I think if you mentioned Kroda to most metal fans (assuming they have heard of them) they would have a pre-conceived idea of who/what they are, and they would probably all be wrong. Are they black metal? Yes at least in my opinion. Folk metal? At times I could say yes. Pagan Metal? Absolutely. Ambient? Yes that too. Trying to figure them out will make your head spin so let’s leave that aside for now. Let’s just say they are one of the most underappreciated and often mislabeled acts out there. With an incredible discography (7 full lengths plus numerous live releases, splits, EP’s and singles) they have now issued forth their 8th full length entitled “Selbstwelt” on their label Purity Through Fire. Featuring 8 tracks totaling 47 minutes, “Selbstwelt” I think would be the perfect gateway into Kroda that would allow a new listener to then delve back into the massive catalog. The album touches on all of their styles at some point to give anyone a sense of how well rounded they are. Trying to give you an act or two that would be a good reference point isn’t easy but I would think that a combination of Bathory, Dissection, Mayhem and classic Celtic Frost is a decent start along with a similar style and feel with other Ukrainian acts like Paganland and Nokturnal Mortum. With the exception of album opener “Credo” and the 5th track “Egodeath” the remaining tracks all top 7 plus minutes in length. The lyrics are in their native tongue but can be easily translated so you can see that subject matter is a combination of nature, mysticism and rebellion. There are 6 tracks with lyrics plus an instrumental (“Nordlanschaften”) and the album closes with an interesting choice of cover….the epic “Like Some Snow White Marble Eyes” from Summoning. While their style doesn’t really seem like it could work, in this case it does very well. From a folk metal perspective, you will certainly get a combination of key arrangements, strings, pipe/whistle, mouth harp, tambourine and the kangling (a human femur horn mostly used in Tibet) which adds some haunting horn like tones throughout. For those that are Kroda fans already, you already know what to expect and this is another jewel in their ever-growing amazing history. For those not as familiar and who have strayed away for one reason or another, I think “Selbstwelt” is overall a pretty accessible album with enough of the folk/instrumental/ambient parts to delve into which act as a nice introduction into the rest of their sound. A solid production help with an ethereal key sound, shredding yet slightly foggy guitar sound, tight percussion and a powerful vocal mix.
Throw your pre conceived notions aside and dive into the new Kroda……..you might just like what you hear. Great album. ( review from www.folk-metal.nl)