Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Protokult-No Beer In Heaven


Calling Toronto, Ontario home (even if we are talking about a group with Polish, Irish, Russian and Czech members!) we have the band Protokult and their (horrific prophesy masquerading as an album title) release "No Beer In Heaven". Initially formed as a three-piece (Martin Drozd-Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer, Dawid Slowiak-Bass and Mike Matveev-Drums) and having had more than it's fair share of shake-ups (the ex-members list being a half-mile long and all!) this Canadian collective features the following musicians on this, the group's sophomore outing:
Martin Drozd- Vocals, guitars, darbuka, jaw harp, synthesizer
Ekaterina – Soprano and traditional vocals, recorders, psaltery, zhaleika & sopilka.
Dawid Slowiak- Bass, group chants
Jeremy Jackson (Vodnik) – Guitars, group chants
Mike Matveev- Drums

Now, if you are looking at that line-up and thinking to yourself  "Gee, with that line-up I'm betting that we're talking about a folk metal something or rather metal band" then give yourself a great big pat on the back!
Protokult, whose lyrical interests include history, paganism and folklore, are every bit a folk loving band. The only difference between these "Canadians" and similarly-themed acts is the way in which everything is executed! First things first. I'll throw this info out so that there is NO mistaking where I'm coming from with bands like this. When it comes to folk and metal it's not a particular genre that I'm terribly familiar with or even comfortably reviewing. But, I'm always open to whatever crosses my path music-wise and this one came from a wonderful individual so I'm jumping head fist into these waters friends! With that said we're talking about folk metal or metal folk (!), but with this group there's some interesting black metal elements  and there's even a bit of an attempt made at adding ambient overtures!  As the follow-up to 2011's "Marzena", with the band's full-length debut album, "Ancestral Anthems" having dropped in 2010 (seven years after the band first formed!), "No Beer In Heaven" apparently started off as a collection of material intending to fill out an EP. Or at least that's how it sounds going by the promo material. Whatever the case may be this one benefits greatly from Ekaterina Pyatkova's lovely voice (a lovely voice to match a lovely front-lady-how can you go wrong?) and the fact that it seldom wanders off two far off of the beaten track! All-around atmospheric (dark and eerie!) and defiantly living up to the whole "pagan metal" thing (as well as showing a love for alcohol which is something I can always appreciate!) Protokult's creative "No Beer In Heaven" has it's own level of heaviness to go along with it's adventurous song-constructions. Even if I'm not the best person to review these kind of LPs I do know what I like and what I find enjoyable and this one hit both of those targets! While I simply cannot give any recommendations (in so far as who this group sounds like) I do recommend "No Beer In Heaven" as a release. From it's dark vibe to it's semi-inventive (to these ears) take on folk metal (and not to mention it's construction and overall execution!) "No Beer In Heaven"  is a cool release and one that I will be partaking off at my next earliest convenience!

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