I have not been planning on reviewing this album immediately, after receiving the promo pack from Code666 (thanks, Michele!...), due to the fact I was certain, or at least thought so, that another album by Rakoth would leave on me the same impression their debut album 'Planeshift' has left, meaning - quite weak, even though in terms of ideas/writing skills/ideas, it was near perfection, but the 'secret ingredient' that separates an average album from a true work of art was, unfortunately, missing, the special formula, if you prefer, the one that causes the listener to sympathize with, and be intoxicated of - a metal art - wasn't something I could easily find in the above mentioned debut, and the whole thing simply didn't work...The music simply ricocheted from the body, ever failing to penetrate the skin into deeper realms of spirit, into the soul...The truth should be known, and said, that I was actually quite surprised by this album, Rakoth's sophomore studio recording - 'Jabberworks', and when I say I was surprised, I mean it in the positive sense...I am not sure about that thing, this slippery something that makes real great albums, whether it is generated spontaneously and randomly or rather it is a thoughtful process, a gift being owned by so very few musicians that actually know what a thirsty soul needs, on what it feeds, and knowing that - they practice their magical musical formula on the music, to provide just that...All I know, is that sometimes the trick works and sometimes an album just adds to so many others, who are doomed to be forgotten, quite quickly...The members of Rakoth has left an impression of them being perfectionists first and foremost, but beyond that, Rakoth's work carries an undeniable amount of aesthetical and artistic values, which are both powerful and plain to see, and being all of these - Its music is evidently unforgettable...The music Rakoth composes and plays is not something to take light-heartedly and requires an amount of skill, originality and sense of beauty and aesthetics...The music alone tells us that the humans behind it, are first of all - artists per excellence, and musicians only secondary to that notion...Every aspect in Rakoth's music is meticulously refined and thought of, leaving no lose ends and done to uttermost perfection: the thoughtful, somewhat poetic lyricism, the tamed and wonderfully calculated musical landscapes, the classical/operatic/folkloristic attitude with which Rakoth approaches and attends its music, the artistic covers of their albums (digipacks rule!), the perfect production (that often makes me wonder whether it is too perfect a production for a metal band...)...All these qualities help form an impression that Rakoth consists of apparently educated beings, with a comprehensive musical education, maybe even formal education in classical music, people that are intellectuals to some extent, with knowledge in Russian folklore, access to local and foreign poets, history and a very high level of English, a fact that is not too familiar with the former Soviet Union folks, known for their rather broken English...All the above mentioned, though relevant to both Rakoth's albums, yet 'Jabberworks' is different from 'Planeshift' in one important thing: It penetrates...Contrary to bands whose music reflects the harsh, cruel and bleak characters of nature, Rakoth's music embodies the illuminated side of that coin, nature's hot and caressing beauty, nature's full spectrum of colors, if you prefer...The music imprisoned in 'Jabberworks' is regarded by me as a gentle snow-white swan aching to be released into the sun, break out of the CD hard and cold format, a fair thin-figured nymph, floating above a cold clear lake, just barely touching the cold tranquil water with its long, exquisite fingers...'Jabberworks' reflects Rakoth's enormous talent in song arrangements: every second is perfect in placing and timing, each following sound is exactly in the correct place and the correct time, the album's tracks are both intra-arranged and inter-arranged in a simple and completely logical order, making 'Jabberworks' a story, a musical epic tale of beauty and majesty second to none...'Jabberworks' is actually a compilation of Rakot's earlier material, prior to their debut 'Planeshift'. The material had been written between 1997 and 2000, and was re-recorded and re-mastered both in Russia and Italy. I had been expecting to hear some rather primitive, immature and raw material, but was surprised to hear excellent songs, both mature and complex...Even though Rakoth has incorporated a symphonic orchestra into this album, surprisingly the music does not sound pompous and bombastic, as it is in many other so-called 'symphonic metal' bands; It is never too sweet or saccharine. Rakoth keeps religiously, throughout the album, these melancholic, semi-dark, semi-operatic, semi-symphonic characteristics, while the vocals move between an almost operatic tenor to abrasive, blackish character, a voice that is often reminiscent of Garm (Ulver, Ved Buens Ende, Arcturus) and Korova's vocalist (now known as Korovakill0, while most of the time it is a perfectly unique voice that stands completely on its own, as any voice should be, for it reflects the uniqueness of the individual behind it...Not unlike Arcturus, Rakoth's overall sound and attitude are somewhat cabaret-like, bizarre and colorful, somber and powerful, almost avant-garde-ish, always interesting...Similarly to the name Rakoth, a beneficiary of human freedom through magic and dark arts, the band's essence is by no means 'dark' nor 'evil' (over-blown and over-used terms within the extreme metal world...) but rather humanistic on one hand and somewhat mystical on the other, while both aspects are simultaneously being expressed in the music; Music that generates celestial tranquility, purifying meditation and heart-warming humanism...I would risk a statement, and say that Rakoth's music represents the optimistic and noble sides of metal, its artistic/intellectual approach, as something that is manifested on a whole, integrative basis, starting at the cover art and ending in every aspect in the music...Simply put, this is beautiful music, full of beauty, no other, no better description of this album...Rakoth is regarded by me as today's best outfit hailing from the former Soviet Union countries, by far better than acts such as Mental Home or the clownish Nocturnal Mortum...Highly recommended to all of you who think metal music is the most quality artistic expression on the face of the earth, and in need of verification and justification to that thought...

2002 c. drishner