Temnozor - Folkstorm of the Azure Nights
Folk/Black Metal
7 songs (44:40)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review
Beginning with a long string of melodic highs, Temnozor take you aboard a majestic journey that you are unlikely to soon forget. Featuring the most melodic, heartfelt vocals, scintillating synth leads and just enough rhythm to call it Black Metal, the beauty begins within.

With sounds and vibes echoing the most ancient days of the civilized Russia, long before Ivan the Terrible, the Romanov’s, or the Communist Politburo, Temnozor on Folkstorm of the Azure Nights treat us to a primitive, bestial portrait of a once wild land. The tonality and organization wander about the lands like a wayward traveler, presenting the feeling of lush coniferous forests, snow falling early in North, and the mighty rush of the Volga, unsettled, never traversed. Temnozor is an ancient Russian word for the twilight just before dawn. If you have ever stayed up all night drinking you will know what I am talking about. The political affiliations of the band are under dispute, as while these lyrics are seemingly in another language and their music does not immediately reflect NS beliefs, they have shown previous affiliation with the Pagan Front.

Let us all just forget politics for this moment and enjoy the sheer magnificence of Folkstorm… Metalreviews has political diversity in the forum. There are those that support Socialist agendas and there are those like myself that wish to eradicate such politics from the planet, but regardless of any bands political affiliation, the music itself seems to be fueled by their beliefs themselves. Think of all of these namely Russian and Ukrainian bands: Drudkh, Hate Forest, Temnozor, Kroda, Nokturnal Mortum, Dub Buk, Walknut, Astrofaes, Blood of Kingu, etc. etc. All of these bands, some reviewed on MR, having NS ties or NS affiliated members. That list is like an all star team of the current wave of Black Metal. What if their vehement nationalism and belief in the ancient culture and wonder of their people is what gives them the drive to compose such incredible music? That really is not the point, what we have here is a seemingly apolitical Russian Folkloric Black Metal album that is most excellent, so I hope that we can discuss the music, and not the politics, of Temnozor and this beautiful album laid before us. What we have here is nothing short of a melodic miracle. Wood flutes, synthesizers, operatic vocals, and just enough rawness to deem it Black, Temnozor wows me with their ability to ensnare me with the tiniest note from a classical guitar, a simple lead of acoustic brilliance, is all I need. This is especially incredible given the fact that I just finished a Marduk review.

Folkstorm of the Azure Nights is one of the softest albums in my collection that I can still call Black Metal. For me, it does not matter how long a song is or how long it takes for these slow beginnings to turn to their eventual climactic magnificence. Each moment is just that good. It is a record I can wake to, sleep to, or play on the way to rugby, and my girlfriend will not complain. Believe me, that is a plus.

Beginning with the masterful title track, the quarter notes of operatic splendor lead the way into an ethnic percussive moment followed by a wispy female vocalism. This immediately brings forth grandiose visions of a lush and untouched Russia, when the Temnozor would be visible from every which direction, Moscow to Kamchatka. Much like the beauty of dawn, the sunsets and the uncharted tundra of the Russian sub-continent, Folkstorm of the Azure Nights does just that. It invokes a natural feeling to an otherwise industrious and military oriented nation.

Some forumites have complained that Temnozor is too “light.” I for one enjoy the heavy, distorted, violent side of Black Metal as much as anyone, but of all the lengthy, slow developing albums I own, Folkstorm of the Azure Nights is right along with Forgotten Legends as the one record I could play at any time and feel right at home with the beautiful melodies, booming vocals, and atmospheric yet calculated meanderings. Each moment in this album freezes in time like that of the Siberian permafrost. Never dull, never worn, the album brings a new dimension with seemingly every repetitive listen. I knew as soon as I spun the first title track when I got this in the mail that I stumbled upon brilliance, and about 30 spins in I cannot say that it has worn, but has only enhanced its way, building a new and prosperous role in my collection.

It is truly a shame that their political views get in the way of a proper exposure along with other bands I would love to review on this site, but can we really believe that without these deep rooted nationalistic views they would be able to created such wonderful indigenous rhythmic opuses? The title track itself is worthy of a 90+ score, but there is so much more to behold. The next track is a break from the flutes and clean vocals. The buzz of ravens peak over a chorus heavy guitar tone with rumbling double bass and nicely worked snare. Blast beats then cascade into the mix behind another verse of harsh Russian vocals. This song is called Uranakrik and presents a nice break from the atmosphere. With the tones of the guitar, loaded with reverb and chorus, you can still get that typical Slavic NS vibe that so many bands have popularized. To me, bands like Temnozor and Nokturnal Mortum capture the perfect medium between beauty and brutality. A perfect example would be the title track from The Voice of Steel, an album that I had to order from them to get a hold of. The song is melodic and booming before the double bass and blast beats spend about a minute and a half tearing your head off before the eventual introduction of wood flutes and other localized instruments. This central point is exactly what I speak of when I discuss my marvel with these bands.

This album is my one and only experience with Temnozor but not likely my last. The album is not a load of blast beats and shredding solos, but it has the atmosphere that it seeks, and it is clear that they have a unique sound, one that is not to be trifled with or enhanced in any way. They are what they are, and they do it well.

Killing Songs :
Folkstorm of the Azure Nights, When the Lazure Skies Tear the Hearts Apart
Tony quoted 87 / 100
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