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Metaklapa - The Choir Of Beasts

The Choir Of Beasts
by Matt Bozenda at 29 April 2022, 10:37 PM

The tribute album has a tendency to be a divisive and delicate situation for the metal community. On the one hand, for newer fans they can be an access point to old legends by way of contemporary bands covering old songs. Then there’s the section of people who put tribute albums in the same category as greatest hits albums, and they don’t mean that in a good way. Certainly it’s a niche in the music business which is always ready for filling, and for some bands, paying tribute is the way they do business.

And business is looking good for Croatia’s own METAKLAPA, a portmanteau of ‘Metal’ and ‘Klapa’. The latter term is a form of a cappella native to the Dalmatia region of Croatia, which must essentially make the IRON MAIDEN tribute “The Choir Of Beasts” one of the few examples of instrument-less Folk Metal in the Great Catalog. Don’t get yourself thinking of mustachioed chaps singing at a tourist trap though, because this is definitely not your great-grandpa’s a cappella.

The majority of Metal Temple’s patrons will be quite familiar with the body of work in play here. And really, what more can be said about IRON MAIDEN or the impact they’ve had? The proof is in the pudding, and “The Choir Of Beasts” has plenty to go around. It’s quite amazing, actually, how without employing a single electrified string or percussive implement, METAKLAPA is able to deliver goosebump-inducing metal.

Adding to the amazement is how the band manages to avoid a formulaic approach despite having seemingly so few tools at their disposal. This is no straightforward cover session either; some songs, like “The Wicker Man” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” are heavy with the a cappella instrumentation, and others, such as “Flight Of Icarus” for example, are a little less done up. This makes some of the tracks much closer to the originals than others.

Goosebumps and maybe the occasional spine-chill aside, however, you won’t get the same sort of satisfaction from “The Choir Of Beasts” that you got from the original songs, to say nothing of the albums they came from. The sedate tempo will struggle to get the adrenaline going, or indeed any of your brain chemicals. If you don’t like your Metal with a gentle hand, you may want to avoid this one.

That said, there’s still something eminently satisfying about what METAKLAPA has done here. Flaws aside, “The Choir Of Beasts” works on more than the novelty level of being a strange bird. This critic must wonder how many more Gregortian-tinged a cappella Folk Metal bands will ever come down the review pipeline, and if METAKLAPA is the only one, will their next album be a new slate of IRON MAIDEN songs or will they turn their dragonborn voices to another metal legend? Hopefully time does not guard this mystery for long.

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Aces High
2. Wasted Years
3. Flight Of Icarus
4. Blood Brothers
5. Caught Somewhere In Time
6. The Wicker Man
7. Hallowed Be Thy Name
8. Brave New World
9. The Evil That Men Do
10. Fear Of The Dark
Davor Capkovic - tenor
Matej Pavlic - tenor
Boris Capkovic - baritone
Tonko Podrug - baritone
Dino Demicheli - bass
Ante Kovacevic - bass
Record Label: NoCut Entertainment


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