The Unconquered Land has a beautiful folk beginning, bards alike. CRYSTALMOORS play Pagan Metal as invoked by Uruksoth (vocals), Erun-Dagoth (guitar), Faramir (guitar and flute), Throrus (bass), Gharador (drums and percussion) and Gothmog (keyboards).
I know these pseudonyms look like the band has just come out of the Lord of the Rings or Middle-Earth, but such is not the case – here is not a single hint at the Tolkien-created world except in the pseudonyms.
This being my first contact with CRYSTALMOORS, it is also the band’s official debut. Sisko, a.k.a. Erun-Dagoth, the only permanent member since the beginning (in 1995), is also involved in many Cantabrian BM projects. Other band members have played in MOONSHINE, FORESTDOME and GATHERING DARKNESS, amongst others.
Headquartered in the Spanish city Santander, these Iberian bards occasionally bring early BORKNAGAR back to memory (slower-paced). The broad lyrical concept pays homage to the Pagan (pre-Roman invasion) Cantabria, which almost inevitably entails the use of traditional ‘celtic-sounding’ instruments (the flute). Musically, CRYSTALMOORS sing Back Metal and it is the use of certain instruments that makes the difference – the flute is actually very good most of the times – simple and emotional, yet always present in the crucial moments.
But there are more obvious connections to the BM thematic: the main topic of the album appears to be dechristianisation and the return to ancient gods and traditions – that is where Black and Viking/ Pagan/ Folk/ whatever always meet: the return to an Ancient World Order. And The Unconquered Land is not all about folk music – it is also about Black metal Supreme Aggression in the good old vein – just listen to North Iberian Sadness and Pride and you will get the message. Brutal and straightforward.
The music is very enticing – but the sound is too much demo-alike, that is where the band should invest in next time. Melodic Pagan Metal with power and heaviness where it should be, The Unconquered Land is worth a listen.
CrystalMoors – Since Old Times