Paganland Wind of Freedom

PaganlandWind of Freedom
Ukrainian metallers Paganland have taken their time releasing a full-length. After forming in 1997 and releasing a demo in 1999, they wouldn't release recorded material again until 2008, when they completed a split with fellow Slavic heathens Tenhi Zabutih Predkic, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Now, five years later, they've finally released a full-length effort, Wind of Freedom, 16 years into their career. They draw inspiration from lesser-known and lost documents from Ukrainian and Slavic history, mythopoetics and archaeology, including petroglyphs. All of this makes it seem like Wind of Freedom would be an interesting record, inspired by lost stories and having taken so long incubating, but the musical results are disappointing. The songs begin with atmospheric intros, rushing water or wind, perhaps the sounds of a far-off battle. And then, almost without fail, terrible lo-fi keyboards come in to completely ruin the ambience. The strongest elements of the record — the mix of harsh and clean vocals, the byzantine-esque guitar work — are unfortunately the lowest in the mix, while the awful keys and synths, and spiritless triggered drums bubble to the surface. There are good moments, and the songwriting shows promise, but they're almost all buried and strangled by a series of bad production, mix and instrumental decisions. (Svarga)