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On disc: Adorned Brood

Noor - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Asgard (re-release) - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Hammerfeste - Mike Thompson - 5 stars


(Black Bards - 2010)

Adorned Brood are a long running folk metal band from Germany. Formed in 1993 the band has, with the release of Hammerfeste, released seven albums all of which have been quite well received. As a band that has been around since before the 'folk metal boom' of the last few years you would expect them to have their own style different to the majority of sound alike bands today. On Erdenkraft, the only other album from this band I have heard in its entirety, your assumption would have been correct. Does Hammerfeste continue this tradition?
The answer is, unfortunately, no. Adorned Brood have decided sound like every other wannabe folk metal band that has arisen over the past few years. Quite honestly if I had never heard Adorned Brood before I would have guessed that this was a new band of young hopefuls! Of course, a change to a more contemporary sound does not necessarily mean a bad album. So what does Hammerfeste actually offer?
Again I have to say unfortunately not a lot! This is an album which you can dance to, in true folk metal style, however its just nothing special at all. Even with the amount of new folk metal bands that are forming today there are a multitude that have released better albums than this. Even a lot of the debuts I've heard are better than this! Its not exceptionally bad, its just supremely average.
Flutes have always been a part of Adorned Broods sound and have always been part of the band's success. However, on this album they seem superfluous, unnecessary and completely out of place. There are very few parts during this album where the flutes add anything to music – the middle of Lead My Ship for example. In other parts the only thing it adds is a cringing look to my face. Contrast this with their earlier works where the flutes sound beautiful and add such depth to the music.
Additionally the vocals on Hammerfeste are primarily Markus Frost's poorly executed death metal growls. The old Adorned Brood had beautiful interplays of clean male and female vocals with occasional growls. Sorry Mr Frost, Johan Hegg you are not.
This album is choc full of standard, cliché battle metal songs and lyrics to match. Everything that was good about Adorned Brood has been stripped away and replaced by something nowhere as good. I really hope Adorned Brood realize their mistake and go back to what they did best. This new, more aggressive style does not suit them at all.
I feel quite sorry for Black Bards record label as every band I have reviewed recently I have criticized heavily. However, I stand by what I say. This album sounds like Adorned Brood have just listened to whatever is the latest 'flavor of the month' folk metal band and failed at writing a copycat album. If you absolutely have to hear every folk metal album released then you may find something to enjoy in this album. However, I can't honestly recommend this even to die-hard Adorned Brood fans.

5 stars

Mike Thompson



Asgard (re-release)
(Black Bards - 2009)

Adorned Brood are around for about 15 years and some of their early releases have already been re-released, now it's time to present their album Asgard in an overdone version. The album was originally released in 2000 and as it's a concept album the track list is the same, but they added 2 video clips (Adorned Brood & Storm) which were filmed at Celtic Rock festival 2009.
Intro is a folk rock instrumental which leads you into the album, but the Pagan metal outfit is showing their whole sound spectrum with A God Ruled Time. Fans of Adorned Brood will know the album anyway, others who just recently discovered the Grevenbroich-based band will be surprised by this concept album, coz they already had created their own sound. They blend heavy riffs and folk elements with flute and varying vocals. Bassist Frost is also doing the vocals which change between growls, black-ish screams and even clean vocals. A nice counterpart to his vocals is Ingeborg Anna's flute. A song like Black Beasts should satisfy every Pagan metal fan - and these song also give you an idea what Asgard is all about. The slow folk rock instrumental Twilight In Midgard shows them in a different way, at Pride Was My Desire they get heavy again and again Frost's vocals are accompanied by female vocals. A sonic roller coaster ride from beautiful emotional passages to heavy black-ish metal parts. The closer Die Wiederkehr also shows the bands trademarks and only differs through the use German lyrics. The melodic track is well chosen and will make you pick up the album again.
Lyrically the band tells the story of a father and a son with ups and downs. All but one songs are in English, just the closer Die Wiederkehr (means 'the return') is in German.
A very strong album which is essential for every Pagan metal fans CD collection! But even open-minded folk metal fans should check it out!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt



(Black Bards - 2008)

Adorned Brood are back with Noor and after the Intro they storm off into the album with Storm, a guitar-driven pagan metal tune. But they change speed and offer a mid-paced parts and fast passages. The sextet shows at the first song their spectrum from slow folk passages with Ingeborg Anna's flute to fast riff-based parts and symphonic elements in the mid-paced passages. On Am Grunde des Meeres they have a catchy hook, a party song which live will be celebrated by the fans. Sons Of The Damned has heavy riffs with scolding vocals, but also slow folk-ish passages with Ingeborg's vocals. After a break they present a beautiful piano part which is enriched by Ingeborg's flute. Later they speed up again, but the piano leads out of the song. The title track also has the Adorned Brood sound trademarks, then they storm off again with Adorned Brood, but again they present slower passages with an anthem-like touch. In my opinion the parts when Markus Frost and Ingeborg Anna join forces at the microphone are a strong point, coz these parts are catchy. Another asset is the flute with it's fragileness which builds a counter part to the heavy riffing of Thorsen Derks and Jan Jansohn. Schiff der Toten starts slowly, but becomes a mid-paced metal hymn. Perfect to sing along during a show... At Trollmelody Ingeborg takes over the microphone during the mid-tempo part, but gets support by Markus' who leaves her the spotlight. The closer Drunken Sailor is a traditional which Adorned Brood present in their own way. A party song which live will make hell break loose!
To get an idea about how Adorned Brood sound now, check out the title track Noor, Sons Of The Damned and Adorned Brood.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt

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