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    • Crítica ao álbum de Dalriada - Napisten Hava
    • Napisten Hava is Dalriada's 7th studio album. In case you haven't heard of these guys before, let me tell you: you're missing one of the best folk metal bands around, these days. Originally named Echo of Dalriada, the band started back in 1998 and has become Hungarian's most popular folk metal band. Their albums present a mix of authentic hungarian folk music with heavy/power metal, and include traditional musical instruments such as flutes, bagpipes, violins, lute and accoustic guitars. According to the band's press-release (sorry, I wouldn't know a hungarian word even if it would hit me in the head), their songs are sung in hungarian and the lyrics are mostly based on regional tales, myths, legends and historical events.



      Now that the short introduction is done, let's get things going and take a look into their latest release, Napisten Hava.



      After a rather folklore-ish intro, the bagpipes lead us into A Dudas, the first hightlight of the album. This song is the perfect showcase of what Dalriada sounds like: you can hear several tradicional intruments, including bagpipes, flutes and violin, being played along with the metal ones; you get several mood swings throughout the song, mixing folk-like singalongs with faster-paced metal parts; female crystal-clear vocals followed by male growls and taunts and even beautiful melodies and choruses that will keep playing inside your head long after the music's over. As a final side note, this song also has a videoclip, so go and check it, it's very cool and nicely produced.



      The following song is Thunderkert. It start fast and then Laura Binder's voice soothes things down, just like she's singing a sweet lullabye - but don't worry, you evil metal fanatics, the double-bass soon joins in to hasten it up again. The vocals are accompanied throughout the song by a violin which mimics the Laura's singing, which adds a nice effect. Somewhere in-between, a power-metal-like keyboard solo comes out of nowhere, but as suddenly as it came, it quickly faded away and everything resumed as it should. This is one of those songs that build up on you with every listen, so I guess this one'll also become a crowd-pleaser when played live.



      Napom, Fenyes Napom follows, an uptempo song with a Kusturica-like feel to it. Laura Binder sings along with András Ficzek's growls and the violins play a great part all along the song. Odd as it may seem, this is at the same time one of the heaviest songs of the album, but also on of the most singalong-able - just after the metal guitar solo and the final verses, the song enters the last chorus and is left only with voices and hand-claps, so this may become an interesting song to interact with the audience in the live shows.



      Next comes the title-track of the album, Napisten Hava, changing things into a quieter mood, even slightly melancholic, when the singing begins, nicely accompanied by a flute. Several voices join in with great effect, and then again, the violin shines brighter than the other instruments and rules supreme - until the keyboard metal solo begins, followed by a duel between an electric guitar and some sort of accoustic guitar.



      After a short soft accoustic introduction, Julianus Utja starts with a great folk metal riff followed by Laura Binder's enchanting singing. The chorus gets a little heavier, with András joining in for extra power. We then get the usual folk-melodies-then-keyboard/guitar-metal-solo-then-folk-melodies again, which happens a lot throughout the album but ends up working quite nicely most of the times. Before the end, the song also moves into a voices-only part before all instruments resume back for the final chorus.



      Next song, Puszta Fold, also starts in an light accoustic mood but is suddenly assaulted by a screaming metal guitar. Now we get András Ficzek singing in a battle-like tone, with a somewhat despaired / somewhat epic feeling with a touch of resignation or sadness, just like you're about to go on a battle you know you can't win, but still you march towards it. The double bass adds extra-power but, as always with these guys, darkness and light are two sides of a coin that keeps shifting. Here we get a nice medley with flutes, obviously followed by the expected metal keyboard solo.



      Hunyadi és Kapisztrán Nándorfehérvári Diadaláról (Saltarello) is based on an italian dance melody from the 14th century which Dalriada covered while keeping the original instruments in the orchestration. It starts with flutes and keyboard in the background, turning metal when joined by the guitars and double-bass. Laura Binder returns, accompanied at times by a massive choir. This song has a more joyous feel to it, specially with the way the electric guitars combined with the flute melodies. The song then takes a turn, and the choirs, flute and orchestration almost resemble a medieval movie score, until everything gets back on track.



      Hirhozo starts with an heavy-rock electric-guitar riff, but soon a violin shows up to remind you this is a folk metal album and not an AOR album from the 80's. Laura and András both sing, one at a time, except for the emotional chorus where they both sing almost unnacompanied. The song then turns heavy-metal with a few metal riffs, soloing and double bass until the singing returns and takes you back to that beautiful chorus. Save your lighters for this one when you see these guys live, this one's a winner.



      Borivok Eneke brings back that Kusturica-like feeling, although not as evident as in Napom, Fenyes Napom. This is a very fast song, with both female and male vocals battling between verses, accompanied by a speeding violin and a double-bass, at times. This is a pretty straight-forward song, if played live the crowd will surely make a party out of it!



      We walk towards the end of the album with A Juhászlegény Balladája. The song starts as a regular down-tempo heavy-metal song - with a heavy-metal riff and András Ficzek at the helm. The tempo has some slight changes throughout the song, as usual, but the mood stays pratically the same almost until the end - only then, the singing style changes, most instruments start to fade and we are led onto the outro of the album, where we find a melody somewhat similar to the one we heard in the intro, except that this one has a sad feel to it.



      That's about it. As a whole, this is a pretty consistent album with a great production, with all instruments being heard perfectly, which must have been hard since there were so many at times.. Laura Binder's voice is perfect, as always, no matter is she's lulling us or singing happily about the joys of life or whatever it is she sings about (would love to have had the lyrics translated in English to have a clue what their's singing about in each song). That being said, I have a couple of remarks that I should point out. The formula was pretty much the same for most of the song, so I think we got one too may metal-keyboard-solos on the album. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderfully played by Barnabás Ungár, all of them, but it would do no harm in having one less solo, to break away from the formula. Also, I found there were less "immediately remarkable" songs in this album compared to previous ones. It's probably due to the extra-care they put into production, so I guess it will take me a couple of listens more to get fully in the mood.



      I actually haven't worked out a rating system for the reviews yet, since this is our website's first review, but if I'd rate this from 1 to 10, I'd give this one an 8.



      Finally, if you enjoyed this review and/or the album, check their previous albums, you won't be disappointed:

      Fergeteg - Nail Records (2004)

      Jégbontó - Nail Records (2006)

      Kikelet - Nail Records (2007) - No. 4 on the Hungarian charts

      Szelek - Nail Records (2008) - No. 2 on the Hungarian charts

      Arany-album - Nail Records (2009) - No. 4 on the Hungarian charts

      Ígéret - AFM Records (2011) - No. 6 on the Hungarian charts

      Napisten Hava - Nail Records / Einheit Produktionen (2012)
































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