Butterfly Temple - Earth 4/5
5. Agony/The path
8. Death (acoustic version)
Butterfly Temple is a pagan/folk metal band from Russia and this is their 7th studio CD. Their songs are generally fast, festive, rocking melodic metal; almost every song contains an extensive lightly intricate progressive instrumental passage or 2, and there are Eastern European folk touches throughout. A typical song will be a tapestry of high-energy guitar-driven riffs against huge dramatic swirling keys providing the melodies; although each individual riff and melody is quite accessible, there is almost no repetition of them within each song. This is ambitious songwriting for a genre that quite often relies on one or 2 catchy riffs or melodies to drive entire songs, and it is amazing that they can maintain such variety and quality throughout the entire CD. The songs are sung in Russian (the title and tracklist are translated) and extol Slavonic pagan mythology, especially the exploits of their pantheon of gods and goddesses; being English-only speaking I cannot understand the lyrics but the music paints a grandiose picture of majestic epic deeds filled with festivity and triumph.
The vocals are primarily lightly operatic male vocals, and they are excellent; this is the best Sergey Abramov has sounded by far, and that’s saying a lot. His singing is strong and smooth, ranging from warmly melodic to absolutely soaring, always adding intensity and drama to the music. There are also some harsh vocals in a sort of a fierce raspy shouting style; they make for a nice aggressive counterpoint to Sergey’s clean vocals but for my tastes they can be grating in anything but small doses. There are also occasional female vocals, very festive and folksy; earlier in their discography Butterfly Temple made much more extensive use of female vocals, which I miss very much.
As large as their discography is, it is astonishing that Butterfly Temple is still writing some of the best music of their career. Starting from relatively straight-up but well-done blackened folk metal they have evolved to what I consider to be one of the most interesting and innovative pagan/folk metal bands in the genre; there are very few bands in any genre with their knack for writing such intricate and varied songs that rock the whole way through. Butterfly Temple is strongly recommended for fans of Slavic pagan metal bands like Alkonost, Arkona, Tverd, older Svarga, Rarog, Natural Spirit or Nevid', especially if you enjoy a progressive slant on your music.
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