Baradj - Hunnar
Self Release
Post-black/folk metal
13 songs (55' 8")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy

Folk metal usually looks to recreate a piece of the past, reinterpreted as metal, but Baradj chooses an obscure folk tradition for theirs: The ancient Hun/Bulgar traditions of their native Tatarstan. Their second album, Hunnar, is a beautiful and thoughtful album with a light hand on the ethnic ambient sounds, resulting in a post-black vibe.

The production is shimmering and clean, with everything from Djonathan Lindaive's combination of harsh and clean vocals to the clever, asymmetric drumming on Dunay standing out clearly. Aleksey Lozhenov has switched from bass to guitar on this album, but the sound remains mostly the same. One trap they refuse to fall into is that of using gimmicks: No token ethnic instruments or spoken-word passages can be found here, the band instead using stock instruments to create their atmosphere. This is enhanced by the return of the "khiyals" from debut LP Nardughan: Pretty little two-minute instrumentals that break up the heavier sound of the main tracks.

Yet this is an album of many moods, and the tinkling sounds of the khiyals are matched by the hammering ferocity of Attila, definitely the heaviest song on the album. Bolgar Dalasy is a close second; although Lindaive's clean vocals are weird on the verses, the stomping chorus makes up for it. Despite Baradj's affinity for moody introspection and clean guitar tinkling, they have plenty of power left in reserve for the main tracks, but indulge in ferocity more rarely than one might wish. The band's post-black heritage and obsession with smooth production keep a lot of the main tracks toned down, but it still sounds great.


Killing Songs :
Attila, Bolgar Dalasy
Andy quoted 86 / 100
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