Kroda - Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life...
Ancient Nation
Folk/Black Metal
9 songs (54:33)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review

To settle the debate over whether Kroda are NSBM or not I can safely say that the band members align themselves with Nazism, but the band itself is strictly Pagan. When listening to Ukrainian bands that proclaim their status as NSBM I come to wonder whether the Western/Northern European and American concept of National Socialism in Black Metal differs from that of the Ukrainian mindset. If you think about the songs you've heard from musicians such as Roman Saenko and company, you'll notice that many of these songs are about the events that lead to Ukrainian destruction of the Polish. And while I cannot speak for all of Ukraine, it seems as if perhaps the Ukrainian NSBM scene allies itself with Nazism due to their mutual hatred of Poles and their appreciation of the havoc Hitler and his Third Reich wreaked upon Poland.

Politics aside, (as they have no place in Heavy Metal) Kroda, a young and brilliant two piece band of savant musicians playing multiple instruments, prove that their creation here, Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life… is an astounding masterpiece just short of perfection. The lyrics are in Russian, and some instruments used are sounds that as an American I have never heard before. There can be a massive array of instruments used simultaneously. There are moments that go from hallowed chaos to sheer natural majesty, all in a seamless transition. There are so many instruments used, these two musicians are truly masters of their craft. To hone their skill on this many pieces is nothing short of incredible. You will see how each instrument is inserted and removed at the perfect times. Everything on this album falls together in perfect harmony, along with the rolling hills, clear and calm rivers, and evergreen forests that Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life... carry you away to. This is truly something different to behold, a beautiful album creating a scintillating atmosphere. What bewilders me the most is this question: How could two men who follow such a destructive ideology evoke such a natural and harrowing beauty?

Starting with a short but brilliant instrumental intro, the first real track breaks way with a bellowing war horn. I have never heard anything like this. It sounds like an elephant, and is as intimidating as any guitar, bass, or drum set I have ever heard. Following under this beastly wind instrument is a mouth harp, also known as a drymba (the boingy spring sounding thing that a lot of bands use in Folk Metal) and a great guitar riff to add to the madness. This intro gives way to blast beats and a verse. The drums played by Eisenslav are as heavy as anything I’ve ever heard in Black Metal. Eisenslav plays hard and fast, his blast beats full of vigor, and his double bass faster than a thundering herd of wild mustangs. The vocals are very ethereal. They have a significant echo effect and hover over the rest of the instruments like a dark cloud. These blast beats never grow boring. They simply act as a gateway to more incredible works. Долі Шляхи Is truly majestic, as the heaviness seems to become perpetual, a weaving, winding riff takes its place and is laid under an absolutely wonderful wooden flute solo. I ask myself, laughing: How does a flute player become a Nazi? Possibly the most tranquil, relaxing instrument in the world is being played by someone who wishes mass genocide upon several large castes of people. I may have said this before, but I really feel that Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life… could be the soundtrack to a few scenes in Lord of the Rings. Not that it’s all a violent, torrid paced album which would be fitting for great battles. Some of it could simply be music played in the background as the Hobbits traversed the woods.

The second track is a fast paced and exciting track reminding me of some of the Finnish Folk Metal that I’ve had many a drink to. Долі Шляхи is exactly this, an upbeat track with another great flute melody and great riffs to boot.

I guess my only complaint keeping Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life… is that the bass can at times be too strong. The only time this truly becomes a hassle to the overall mirth and wonder I feel with this album is when the blast beats enter the picture. The vocals, being the echoing and demonic styling they are combine with the heavy bass guitar and strong low end drum to create a powerful but sometimes overbearing bass sound. If not for that feature I truly believe that this album would be a true masterpiece to behold. Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life… is music that I have never heard before from a truly intriguing culture and society. Kroda bring together musical pieces of their people combined with virtuoso musicianship on each conventional metal instrument to create a beautiful, mind blowing, and harrowing environment. Each song presents a new take on Black Metal, each note a new door opened to a world of possibilities. You better believe I’ll be relentlessly hunting for the remainder of Kroda’s discography, and if any of it is half as good as this it will provide a true gem to my glorious and expanding collection.

Killing Songs :
Every note...
Tony quoted 97 / 100
Other albums by Kroda that we have reviewed:
Kroda - Schwarzpfad reviewed by Tony and quoted 92 / 100
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