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Gwydion - Veteran

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 04 November 2013, 3:51 PM

I deduce that the road of becoming true veteran warriors is on the verge of its completion. Heaps of battles were fought, enemies killed and banished from their lands, and still the barbaric Vikings’ thirst is far from being contented, not enough conquest, blood, fulfilling the ancient heritage of archaic periods and satisfying prophecies of prominence, like a drug, the rage of war goes on. GWYDION, the clan of Viking warriors from Portugal, kind of funny to actually write this as I am certain that you guys know from where the ancient barbaric fighters originated, is yet again on the march. Their journey began nearly two decades ago in the mid period of the 90’s, blazing with swords and axes in the name of Folk / Pagan Metal, harsh with their extremity they strike once again, this time with “Veteran”, as an independent release. In relation to their local history, GWYDION generated a tale of the way of becoming a warrior, from youth till becoming a veteran fighter, enduring defeats and anguish but also tasting the tang of victory.

Three years ago I believe, I reviewed the band’s previous release, “Horn Triskelion”, back when they were signed to Trollzorn Records, and I have to admit that GWYDION moved forward from merely presenting themselves as the common Folk Metal band with blackened Pagan modulations. Throughout “Veteran” there are various ends to the band, musically sharing elements and characteristics of sullied Viking horde acts as ENSIFERUM, WOLFCHANT, FOLKEARTH and MITHOTYN. However, there are also the distinct Folkish augmentations, including the implementation of drunkard humorous moments, akin to KORPIKLAANI and FINNTROLL, and crisps and tips of loosen ends of IRON MAIDEN and MOTORHEAD. Therefore, as it turned out, “Veteran” is GWYDION’s composing in somewhat of a different approach, striving to find pathways that they haven’t focused on in the past. The songwriting contracted the Folkish atmospheric emphasized by decent keyboards’ display and fairylike acoustic guitar arrangements, yet the electric riffery, along with escalating rhythm section, proved the music’s range between haunting Black / Viking Metal (“Veteran”, “Fighting To The End”, “Trail to a New Land” and “Endurance Of The Mind”) to merits of definitive Symphonic Heavy / Power Metal (“Path Of Shadows”), rather developed makings. Frankly, there the lead fretwork wasn’t sufficient; it would have boosted the songs’ effect even more. However, it appeared to me that the storytelling, expressed by the dominant top notch growl vocal quality of Ruben Almeida, dictated the music’s course; therefore it was to some extent understandable why there wasn’t even a shred of a guitar solo or enough melodic highlights.

There were occasions where I felt that GWYDION lost themselves a bit like on “Brewed to Taste Like Glory”, which made me think of a weird pause for a drunkard song, especially with the cheap bathroom intro. I don’t believe that the humorous segment suits their image. Same can be foretold about “Years Of Peace”, yet it was a tad high rated due to its notable musicality. In addition, the other songs indicated that there is work to be done, but I believe that GWYDION are closer to the beginning of a golden era if hence pursing this path (leaving humor behind). Generally, “Veteran” is an enjoyable listener of extreme Folk Metal with various concepts to make things interesting, well produced and arranged.   

3 Star Rating

1. Timeless Conception
2. Womb Of Fire
3. Endurance Of The Mind
4. Math of War
5. Trail to a New Land
6. Brewed to Taste Like Glory
7. Years of Peace
8. Lured To Comfort
9. Fighting To The End
10. Path Of Shadows
11. Veteran
Ruben Almeida - Vocals
Daniel César - Keyboards
Miguel Kaveirinha - Lead Guitar
João Paulo - Rytmn Guitar
Bruno Henriques - Bass
Luis Abreu - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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