1. Ranek (intro)
2. Piesn o Sloncu, Plodnosci, Narodzinach, Zyciu i Smierci [MySpace]
3. Ostatnia Droga Wojownika [MP3]
4. Czas Zimowego Tryumfu [MP3]
5. Bys Wiedzial, Gdzie Zyjesz i Umrzesz
6. Wszystkie Odcienie Szarosci
a) Kolejne OdsloniĂŠcie Ksiezyca
b) Za Szarym Cieniem
7. Piesn Zercy
9. Nowe Pokolenie (bonus track)
+ videoclip "Ostatnia Droga Wojownika"
Pagan neo-folk from Poland in its best!
This fourth full-length release from Polish pagan folk metal formation Perunwit was originally released on cassette in 2000. Eastside released this CD version in 2006. There are nine tracks totalling 43 minutes. All lyrics are in Polish, so I canât help you out there, beyond providing translations of the song titles â apologies in advance to Perunwit if Iâve missed out some accents or otherwise mashed up the words of their monstrously difficult language!
The mood of Wszystkie Odcienie SzaroĂșci (âAll Shades of Greyâ) is set by the striking cover image, of a slavering, fang-baring wolf appearing on the face of the moon. This makes the album appear to be a black metal release, and although there are undeniably metal elements in Perunwitâs sound, they are an altogether more complicated proposition than that would suggest.
The intro, âRanekâ (âMorningâ), places sinister whispered vocals over a chorus of wolf howls â hey, if this is what morning is like in Poland, you wouldnât want to be there after dark! The lengthy (and lengthily titled) âPieĂșĂ± o SĂčoĂ±cu, PĂčodnoĂșci, Narodzinach, Ăyciu i Ămierciâ (âA Song on Sun, Fertility, Birth, Life and Deathâ) follows, blending doomy, muffled drums with foreboding keyboards, folksy guitar and tambourine. This track benefits massively from the eerie background vocals of Moira, a.k.a. LutosĂčawa, whose ethereal, Rose McDowall-like cries float around like restless spirits, evoking a mood of melancholy and loss. âOstatnia Droga Wojownikaâ (âLast Way of the Warriorâ) is definitely the standout track of the album. Warm strummed guitar leads into a sunny, lilting pop tune, which occasionally descends into strange discordancy and laughter, hinting at a hidden tragedy and darkness lurking just beneath the surface. I was reminded of shoegazing bands like My Bloody Valentine, and also some of Charles Mansonâs songs for some reason â I think itâs the contrast between the superficial sunniness of the tune and its inner heart of darkness. âCzas Zimowego Tryumfuâ (âTime of Winter Triumphâ) is much gloomier, with slow keyboards and echoing, ghostly layers of male vocals, something like the ambient interludes of Graveland or Darkenâs ambient project, Lord Wind. âByĂș WiedziaĂč, Gdzie Ăyjesz i Umrzeszâ (âTo Let You Know Where You Live and Will Dieâ) is the first really headbanging metal track on the album, with buzzy riffing guitar and dynamic mid-tempo rock drumming, but itâs certainly not black metal, it sounds more like traditional heavy metal bands like Judas Priest or Rainbow, though the latter section of the song develops a Slavic folk feel that makes it more akin to folk-influenced Eastern European black metal acts like Nokturnal Mortum and Skyforger. The song fades out with a series of weird digeridoo-ilke droning tones, reinforcing the atmosphere of primordial heathenism, before launching back into a triumphant defiant coda. The title track, âWszystkie Odcienie SzaroĂșciâ (âAll Shades of Greyâ), is divided into two parts, âKolejne OdsĂčoniĂŠcie KsiĂŠĂœycaâ and âZa Szarym Cieniemâ. The song begins with rattling chains and dark ambient dungeon atmospherics, mingled with occasional fluttering flute and plucked strings. A gloomy keyboard offers the first glimmerings of a melody after about three minutes, but the song doesnât really kick in for another minute and a half, when a startling blast of fast metal guitar and drums shatters the peace, announcing the arrival of the second part of âWszystkie Odcienie SzaroĂșciâ, a Metallica-like thrash section, accompanied by strange horn-blasts and keyboards. âPieĂșĂ± Ăercyâ (âZercaÂŽs Songâ) consists of more digeridoo-like drones, ritualistic chanting and some spoken narration, lasting only a little more than a minute â quite effectively atmospheric, as far as it goes, but seeming a bit pointless for such a brief period. âOutroâ is a similarly brief ambient piece, cold and eerie.
This CD reissue of Wszystkie Odcienie SzaroĂșci also comes with a bonus track, âNowe Pokolenieâ (âA New Generationâ), a convincingly heavy thrashout with dramatic keyboard flourishes and industrial percussion effects alongside the pounding rock drums â the heaviest track on here, in fact â and a video clip for âOstatnia Droga Wojownikaâ, which frustratingly I canât get my computer to play. Overall, though, Wszystkie Odcienie SzaroĂșci is a worthy addition to the torrent of great Slavonic heathen music pouring out of eastern Europe at the moment, and Perunwit is a name to watch.