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Gwydion – Gwydion

Gwydion
Gwydion
by Jean-François Poulin at 25 October 2020, 11:37 AM

GWYDION is a Symphonic Black Metal/Folk Viking Metal band from Lisbon, Portugal. They were formed way back in 1995 and have only 5 full-length albums to date. This album is the first since ‘’Thirteen’’ that came out in 2018 and it’s the second album with new lead singer Pedro Dias. They did however changed drummers since then with the addition of Marta Brissos that replaces Pedro Correia.

They take their name from Gwydion Fab Don, a magician, hero and trickster of Welsh mythology. A name synonymous with mischief no matter what author wrote about him, he liked to start wars, change people into animals and yet he can be depicted as a hero to many especially in the Keltiad series of novels by Scottish author Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. He can be very childish at times but some others have given him a more warrior like dimension to him.

I do highly enjoy a band that has ties to history, especially tales of Welsh mythology which I haven’t before.  They do talk about other history factoids like Iberian history and the viking culture like many bands before them. The historical accuracy might not be as poignant as WINTERBLADE that was a retelling of the first King of Norway but I enjoyed the historical songs very much.

The lyric videos are a nice touch and gives you a feel for the lyrics of the songs. There was a lot of time and effort put in the lyrics and a lot of research of Viking lore and the Gwydion character itself obviously. The lyrics are very historically driven and gives you the gist of what the whole song is about. I enjoyed the effort they put in to have a nice core of mythological themes throughout this album.

The music is very inspired by AMON AMARTH, especially the title track that sounded a bit like ‘’Shield Wall’’ on the last AMON AMARTH album. More and more you go through the album, you can hear the influences of the Viking masters which isn’t a bad thing, but it kinda gets stale after a bit. I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but at times, I was bored with the same old same old. You don’t have that power and presence associated with many bands of the genre unfortunately, it lacks the punch I was hoping for. It’s not bad but it’s overly generic at times. I like the historical aspect of the songs and the retelling of the Gwydion fantasies but other than that, it didn’t have that it factor.

I think the production could have been better, Viking Metal should be grandiose, bigger than nature you know. I felt it was a watered down version than it should have been. I would have added choirs or battle hymns to some song to really stand out. The album never got out of first gear for me, musically and lyrically it’s fine but the pure presence is seriously lacking unfortunately.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Stand Alone
2. The Bards
3. The Chair of the Sovereign
4. Hostile Alliance
5. Battle of Alclud Ford
6. Cad Goddey
7. Gwydion
8. Dead Song
9. Steed Song
10. Ale Mead and Wine
11. A Battle
12. Plaeu Yr Reifft
13. Hammer of the Gods
14. A Roda
Lineup:
Pedro Dias – Vocals
Miguel Kaveirinha – Guitars
Marta Brissos – Drums
Bruno Ezz – Bass
Daniel Cesar – Keyboards
Record Label: Art Gates Records
     


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