THE DEMO CORNER
Germany is no stranger when it comes to folk metal music. Black Messiah began in 1992 as a pure black metal band, but did not release their debut album until 1998’s Sceptre of Black Knowledge. With 2005’s Oath of a Warrior, the band began to incorporate more folk and Pagan elements into their style of music. That momentum has seen two subsequent albums since then, and now a new album that sees them going the concept route has surfaced in The Final Journey. The album has its moments, but it can also come off as a little too cheesy.
From the first track “Windloni,” it is clear that Black Messiah has a very lively style of folk metal that invokes the likes of Finntroll and Turisas. For most of the album Black Messiah only really knows one speed: fast; this is most evident when the violin comes into play, which is quite often. It is only on “Prologue - The Final Journey” that things slow down, as it is a concept from Norse mythology of the journey taken after death on the Naglfar, a boat made entirely of nails from the dead. The last four songs on the album are dedicated to this concept, and it is done quite well, with “The Hel Saga” being one of the highlights on the entire album. A female vocalist sings the part of Hel, a being in Norse Mythology who receives a portion of the dead, usually the dishonorable ones. “On Board” has one of the better guitar solos in recent years, and “Sailing into Eternity” nicely wraps up the saga with a somber guitar intro and clean vocals, the latter being a rarity throughout the album. The vocals are mostly black metal in nature, invoking comparisons to Nomans Land at their harshest. One thing that keeps The Final Journey from being a great album is the constant speed in which the music compositions are played, which, in some cases, kills the atmosphere of an otherwise interesting concept. The slow parts aren’t present enough to really offset any speed with which the band plays, and the keyboards tend to add to the cheese factor instead of the epic factor that they want.
Black Messiah has considerable talent and an eye for Mythology, as evidenced on The Final Journey. However, the way in which they use their talent is not always time-conscious in spots, yet when it is, as is the case on the last four songs on the album, it is worth hearing. If you can get past the one-speed factor of the first half of The Final Journey, then the second half more than makes up for any shortcomings that are present.
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2. Der Ring Mit Dem Kreuz
3. To Become a Man
4. Into the Unfathomed Tower
5. Feld Der Ehre
7. Prologue – The Final Journey
8. The Hel Saga
9. On Board
10. Sailing into Eternity
Total playing time: 55:23
Release Date: February 24, 2012
Label: AFM Records
Black Messiah - The Final Journey
May 15, 2012