Encorion: Our Pagan Hearts Reborn

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Encorion: Our Pagan Hearts Reborn
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Encorion: Our Pagan Hearts Reborn
Folk Metal, Viking Metal
Sleaszy Rider Records
April 5th, 2013
Release length: 49:23
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Back in 2007, cousins Michael Dubbelt (bass, vocals), Danny de Graaf (guitar, backing vocals), and Raymon Dubbelt (vocals) came together to start the formation of what would become Encorion. One year later, the trio picked up Jark Zilverentant (drums) and Tessa Freeke (violin, backing vocals), two key pieces of the puzzle needed to complete this vision of folklore driven Metal. After their 2008 demo, the band found themselves signed to the Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records to issue their debut album, Facing History and Ourselves. Two years later, we now have the follow-up to that highly underground debut, titled Our Pagan Hearts Reborn. But, is this a hidden gem buried deep in the Metal catacombs, or will it not really be missed if you happen to be outside the label’s reach?

There’s no denying the strong audio quality here, or the hazy, misty atmospheres it captures with ease. The guitars carry a deeper tone with heavy distortions at work, coming through just under the loud and beautiful violin performances that quite often make the song. The bass guitar’s mid-level tone is really disctinct, aiding the rhythm of the song without treading on the deeper output from the drum kit. The cymbals are crisp and not too dominant in the mix, while the click of the bass kicks and the various other snares are much louder and tighter with a lower tuning. Finally there’s the vocals, which are a bit louder than all but the violins, and handled with an echoed rhasp, clean singing, and a decent guttural, all scattered amongst the various members.

While the audio quality is actually something really special for this style, the music doesn’t always end up as unique. “Our Pagan Hearts Reborn” kicks things off with a hint of energy in the opening chants, but from there becomes a rather typicaloffering for the genre that finds a flute at work more than the the violin. This won’t whip anyone into a frenzy, but it’s still far from a bad offering. There’s also “Moonfall, Sunrise,” which perfectly captures a natural early folklore atmosphere in a manner that best fits a sitting around a roaring campfire with your friends, telling tales of high adventure and merriment while enjoying a nice pint of ale.

Encorion has always shown a love for Classical music, but the impact of that style is only felt on a handful of songs. “Spirit, We Are One” manages a somewhat epic scale due to how vibrant and heavy it is compared to the the aforementioned straight-forward cuts. This causes a richer, energetic performance that makes it one of the most memorable experiences to be had. There’s also “We Will Rise,” which shows a great deal of passion through the violins over somber music that becomes a little more epic and powerful. The vocals also pick up some additional enthusiasm. The only downfall ends up being the breakdown at the end that really feels out of place. Sadly, this is something a few songs have, and whether they suit the song or not, they all end up a bit hard to sit through.

Our Pagan Hearts Reborn isn’t the grandest Folk Metal album you’ll come across, but, in a way, that’s it’s charm. The music is subtle, and when it really does hone in on Classical structuring, the music becomes energetic, vibrant, and highly memorable. If it’s not, then the songs end up a little more standard, often having an extensive breakdown that kills the flow, lacks a strong atmosphere, or just simply has areas that aren’t too impressive. But, one spin through Our Pagan Hearts Reborn will show you the amount of potential within Encorion. Because of that, this is a band well worth keeping an eye on as they continue to grow and mature their sound.

01. Our Pagan Hearts Reborn – 7:21
02. Fire of Freedom – 6:16
03. Moonfall, Sunrise – 3:43
04. Spirit, we are One – 5:27
05. Farewell to the Living – 8:21
06. Fate’s Illusion – 3:55
07. We Will Rise – 4:48
08. Buried in Our Lands – 9:32
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Encorion (band)
Encorion

Digital review copy of this release provided by Sleaszy Rider Records.