Black Messiah

The Final Journey

Written by: EW on 28/04/2012 13:01:09

In preparation for my long-delayed review of Black Messiah's fifth album "The Final Journey" I have re-read what I wrote for LP 4, 2009's "First War of the World" and conclude that much the same points both benefiting and afflicting that release are at play here - namely a smorgasbord of cheese, a restlessness with genres and tempos, and an oeuvre so quintessentially German it's no surprise I've not met anyone else in the UK to have heard of them. Which is a pity, as at their finest this bunch of travelling Medieval wilbury's knock up a fun slice of symphonic folk/Viking metal which any metalhead with a beer in hand should enjoy.

The core of "The Final Journey" might will be black metal but the melodic leads and catchy rhythms throughout lend it a feel a world apart from that genre of darkness and nihilism. Listening to the upbeat violin leads in "Der Ring Mit Dem Kreuz" is a happy experience; "To Become A Man" has the hallmarks of Falkenbach smeared all over it through it's subtle symphonic backing and agreeably-paced gallop; "Feld Der Ehre" is more hardened and serious and consequently devoid of the bounce and energy that marks it's successor "Lindisfarne" and the cover of Candlemass' "Into the Unfathomed Tower", oddly slapped in the middle of the album.

The highlight of "First War…" was it's narrative interwoven throughout the album, giving it the feel of a journey for band and listener and the oomph which encouraged me to award such a high mark. The four-part "Naglfar Saga" is this album's equivalent - moving from quaint acoustic and spoken word intro, to the multi vocal "Mother Hel" where the baritone vocals of Zagan interchange with more subtle female tones in a vaguely classical manner, before "On Board" and "Sailing Into Eternity" close the narrative and album in the same exultant manner that "Soeldnerschwein" so successfully did on LP 4. With this album's 'journey' being attached to the second half only the wholesome feel of "First War…" subsequently feels rather lost in the mishmash of tones that Black Messiah employ, however their handling of the Korpiklaani-like folk and Falkenbach-ian Viking metal styles still mark them out as a decent, if still faintly generic, band and one that come certainly recommended to the metal fans of the UK and beyond yet to catch on to these guys.


Download: Der Ring Mit Dem Kreuz, Lindisfarne, The Naglfar Saga : On Board
For The Fans Of: Falkenbach, Korpiklaani, Wolfchant
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.02.2012
AFM Productions

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