Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hordak - Padre (2016)

Though their name was taken from a famous villain in the He-Man universe, these Spaniards have been since crafting a style of Celtic influenced pagan metal that they would consider very close to the Viking scenes of Scandinavia. Pagan metal has it's way of spreading throughout the world, as some people just seem to prefer the ancient archetypes to the more modern ideal and that's perfectly fine with me. Utilizing many of the same folk-influenced structures that bands like Moonsorrow, Einherjar, Enslaved, Forefather Helrunar and many others have adapted into their music, this five-piece is definitely blazing a trail for the scene in their respective country. I wouldn't have expected to hear much metal in this style from Spain, but things have a way of changing greatly with the passing of time. Padre is by no means the band's first album either, as they've been active since 2002 and have released three records prior to this one. I can't say much for those as I've apparently been hiding under a rock, but as far as Padre is concerned, this is definitely a great interpretation of the genre. The production might be slightly rough, but the acoustics shine rather brightly in the mix and definitely allow some light to come through in the midst of what can sound rather dark and frostbitten. The band is composed of a whopping three guitarists, which consist of Winter (ex-Folkearth), Autumn who also performs the rasps (Last Deception, ex-Folkearth) and L. Mansilla (Last Deception, Gotteron.) We also have A. Mansilla on bass (Frozen Dawn, all the other bands that these guys play in, ex-Folkearth) as well as J. Sierra on drums (Last Deception, ex-Folkearth, ex-Dawn Of Tears) rounding out the act. As you can see, many of these guys play in other bands together, so that might be another reason for the long wait, as they were simply working in other acts. That being said, this lineup hasn't changed since 2011's Under The Sign Of Wilderness, so if you enjoyed that one, you're hearing the same guys go at it once again. That being said, it's been a five-year gap in between this record and the last, so fans should definitely though that from what I've heard here, that time spent patiently waiting was not in vain.

Aside from the frostbitten folk metal tremolos, blazing drums and cheery acoustics, we also have some absolutely killer and somewhat out of place guitar solo efforts. As there are three guitarists, this makes a lot of sense, and I do feel that in most heavy metal acts a great solo can really bring out the best in your work. They've got the formula down as you'll hear here, and it sounds like a lot of work went into this composition. Perhaps “Sol” kind of sits there as a break from all the heaviness, but aside from that lighter number the band basically perform a very traditional form of black/Viking metal that truly embraces the black metal side of the performance. Sometimes the raspy scowls are accented to bring an even fiercer tone to them, which reminds me heavily of Bathory and even classic Burzum. You also have these rock n' roll solos in place that as I've said, spice things up a bit and really show that these guys are in love with traditional heavy metal just as much as classic blackened folk metal. I don't know about you, but tacking on a wonderful solo effort like the one they've used on “Eklepsis – Devourer Of Gods” and “Soaring” for example, are just the kinds of things that really get me interested in a band. I love leads, I love melodies, but I love to hear when bands really go out there and add such an uncommon element to the genre as of late in there, which is what the listener gets here. I should also add that Sig Ar Tyr did the same thing with their latest album Northern, which basically says to me that more bands are finding interest in spicing up their classic Viking anthems with a little bit of old school heavy metal. It doesn't hurt, and truly manages to make what already comes off as a great album, even better. When you hear the acoustic backed narration from guest Wulfstan on “Bloodline Of The Wolves” you'll get even more into the spirit of the material. In addition to the metallic instruments, we also will hear familiar bagpipes and flutes, truly bringing what I'd consider a real Viking metal experience form a place that you might not have expected. The Spanish metal scene can truly shine with an act like Hordak, who despite their rather odd moniker, show that they can successfully craft a brilliant and almost uplifting style of Viking battle anthems that I surely couldn't forget. Maybe you're not a fan of all the solos, but I'd simply have it no other way. If these guys are going to continue to beef up the genre in such a memorable style as they have here, then I'd wish them only the best of luck (which I'd wish them anyway) and hopefully we can hear an even more bombastic effort next time. Even though to be honest, this record is plenty good enough that they can rest on their laurels for a bit before rolling out another one, or work on other material in the numerous other acts in which they comprise. In other words, you've done a great job, men! Now you can go out there and kick some ass live before jumping back into what I'm sure will be great albums in other styles of heavy metal music. If you love the sound of classic Viking metal, you really can't go wrong with this one. I don't review the genre much, but seldom do I get an approach as noteworthy as this one. Go out and get it, it's been out for a while now!

(10 Tracks, 49:00)


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