Welicoruss - Siberian Heathen Horde
El Puerto Records
Symphonic Black Metal
9 songs (47'11")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

There is a little bit of irony that Welicoruss (meaning Great Russian, as the Rus tribe wanted to be called) was born in the Russian town of Novosibirsk, and the title of the latest album speaks of Siberia as well, yet Welicoruss is making its biggest stride having relocated to Czech Republic. Thus Welicoruss is now bringing their symphonic black metal not from the coldest depth of Siberia, but from the comforts and history and excellent sound studios of Prague. At this point I will stop being ironic and sarcastic and will report instead specifically on Siberian Heathen Horde, which left a good impression on me.

Their face paint and costumes being the crossover between Vikings and Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands TV series, Welicoruss music is an amalgamation of symphonic black, gothic and pagan metal, with a dash of classical music sprinkled in. Imagine less forceful Dimmu Borgir, any of the myriad of Napalm Records gothic bands plus Arkona influences, add symphonic orchestration and slick production - this is what Siberian Heathen Horde sounds like. Title track may start martial and Wagnerian, but will crush into piano here and there. Metaphysical and Spellcaster open up with meditation and hypnosis, but then proceed to slamming symphonic modernity (Metaphysical) or rousing and dense epic ride (Spellcaster). Keyboards and orchestration are an important part of the band’s sound, be it the macabre character in Path of Seductions or the operatic drama in the opening of Hymn of Lost Souls or instrumental interlude Crossroad of Life. Welicoruss whip up quick blastbeat maelstroms (Spellcaster), or revert to expansive rolling double bass (Prophecy), or set the stage with pagan beat and mysterious Arkona-like aura (Tree of Nations) only to close up with a melody reminding me of Russian famous art rock band Nautilus Pompilius. Oscillating between styles, rhythms and moods (Hymn of Lost Souls), it is noteworthy that Siberian Heathen Horde actually sounds cohesive and not all over the place or too eclectic. Welicoruss vocals, especially harsh ones, are not their strong convincing point, and clean vocals also may sound a little moany, but they avoid artificial ugly creature shrieks or operatic ladies, which may have cheapened everything while making it 100% cheesy. I hear intensity, hurting pain and personal attitude in Spellcaster, title track, Hymn of Lost Souls and Prophecy, and that is all I need.

Definitely not recommended for the fans of raw, stripped down, “authentic” or raw meat only black metal, Siberian Heathen Horde is a quality album, with excellent sound and profound melodies, which will comfortably straddle the dividing line between many genres I have mentioned at the beginning of this review. Thus, while definitely not “pure”, the album is actually very marketable. You have been warned that black in Welicoruss means something totally different it means for the likes of, say, Tsjuder. Siberian Heathen Horde is not meant to hurt, but rather to entice and mesmerize.

Killing Songs :
Spellcaster, Tree of Nations, Hymn of Lost Souls
Alex quoted 80 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Tue May 19, 2020 3:16 pm
View and Post comments