Review: Midgard – Tales of Kreia

First off: I don’t speak any slavic language whatsoever. In fact I’m not even sure which language is used here. My guess is Ukranian, since the band hails from Ukrania (although it could also be Russian). So apart from the songtitles, there are only two things I lyrically understood on this record. The fart at the beginning of Dwarf King, and the laughter that follows the aforementioned fart. What I do understand is the universal language of music. And this album tells a fantastic tale that is both an epic and a beautiful one. Tales of Kreia is the third full-length album of folk-metal band Midgard. Unlike the previous two albums, Tales Of Kreia is specifically written within a fantasy setting and every song is endowed with different moods while raising a variety of philosophical issues about life and death. Although they are only a four-piece, with the classical metal-instrumentation of guitar, drum, and bass, their music features a variety of folk-instruments. They also use quite a wide array of styles. From deathmetal-, to thrash-, to very melodic parts.

Opener Necromancer is a great example of what to expect in the next 48 minutes. With a slow-paced intro that quickly climaxes into roaring guitar-riffs and drumbeats. The whole spectrum of the album is present in this song. What a great way to start a record. The Horde dives deep into groove-metal territory. With an absolutely stunning guitar-melody in the chorus. Again I don’t understand the lyrics, but since the official video to the song features scenes from Duncan Jones’ (pretty underrated) 2016 Warcraft movie, I guess they mean Blackhand’s Horde. And since geeks are my favourite flock of people, all I can say to that song is: “lok’tar ogar!” Velmehazerun Dolian takes the polar opposite approach of Necromancer. The song starts off wild and fast, before becoming calmer and more melodic to the end. What both songs have in common however is how beautifully crafted both are.

In comparison to the rest of the record, The Ring could almost be called a “power-ballad”. Although it has its wilder moments, the song is pretty soothing. I’m taking a wild guess here and assume that it’s about Sauron’s one ring to rule them all. No album about fantasy tales is complete without a little Tolkien after all. And with that in mind, I also assume the Dwarf King in the next song is Durin, or one of his many descendants. It certainly sounds like it could play in the background of an big, epic party in Erebor. Hosted by one of the kings under the mountain. And holy hell, would I like to see this track played live.

The first few times I listened to this album, and before I visited their Facebook-page, I always pictured Midgard having two vocalists. The harsh vocals would be covered by their frontman, and the clean ones by one of the instumentalists. I was generally surprised, that all vocals are done by the same guy. Nice spectrum you got there, Klym Apalkov. His prowess on the mic becomes especially apparent on my personal favourites Keeper Of The Freedom and Reaper. The songs are (like pretty much all of the record) perfectly structured, and the clean and harsh vocals are used at just the right moments.

By now I really wish I could understand the lyrics, but I have to admit that guessing what the songs are about is also kinda fun. Elven Blade is again one of the calmer tracks with hauntingly beautiful melodies, but it still manages to be hella’ fierce. In my mind it’s about Glamdring the foehammer. The sword, which was wielded by Turgon, the late king of Gondolin. I normally point out the weak song, that every album usually has. But by the life of me, I couldn’t call any song on this record weak. From start to finish, this record is truly an epic journey without a bad track on it. The Hunt and Black Widow fast up the pace one last time, before the beautifully melodic Ice Spirit brings this incredibly diverse voyage to its end.

In the context of this article, I want to end my review with one of my favourite Tolkien-quotes: “Not all those who wander are lost”. And I hope that one day Midgard will wander into Austria for some concerts. I want to see this album performed live.

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