Echopraxia – Pumpkin Palace (2017)

EchopraxiaPumpkin Palace (self-released, 31 October 2017)


“But Halloween was like two weeks ago,” someone will surely be whining; “why would you be writing about a Halloween-themed metal album now??” For starters: it’s my damn website and I’ll write about whatever I want to. But also: just because the calendar turns over to November doesn’t necessarily mean that celebrating All Hallow’s Eve has to come to an end — in the immortal words of The Ghost of Christmas Present, “It is the season of the spirit / the message if we hear it / is make it last all year.” And I’m pretty sure that song (“It Feels Like Christmas”) was meant to be universally applicable.

And more seriously: especially now that the clocks have changed, it’s completely black outside both walking to the bus in the morning and coming home from work in the evening, the air is often cold and foggy, everyone in the neighborhood still has a whole bunch of pumpkin-based decorations (some of which were designed vaguely enough to work for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as well, but many of which are just the result of being too lazy to put them away and drag out the Christmas stuff already), and one evening last week I happened to hear this five-song EP during my walk home and it seemed strangely appropriate. (Not to mention, at just under twenty minutes in length, it coincided with the journey from bus stop almost perfectly.) And therefore, regardless of the actual date, I felt like sharing this music with you.


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Now Available for Free: Svartby – Elemental Tales


SvartbyElemental Tales (17 February 2012, Trollzorn Records)

Svartby are an extreme folk metal band from Saint Petersburg, Russia, which was formed back in 2003 by a keyboardist/composer/lyricist named Giftsvamp. Actually, “extreme folk metal” is a phrase they sometimes use to describe themselves, but they actually prefer the term “Svartcore” because the unique sound they create just doesn’t quite fit with what you’d normally consider “folk” music, or “extreme metal” or even “metal” music. They blend elements of all of these, but essentially “Svartcore” is centered around the band leader’s orchestral creations, which are then augmented by heavy metal guitars, drums, and death-metal-style vocals.

“Svartby” itself is the name of a fictional “black village” which is inhabited by mythical creatures — mostly either mischevious or malevolent ones (such as witches, gnomes, and imps) — and these form the main basis for the band’s lyrical content. Despite the band’s Russian origin, at first their lyrics were written entirely in Swedish, although over time, they began adding many songs in English as well.

The latest of these releases, Elemental Tales, first saw the light of day in February of this year, on CD via German label Trollzorn Records. However, the band is of the opinion that music ought to be freely available to all listeners: they have been quietly encouraging the album to be shared on the internet since the time of its release, and now they have established a Bandcamp page for themselves, where all their albums can officially and legitimately be downloaded for free. Bear in mind, though, you also have the opportunity to pay any price you choose — which would be highly appreciated by the musicians, who say they had never earned any money from their own music before now (explaining that, instead, everything has always gone to the record labels to offset expenses). (Read more about the band’s decision to give their music away for free here.)

So without any further ado, let’s discuss this recent album, and then I’ll give you the opportunity to listen to it and grab a copy of it…


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