretty good song, but only if you don't mind folk music.

Just as I began to think that things were becoming stable, I was assaulted by another mediocre band. MOROK reminded me a little bit of Oyhra, but in a bad way. They play primitive and boring Pagan metal with way too much spoken and clean vocals. Forget it.

TANQUAM open the tape's second side, and these guys are very different, if not unique. Their contribution is a symphonic, gothic-tinged keyboard piece with lots of classical influences, incessant mood swings and unsettling pace. The song is entitled "Ritual," and it continuously changes from slow, mellow and folksy sounds to fast, pummeling orchestration and tribal percussion. Very peculiar.

Next in line is another mediocre band called ALKONOST who play romantic, doomy metal with lots of melodic leads and Cradle Of Filth-type vocal shrieks. They are fairly listenable, but nothing that I would recommend. The mediocrity continues with GDAE, who reminded me of Skyforger without the folk parts, and not nearly as good. Plus, the production is crappy and vocals are really obscured.

ANXDRIS are next, and in order to describe them I shall again resort to Skyforger comparison. Imagine Skyforger dropping all the black metal influence and entirely concentrating on their folk-metal parts with pipes, harps, rattle-sticks etc., and you'd have Anxdris. Is it good or bad? You decide.

The last band on the compilation is called SLEEPING FLOWERS. Without even knowing anything about them, besides their name, you could easily speculate what kind of music they would be playing. It would either be some cheesy, romantic, gothic metal or some cheesy, romantic keyboard music. Sleeping Flowers fall into the latter category. Their song is a happy sounding, folk-drenched keyboard tune with totally childish melodies. The only use for this music that I could think of is to put it on while trying to lull a baby to sleep.

Finally, in the tape's inlay there appear quotes on the subject of nature and Paganism from Peter of Skyforger, Radzim of Oyhra, and Yevgeniy of S.C.A.L.P. And right amongst them there is a quote from Hegel, which is just a little bit pretentious, don't you think?

2000 boris