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Fenrir – Legends Of The Grail

Fenrir
Legends Of The Grail
by Anton Sanatov at 20 February 2019, 8:48 PM

Perhaps at one point in our lives we’ve all felt the call of the wild – or that summoning whisper of the trees within the crevice of a virgin valley. For sometimes it seems that only an escape to the unpopulated plains of green and boundless forest lands may be pack the breath of fresh air that we all eventually come to yearn for – that freedom of a self-reliant, primal life.

Folk Metal is always entertaining; for it is truly a subgenre of unique and refreshing quality. Yet as with all musical directions that rely so highly on their singularity, there are those who manage to execute it righteously, and those who miss the mark. Nature, tradition, folk instrumentation and Metal savagery can be tough to bring together into the modern world, and whilst French Folk Metallers FENRIR may have done that quite tastefully on the debut outing, their sophomore effort “Legends of the Grail” sees them get lost in the woods of mixed results.

When someone utters the words ‘Folk Metal’, you can’t help but immediately think of names like ELUVEITIE, ENSIFERUM and FINNTROLL - as those bands set the benchmark when it comes crafting songs that combine of the esoteric elements that define this extraordinary genre. For in order to achieve the necessary result within this particular branch of Metal a band must maintain a carefully monitored balance of aptitude in blending the facets of two very different artistic approaches, and unfortunately for FENRIR, this is not always the case.

There are two very distinct sides to this record – a good one and a somewhat lacklustre one. Of course, that can be said of any album, but on “Legends of the Grail” it tends to be a rather disappointing factor due to the record’s otherwise high potential. The album truly shines when we get to witness FENRIR employ their proficiency on traditional instruments and craft interesting, fun period pieces like “The Fisher King”, “Broceliane” and “Mordred”, which flow nicely in and out of Metal chugging and heavy footed drumming, creating a truly wondrous blend of Celtic Metal – with the latter of the tracks even stepping into Symphonic territory.

Yet for all the great intentions there is always this plastic essence that is present throughout the tracks; when in reality, given their stylistic manner, they should sound more organic and open. Granted this could be the fault of the over compressed production and artificial-sounding mix, but tracks like “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “The Son of Pendragon” nonetheless appear forced in their pursuit of adding weight to the Folk elements by riding boring fast-paced tempos and filling the background with incessant double bass drum palpitations.

Whilst at its core the album does sound somewhat messy in its conceptual execution, tracks like “Conquest of Britain” and “Morgane” do in fact see FENRIR zero in on their goals and almost reach them as they astutely combine groovy riffs with some blast beaten Melodeth accents to create some of the more formidable offerings on this production.

Overall – “Legends of the Grail” may not transport you to the lands of old, but it sure tries to…very hard. FENRIR are a great band of talented musicians, and whilst this offering may not be their finest work, it is still full of heart and folksy lore.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. A Legend Begins
  2. A Red Sun Rises
  3. Camelot
  4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  5. Conquest of Britain
  6. The Fisher King
  7. Brocéliande
  8. The Son of Pendragon
  9. La dame du lac
  10. Morgane
  11. Mordred
  12. Mists of Avalon
Lineup:
Kévin Keiser – Drums
Jordan Lavaut – Bass Guitars
Bruno Giglio – Violin
Michaël Macé – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Elsa Thouvenot – Vocals, Violin
Record Label: Independent
     


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