Barad Guldur - Frammenti Di Oscurita

Formed in the end of 2015 from Ivan Nieddu on vocals and Eliana Gheza on bagpipes, Barad Guldur from Italy dwell in the genre of folk metal with references to the European power scene and operatic/avant-garde orchestrations. Barad Guldur is a 9-piece band which apart from the standard rock orchestra instruments like guitars, bass and drums, incorporate in their sound weird and unusual instruments like the aforementioned bagpipes, whistle, violin, and hurdy-gurdy!

The use of acoustic guitars and bagpipes in the opening of 'La Storia Comincio' (The Story I begin) create a nereid, fairytale Northern atmosphere with references to bands like Pazuzu and celtic music. Their typical heavy metal riffs create an excellent canvas for the bagpipes. The lead part of the song reminded me of (late) Iron Maiden works and European power metal bands like Helloween and Grave Digger. Bands like Skyclad and Sabbat (UK) are discreetly present.

Barad Guldur use their mother language to create furthermore diversity. The common roots of Italian language and Latin language make the final sound of Barad Guldur more obscure, chthonic and dark. In songs like "Canso De Bouye" there are some backing vocals of early black metal origin (Beherit, Necromantia, Equimanthorn) leading to an avant-garde result.

'Sarneghera' is a standout track. The melodies used here are sweet and travel your thought to other dimensions. The heavy riffing and drums do a great job filling the song where necessary. The clean vocals are warrior/epic and filled with victorious stories narrated after a middle ages war. The song sets the imagination free to think of castles and kings. The solo starts with a violin soloing over a decent bridge of guitar breaks evolving to an excellent guitar lead for which Dave Murray or Adrian Smith would surely have been proud. The solo continues with a fabulous bagpipes break and a fabulous violin part. A great part of the endless Italian tradition is summarized in this song.

On the first part of 'Nella Notte Piu Nera' female vocals take the leading role. The steady acoustic guitar performance with the companion of bagpipes enhance the celtic atmosphere. After the first half of the song, male vocals, especially when combined in double vocal lines with the female vocals, sound as if coming from other dimensions yet they are gorgeously familiar.

'La Gratacornia' is another standout track honoring the famous Italian opera. Barad Guldur create a ritualistic avant garde anthem. The vocals are amazing and have strength and power. The song is a vocal contest that sometimes brings to mind religious ceremonies and others the opera or an experimental theatrical act. Therion would have been proud to had had this song in one of their late releases.

'Per Chi Ela La Nocc?' is an excellent 6 minute journey. The slow/doom riffs dressed the sound of the bagpipes sound absolutely fantastic. The vocals honor the European folk heritage with an operatic style that still has the one eye stuck to the European power metal. The choral vocals enhance the experience and the lead violin sounds absolutely amazing and has a place in Barad Guldur's music. It is a lead part that could have been in a classical record! Obscure whispering vocals are haunting and the operatic orchestration would have made late Therion once again proud

'Senza Paura' is the most "metal" song of the album. It starts off with a nice riff and the bagpipes supported by an excellent rolling drumming. The rhythm gets faster up to power/thrash levels and some growls do appear to interrupt the clean singing. In a sense, this song brought to my mind a weird version of Cradle of Filth's latest (after 2010 and "Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa") works. I appreciate the diversity Barad Guldur create and at the same time keep their own music character. Maybe it is because the drums are faster in this song that it's the first time in the whole album I noticed that I would love them drums to have a bit more of a "living" sound. They are a leading instrument in Barad Guldur and as such every detail is important.

The whole "Frammenti Di Oscurita" (Fragments Of Darkness) album is exactly what the title implies: a dark journey to our inner connection with the unearthly, with our roots and heritage but also with what is out of this world. It is aimed at open-minded listeners who can appreciate the unique avant-garde style Barad Guldur have conquered with their debut album and first ever release. Their gloomy tales of distant heroic legends and medieval black wizards who lived in dark towers (maybe even shared the same castle) on the top of the highest mountains are full of horror and fantasy, but always remain optimistic for a brighter future. I think Barad Guldur's future will also be brighter because they are great musicians and they have a very interesting concept.


1. La Storia Cominciò
2. Canso De Bouye
3. Sarneghera
4. Poininos
5. Nella Notte Più Nera
6. Asfaladugu
7. La Gratacòrnia
8. Per Chi Éla La Nòcc?
9. Senza Paura
10. Frammento Di Oscurità
11. Lodar I Lais Ben Laer Sul

Self released
Reviewer: Manos Michaelides
Nov 25, 2019

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