Kivimetsan Druidi - Shadowheart

Kivimetsan druidi - Shadowheart – 3/5

If you hadn’t yet noticed, this special comes with something of a folk theme. Purely by accident I might add, simply that I uncovered a number of female fronted folk bands and decided to run with it.

Here we have a band that for all its brilliance is frequently flawed. One that has you whisked off to a dream world, filled with atmospheric symphonies, beautiful guitar riffs and operatic vocals and then abruptly, harshly drags you back into a more aggressive territory. Whilst usually I’m all for as much variety as possible, here it simply doesn’t work; the way they’ve worked it has a habit of destroying the build up done previous to it and requires them to start from scratch, and right before they reach a climactic point of folk ecstasy, the process repeats itself.

This sounds like two bands mixed into one. On one hand we have mid-ranged growls, punchy synth work, frequent blast beating and fast paced aggressive guitar work. On the other, frequent use of acoustic guitar, soaring choral melodies and a wonderfully atmospheric use of keyboards, either of these styles on their own would make for interesting listening.

The female vocals, where utilised at their best, assist in providing a clean atmosphere, working well with the backing to produce a tone with a touch of gothic/symphonic about it, but at their worst they feel out of place, an angelic voice in what essentially feels a bit like a melodeath track, and after a while become rather grating and irritating. Much the same can be said for the growls, whilst nothing special, growls in a track reminiscent of symphonic/rock simply feels odd.

The guitars feel rather uninspired, the aggressive pieces often consisting of a fairly generic sounding riff with a lot of distortion, and the acoustic all too infrequently presenting us with something memorable. The keyboards, however, do an excellent job of creating a slow melodic tone in the slower sections, and go a long way in creating one of the albums highlights, the ballad ‘tiarnach,’ assisted by enchanting violin work. Even in the more aggressive pieces they are ever present, assisting the atmosphere whilst never making themselves overly apparent, subtly creating a tone to work with, and definitely constitute a highlight of the album.

To call this a mixed bag would be an understatement; for every flash of genius is something sounding so out of place it detracts from the end result. They seem to have a number of idea’s to work with, but one can’t help but wish they’d have expanded on them, seen them through to fruition. An intriguing debut, and one that shows promise, but ultimately needs work.

Highlights: Blacksmith, The Tyrant, Tiarnach