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Gwydion - Thirteen Award winner

by Der Bärtige Mann Gareth Beams at 14 July 2018, 2:29 PM

GWYDION's journey started in 1995, a project founded by a group of friends that shared the same passion for metal and interest in Celtic culture. During these first stages of the band, three demos were presented to the Portuguese metal scene and dozens of gigs were performed throughout Portugal. In 2007, GWYDION prepared to record their first full-length album "Ynys Mön". Their originality and effort triggered the interest of the German label TROLLZORN, which offered a contract to release the album. With “Ynys Mön”, GWYDION finally started to draw some international attention and ultimately received an invitation to make a European tour in October 2008 with top bands TYR, HOLLENTHON, ALESTORM, and SVARTSOT: the RAGNAROK AASKEREIA'S TOUR.

During 2009, GWYDION played in nearly all major metal Portuguese metal festivals, delivering a distinct sound and attitude, and received continuously great feedback. At the end of the year, GWYDION finished the recordings and production of their second album "Horn Triskelion". "Horn Triskelion" truly represented fifteen years of accumulated experience and ideas. The readers of Portugal's biggest metal magazine LOUD magazine have chosen GWYDION to be the 2nd best band over 2010 + their album "Horn Triskelion" was considered the 3rd best album of 2010! In 2013, GWYDION presented "VETERAN". Fans will experience a slightly different musical-style, as the music is much more epic and "metal" than folk compared to the previous release. Since the beginning of the band, they had a very influential epic component in their songs, so naturally when they created "VETERAN", they decided to have a strong mixture of heavy metal riffs and epic/folk songs. "VETERAN" is a story of a warrior since his birth through his training, conquests and defeats with relevance to the History of Portugal.”

“793” starts with a pulsating burst on the guitar, with spoken vocals becoming more solid to meet the pace of the instruments into a well-balanced harmony. As the full sections come together the song seems a lot steadier, until Pedro D shouts more passionately, not an aggressive, aimless scream, but coordinated to the balance of the song. The Folk impact hots hard, its beautiful, the guitars hit hard similar to that of ENSIFERUM and FINNTROLL. The rhythm is poetically posed together to great harmony and melody. It’s a great way to start off the album. It is very easy to listen to, as it pulls you into closer, leaving you wanting more.

Touring with ALESTORM seems to have warned off when the feel of “Balverk Warfare” hits. The thrash-speed, chirpy folk sound is so very similar to the Pirate pioneers. A few cackles of laughter as involved, this is a bouncy song. The heads will be nodding along.  The screams add a further depth and the melodic rhythms from guitar distance the band from their Scottish brethren and show their own stance. The pace is electrifying and the song doesn’t seem to last. It’s ok, I repeated it, so can you.

The Melodic Folk vibes are overflowing once more as we uncover the “King's Last Breath”. The slow pace reminds me more of NORTHER, in the way of the vocals, the darken growls more like CRADLE OF FILTH’s own Lord Dani Filth as it slows the pace but keeps the melody going somehow. The Viking feel of TURISAS can be compared here to how the approach is, by no means a copy, but to a trained ear, you can hear it.  You can see how the Portuguese outfit are beloved in their motherland and how they are respected throughout Europe and beyond. It’s a darker song and it pays off with the mix of vocals, along with the beautiful guitar and ever-present drumming by Pedro C.

Back to the Melodic Folk/Viking with a very WINDIR intro approach to “Oh Land of Ours - Al Andaluz”. This wears off as the vocals kick in, the melody is slower than other songs, but holds it own very well. Its good to see the attention being pulled towards the beautiful harmonic outcomes flowing from the instrumentalists. The Screams return, but are used it short bursts, which goes well with the tempo, as it starts to build and hits more Melodic Death, similar to the NORTHER vibes of “King's Last Breath”. It’s a great mix as the band shows us exactly how in touch with format and sound they are. They are not a two-dimensional band by any means.

Voyage” has an almost siren song to greet us, the wavy rhythm, almost of the sea joins in nicely, as Pedro D hurtles another darken scream out. His prowess has increased throughout the album and is a great key in creating this masterpiece. The mix of clean and dark vocals blends in perfectly with the melody’s created by the instrumentalists. The keyboard has a much bigger role throughout with add a further dimension to a phenomenal album. The atmosphere around the song grows and builds by the second. Close your eyes and you may see an army on the seas, pirates, or any fantasy warfare. The song paints a fantastic picture.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Heathen (Instrumental)
2. 793
3. Balverk Warfare
4. Strength Remains
5. King's Last Breath
6. Revenge
7. Under Siege (Instrumental)
8. Shield Maiden's Cry
9. Thirteen Days
10. Oh Land of Ours - Al Andaluz
11. Voyage
12. Allah's Tagides
Daniel César - Keyboards
Miguel Kaveirinha - Guitars
João Paulo - Guitars
Bruno Ezz - Bass
Pedro Dias - Vocals
Pedro Correia - Drums
Record Label: Ultraje


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