Friday, October 22, 2010
Holy Blood are back with what I perceive is their best offering to date. Shining Sun is chock full of engaging folk inspired metal. The songs are catchy and melodic with both male and female vocals. It should be mentioned that this is almost a completely different Holy Blood lineup then the one who recorded their previous releases. Only vocalist Fedor Buzilevich remains and he has assembled a wonderful collection of musicians.
On previous releases I noticed some folk influences but at times I felt they were obscured by the more extreme elements brought to bear. That is not the case on Shining Sun. A much more polished and accessible sound is evident here. There are still elements of extreme metal, primarily the vocals which still carry a hint of black metal stylings. However that element is NOT the dominant genre here.
The strong element of non ‘metal’ instruments is fantastic. The block fluta, valinca and buzka are mixed in with lofty vocal harmonies and chants. At times operatic vocals used and bagpipes as well. However the metal is still there, but this album should appeal to anyone who enjoys folk metal, symphonic and operatic styles of metal. The melodies are wonderful. This is the type of music that creates a vision in one’s imagination that you want to revisit again and again.
On the production front the instruments are mixed well and some fantastic tones are recorded here. The melodic guitar parts add that crunch and drive but do take a bit of back seat to the vocal and the folk instruments. However that just makes this album more appealing, Holy Blood have really created a special album here.
I wasn’t 100% sure if this album would appeal to me, because Waves are Dancing really didn’t do it for me. However after listening to Shining Sun my interest is peaked to go revisit their previous albums, but I have a feeling they won’t do justice to this particular release.
Shining Sun is a masterpiece in the folk metal genre. What else can I say? The vocals are still in Ukrainian/Russian but they aren’t the distraction I thought they would be. The album has a great booklet with a complete English translation of all the lyrics. Holy Blood even included photos of the lineup that started the album and the one who finished it. If that wasn’t enough the video for the song Shining Sun is included on the CD as well.
A fantastic album of heavy metal goodness awaits anyone who wants a little variety with their metal. Not a mellowing but a different atmosphere. Holy Blood’s Shining Sun is an amazing release that deserves your attention. Enjoy!