Graveland - Carpathian Wolves
Eternal Devils
Black Metal
8 songs (47:06)
Release year: 1994
Reviewed by Mountainman
Archive review

Graveland’s first album would be one of the sparse black metal moments in one of underground black metal’s most pioneering acts, with later albums such as Creed of Iron venturing into more of a Viking/Pagan metal sound. The resulting sound is an album not easily compared with the latter albums, relegating it to more of an oddity in Darken’s lengthy back catalogue excluding his demos which share some of the black metal sound. Carpathian Wolves’ influence can even clearly be heard as in Barbarism Returns in newer bands, with the more epic drawn out riffs clearly influencing latter acts such as Thyrfing and Kawir. For the many flaws such as Capricornus’ offkey drumming and the thin production, the album hints to a long and healthy career of epic pagan metal hearkening to the glory of battle and ancient Pre-Christian Europe.

After the howl of wolves in the eponymous intro a heavier riff in Barbarism Returns hints towards an obvious Bathory influence, as the main riff is disguised in a fog of distortion and steady snare taps reminiscent of Thyrfing’s self-titled. Impaler of Wallachia begins with an awkwardly clangy drum performance on the part of Capricornus, with the main riff being the most distinctive part of the song as it flatlines in the middle no part due to the thin production. Witches Holocaust being a full eight minutes of haunting riffs that recall a Christian purging of what they deem “heretics” as the synth echoes eerily amid the constant snare taps and bursts of speed. The song itself is one of the stronger atmospheric moments on the album, as the synth chimes in for the final time and Capricornus’ endeavors one last volley imitating the colder faster moments of Transilvanian Hunger from 6:35 to the last bit of the song.

The longer tracks such as Witch’s Holocaust are a love/hate affair, as there are moments where the thin tremolo picking will lose the listener. I personally don’t mind the longer moments like At the Pagan Samhain night, begins with an almost militaristic drum beat but the song itself is a slower pace entirely reliant on the droning tremolo melody. One can clearly imagine the silver light of the moon casting its veils through the pine in Transylvania, Darken’s vocals make a few enunciations in the song and on the album its largely a monotone higher rasp. Unpunished Herd is one of the weaker moments on the album, as the synth makes a very necessary cameo of what would be a ho-hum mess of snare smacks and a weaker main riff.

Apart from some issues with tedium in Unpunished Herd and some choppy riffing in Into the War, the album is an admirable effort and one of the helmsman of black metal from Eastern Europe. Graveland would later go on to take a strong influence from the fathers of Viking metal Bathory, and as Creed of Iron is still on my purchase list this band has as always been incredibly consistent in quality. Much like any starting effort from a band it bears only a tidbit of semblance to latter efforts, and for those that are highly situated in Viking metal preference this album may not appease you. For fans of early black metal this comes recommended in spite of the bad drum performance and thin production.

Killing Songs :
Barbarism Returns, Impaler of Wallachia, At the Pagan Samhain Night
Mountainman quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Graveland that we have reviewed:
Graveland - Hour of Ragnarok reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Graveland - Cold Winter Blades reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Graveland - Spears Of Heaven reviewed by Goat and quoted 67 / 100
Graveland - Dawn of Iron Blades reviewed by Daniel and quoted 83 / 100
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