Release DetailsLABEL Pagan Records
RELEASED ON 10/1/2006
Na Polach Bitew (In The Battlefields)
I’m not sure what exactly defines ‘war metal’, only that you know it when you hear it; is it death metal that has war based lyrics such as Bolt Thrower, Battalion, Invasion and Jungle Rot? Or a form of more pagan based, blackened metal that simply rouses bloodlust and images of battlefields simply due to the atmosphere, feelings and riff structures such as Aeternus, Temnozor, Skyforger or Forest of Impaled?
Who knows? But either way, Poland’s veteran but relatively obscure act plays the latter on their fourth album, and they play it pretty well.
With song titles and lyrics in their native tongue (but thankfully with translations) Na Polach Bitew (On The Battlefields) delivers seven tracks of raging, gritty and vehement blackened pagan war metal (as if you couldn’t tell from the cover) as only the Eastern Europeans can deliver. It’s not great, and it’s a little rough, (but appropriate), but it’s an acceptable album that plies all the necessary elements into a furious and primal album, but not quite a must own.
The suitably gritty but not too thin guitar tone has ample menace while the tortured rasps and militaristic drums are nastier and more thrashy than the usual black metal affair. Still, though, none of the songs really got me ready to decapitate my neighbors with my Pakistan-made broadsword, despite their gusto and pace, and occasional marching refrain tracks like “Wojna Trwa (The War Rages On)”, “Dni Miecza (The Days Of The Sword)” and arguable standout “Krew Bohaterow (Blood Of The Heroes)” certainly bring the grimness though. However, the closing instrumental title track is a bit of a letdown in the intensity department after 40 or so minutes of pretty ravaging, if throwaway material.
There’s probably a reason North have remained in the shadows of their more recognized country mates and it’s just the ‘not quite elite material’, that while, pure and retrospectively feral, is still a bit forgettable.