Natural Spirit - Sita rosa 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-22-09





Tracklist:

1. Ros river
2. Kladovest
3. Dream
4. Morok rays
5. Nailed down
6. Kupala
7. Sita Rosa
8. Diva
9. Crossworld
10. Lullaby
11. Civilization


Natural Spirit is a Ukrainian band, and both their debut 'Ruskolun' and this 2nd CD 'Sita rosa' are Ukrainian-language CDs (the tracklist is translated). 'Ruskolun' was released in 2004 and 'Sita rosa' was released in 2008 by Sound Age, but was re-released early in 2009 by Stormspell Records, and that version contains extra CD information and some short English descriptions of what the lyrics are about. I personally have the Sound Age version, but Stormspell's version is much easier to obtain and with it containing the additional information, it's surely the best version to grab.

Natural Spirit is a folk/pagan metal band with both female and male vocals (Katerina Prischepa and Oleg Kirienko). Comparisons stood out immediately, and they would be Ros, Orkrist, Hildr Valkyrie, Cruachan, Fearlight and Kalevala in a few spots, but Alkonost is definitely the closest comparison. Regarding both the balance of tempo and the amount of female and male vocals, Natural Spirit is extremely close to Alkonost, which is a good thing in my mind.

Both of Natural Spirit's CDs are similar in every way, and what you'd expect from a folk/pagan metal band. There are some excellent melodies and the use of many different instruments. As mentioned, the band accomplishes a strong balance of tempo and things remain interesting from song to song. Actually, I find the music to be very good and pretty much at the same level with both of their CDs. So even though the debut was released over 4 years ago and the band has had plenty of time to improve on its quality, the step up between the debut and this 2nd CD is slight, in my opinion.

For the most part, the vocals on 'Sita rosa' are balanced, but the one problem I have with this band is the male vocals, which are of the black metal type. While the female vocals are splendid, the male vocals just aren't that good, even for what they are. I will say that the male vocals are better on this CD than the debut, but the truth is that every time the male vocalist is singing too much, I'm reminded of why I don't care for black metal. For the majority of the CD this negative aspect doesn't really affect my enjoyment, but when the male vocalist is present too much (for example, track 8 "Diva" and track 9 "Crossworld" - where the female vocalist is completely absent), I begin to look forward to the next CD in my listening rotation.

So what we have is a folk/pagan metal band with 2 good to very good CDs, but a band with the one flaw, though it could possibly just be for me personally. This is still a competitive band for the style however, and there are certainly highlights on both of their CDs. As for 'Sita rosa', my favorites are the catchy track 1 "Ros river", the memorable track 3 "Dream", the melody-filled track 5 "Nailed down" and track 6 "Kupala", and the beautiful track 10 "Lullaby", which thankfully contains female vocals only. By now you get it - if you're into the mentioned bands and especially Alkonost, this is a band you'll surely want to check out.



CLINT




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