Strydegor – Back On Ancient Traces

Strydegor, from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Deutschland, titillate my musical tastes with the pagan-affected sounds of "Back On Ancient Traces". I listen to a bunch of metal of course, but have been drawn over the years to some sounds over others. Haven’t all real fans? But this band opens with a pounding drum into, followed by certain old –school musical elements, and is tethered to the rest of the album through the picked guitar segments that remind me more of Hagalaz’ Runedance or some other Europa pagan folk band. I think in the metal scene, I would compare this emotive opening closest to the sound of Borknagar, who by the way also have a new album called Universal. This sound is still quite distorted, but is not “heavy” per se. It is subtler. The band has even named its tracks after some of the old gods, Oden (some spell this O-d-i-n) and Valhall (a); and they have referenced the old demons and peoples such as Ragnarok and the Vikings.

On to the sound itself – I particularly enjoy the third track, “Wild Hunt Through Twelve Nights,” because it features a faster drum section that leads the track because it is the most pointed part of the construct as the snare parts really stick out. But, as a counterpoint, the vocals are lower and gowlier than the guitars. It’s like the bass and guitars fill the middle space while the pointed drum hits and the vocals cap off the track perfectly with the highs and lows. The texture is great. And if you fellow Brutalism followers have read many of my other reviews, you have read that I kind of obsess over musical texture. This type of thing continues over the course of the album. It changes a bit with the burner, “Ravens Over Midgard.” With this track the band plays no cards toward the slow and emotive. Instead, they explode with something mush faster from the start. This track actually reminds me a little of another Deutschegruppe, A.W.A.S., in that the sounds are heavy but also have a weird happiness underneath them. I can’t quite explain that. I know why A.W.A.S. would express happiness (Joy), but I am still trying to pick up on the fun element in this specific heavy track. The track still has normal dark growls over well distorted guitar riffs, but the rhythm of those guitars is made deliberate to highlight the notes behind the distortion. It works well because it downplays the normal “noise” of distortion and clarifies the musicality of good metal players. I think this may be part of the happiness of that track and throughout the album as a whole.

In conclusion, I say YES to the pagan affected sounds of Strydegor. It sounds like they are working together from start to finish and that no musician in the project is given undue attention anywhere. The big picture of "Back On Ancient Traces" is beautiful.

1. Dead Man's Shore
2. Night The Vikings Arrive
3. Wild Hunt Through Twelve Nights
4. Ragnarok
5. Oden's Wrath
6. Ravens Over Midgard
7. Baldur's Dreams
8. The Way To Valhall
9. Tears In The Storm

CCP Records
Reviewer: Jesse
Mar 24, 2010
Next review: Tekhton - Alluvial

Share this: