Monday, 20 July 2015

L'Airged l'amh – One Eyed God (2002) / 75%

Hellenic Metal Help Fund part II – Varangian Silver

A series highlighting the best of what the Greek underground metal scene has to offer. In this time of need for the legendary country, let's show our support by listening to their rich musical endeavors.

The Athenians formed this project way back in the 80s but this is their debut album released more than a decade after their inception. The name of the project is, based on some online translators I've tried is Irish for “raw silver” or “the silver arm” and that's a pretty lovely moniker but weird for a Greek band to use this foreign tongue. Instead of being influenced by the rich and interesting Greek mythology, these guys are more into Celtic heritage and Nordic tales (made obvious by the drawing of Odin on the cover and its related title. It's not that surprising though since it's well known that Vikings (Varangians for the Greeks) traveled everywhere in Europe and reached Sicily, Russia, Constantinople and obviously the Hellenic world and has influenced these cultures. Many centuries (or millenniums) later, this band emerged and offered their metal to the gods of old.

Throughout the seven songs, L'Airged l'amh demonstrates their ability to cover many different genres. They remind me of Blind Guardian's period before Nightfall In Middle-Earth, a period where the German legend was mixing heavy, power and folk metal (think of “Somewhere Far Beyond”). Furthermore, the vocals of John Georgopoulos (he's sharing the vocals duty with Stavros Giannakopoulos, who's the singer on their two other full lengths) easily remind the ones of Hansi Kürsch. L'Airged l'amh are a bit all over the place, they try their hand at overblown symphonic epic metal like on the second track “The Vision Revealed” and folk metal such as the serene acoustic debut of Yildrazil / One Eyed God or the Skyclad-ish break during “Dissention Seeds”. 

They have this sort of 1990s progressive power metal vibe with technically sound riffs and interesting leads. This is combined to their classy yet sometimes artificial background of epic symphonic metal and their traditional mix of heavy and old power metal. When they decide to move things up and play outright heavy metal, the dual guitars are making themselves obvious and the bass is quite in your face. While musically interesting and quite proficient at their instruments, it's a bit mundane sometimes, the extraneous elements the band is using save this from being a mediocre effort. The tracks are not too long and well garnished except the ten minutes closer, it drags a little too much. It's worth checking out if you like the aforementioned Blind Guardian and you're tired of spinning their records.

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