Munruthel - CREEDamage
Svarga Music
Symphonic Folk Metal
11 songs (59'52")
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I need to begin this review with a mild apology statement, saying that if you got introduced to the Ukrainian band-project Munruthel beginning with my review of The Dark Saga album I might have misled you. Less of a full album and more of a computer game soundtrack, written with the specific purpose in mind, The Dark Saga is not a true representation of where Munruthel is these days. CREEDamage, as opposed to The Dark Saga, is a full stand-alone album, worthy both of judgment and admiration. Beginning with Epoch of Aquarius Vladislav Redkin, one of the best and most well-known Ukrainian drummers, is now taking the project to further exploration of symphonic metal heights without losing the site of Munruthel folk roots. In the process he firmly established himself in my eyes as a talented up-and-coming composer and took my breath away.

My positive vibe for the album was immediate. As soon as the instrumental opener Ardent Dance of War’s God started playing, there was no sense of that artificial thin synthetic feeling of The Dark Saga. Titanic, orchestral, with thundering drums and powerful horns, Ardent Dance of War’s God ratchets up the autoclave-like pressure releasing itself into Rolls of Thunder into Fiery Skies. Another tribal beginning, and then you know that Ukrainian Therion is born. Honestly, I don’t think I have heard an album, at least not in the recent past, where guitar riffs, rich orchestration and authentic Ukrainian feeling were in such perfect harmony. Certainly not from any band originating from the country I call my Motherland. Rolls of Thunder into Fiery Skies, the title track, The Mown Dawns Lie On The Ground and The Age of Heroes combine that pumping fist pride and genuine earthy dreamy folk-pagan feeling. At the same time, the album’s pride does not come off as corny, trite or nasty, and to create atmosphere Munruthel does not have to resort to obvious played-out cheapened melodies. There is a broad range to this album, from more extreme, blackened symphonic Carpathians’ Shield to most folksy The Mown Dawns Lie On The Ground, where Masha “Scream” Arhipova of Arkona guest-stars in softer than usual role. At either end of this broad musical range orchestration finishes off the overall picture masterfully, perfectly blending the violin into the tight rhythmic riffs of Carpathians’ Shield or sopilka sounds into the soaring melodies and lazy blast of The Eyes of Abyss.

Vocally, Munruthel covers the range from beastly, counterpointing dreamy Masha on Rolls of Thunder into Fiery Skies, to subliminal on the title track. I don’t think a vocal approach repeats from track to track, adding to intrigue and unexpectedness. And where Munruthel thinks he can’t cover it himself, on the bottom-end punched up cover of Bathory’s The Lake, he invites Wulfstan (Forefather) to do it. (It must take guts to cover one of Bathory’s better tracks). Lyrically, CREEDamage is both wistful and philosophic. Where The Age of Heroes reminisces about the times (and the people) gone by, the title track enters into a pagan vs missionary discussion, reaffirming my own point of view that as long one leads an honest life it does not matter which God (or no God at all) they preach. Album’s instrumentals, the album’s bookends, have zero artificial cartoonish feeling about them. In a true good instrumental fashion they do not appear as songs to which someone simply forgot to write the lyrics for. They have individual expressions of their own. I already attempted to describe Ardent Dance of War’s Good for you. From the closing trilogy Krada II: The Surya is ominous, Krada III: The Fire is dramatic and uneasy, while Krada I: The Blood develops into a stunning full-bodied anthem after beginning in a string chamber realm. If there was one small drawback with the album, its clickety (at times anyway) drum sound takes a little bit of getting used to, but after a listen or two through, you wouldn’t even know the feeling.

Munruthel’s talent on display in CREEDamage is immense and, most importantly, it has been properly sorted out. It makes me proud to know Ukraine is capable of inspiring and giving birth to such music.

Killing Songs :
Ardent Dance of War’s God, Rolls of Thunder from Fiery Skies, CREEDamage, The Mown Dawns Lie On The Ground, The Age of Heroes, Krada I: The Blood
Alex quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Munruthel that we have reviewed:
Munruthel - The Dark Saga reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
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