Album: Shrine of the Ancient Gods
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Once again the good fellows at The Folk Metal Grove on Facebook provided me with a recommendation of an album to check out and review. This time their suggestion was this unsigned number, Shrine of the Ancient Gods by Iahsari. Iahsari are a Georgian metal band (the country, not the British hisorical period), whose lyrics have influence from mythology, Georgian culture and history, to name a few topics.
The album opens with Daisi, there are strings and drums which build up the tension. A choir is added to the build up, and there is a melody from pipes. There is a general buildup of instruments and tribal beats. It’s like part of a soundtrack for a fantasy RPG, which I really like.
Unbowed (Blood of Colchis) has an almost oriental feel to the music at the start of this track. There are operatic vocals from Mariam. The female vocals are really powerful, with the non-traditional metal instruments following the same vocal melody. The melodies are quite quick and dramatic. We hear dual guitars and some synth.
Sirenum Scopuli starts with what sound like acapella Gregorian chants. The strings break through in the mix, which adds a mystery and spirituality to the sound. The female vocals are a lot slower here, and they sound similar to the vocals of Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish). We also hear some harsh male vocals from Michael, and the piano and guitar seems to compete in the mix.
Shatilis Asulo (Maiden of Shatili) begins with tribal drums and pipes, it reminds me of nature. There are choral male vocals (which the song also ends on), pipe melodies which match vocals and guitars at various points throughout the song. There is a bit of back and forth between the synth and guitar, and there is also a little bit of falsetto in the male vocals. Any female vocals that might be hiding in the mix are not prevelant.
Gelino starts with guitar. It’s a lot slower, and more epic sounding, it does remind me a little of Katatonia. The female vocals are back and harmonised, and we also hear vocals harmonised with guitar. It has very much a more ballady feel with long instrumental sections. Wind Divine begins with the sounds of wind and rain, it almost sounds like a battle is going on in the distance. There is lots of percussion and a back and forth between the pipes and female vocals taking over the melody. The tempo and feeling of the song varies, almost like the wind varies between fast gusts and calmer breezes.
Sword’s Outcry begins with strings and guitar, with the addition of military style drums. The female and male vocals seem to fight for supremacy in this song. There again are dual guitar harmonies and the military drums finish off the track. The Dream begins with a gentle guitar strum and strings come in which add some drama. There is a pipe melody and the harsh male vocals are back with a vengeance. The track feels like a battle. There are pipes which come in under the vocals, and the guitar seem to fight for dominance; both playing before one takes over, and then the two are back again. Once again there are long instrumentals in this track.
The penultimate track, Old Man’s Grief, really does reflect the title. You can hear the grief in the track itself. The track has reflective and sad moments, where the female operatic vocals are dominant, and then the anger of the male vocals overtakes. This back and forth continues through the track. At one point the female and male vocals are together, as if all the emotions of grief are being felt at the same time. There are some blast beats in here for those that enjoy them. Again there are the long instrumentals.
The album ends with an Epilogue. A crackling fire, a calming from the grief of before, an acceptance. It ends the album with the same mystery and spirituality that the album begins with.
I must admit, this album is not completely my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the intricacies and the musicianship that has gone into this album. Personally, I find some of the tracks go on a little too long, but I see real potential in these guys to become a lot bigger, and to get signed. If you like your tracks with long instrumentals, then this is definitely an album you want to be checking out, and a band you want to be keeping an eye on in the future.
Iahsari Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iahsariofficial/
Buy Shrine of the Ancient Gods: https://iahsari.bandcamp.com/