SCALD โ€“ Ancient Doom Metal

SCALD โ€“ Ancient Doom Metal
Label(s):
High Roller Records
Released Year:
2024
Type:
Full-length
Tracklist:
1. Ancient Doom Metal2. Young God Ressurected3. Master of the Lake4. Far Northern Corner5. ALU (My Protection)6. The Liberating Spells of Fire7. The Enemy Among Us (bonus track)

“Remember about SCALD”, those were the final words of bassist Velignor on an interview about Epic Doom Metal legends SCALD, that we did back in October 2004 for the second issue of Forgotten Scroll Zine. Back on the day the band was of course inactive but their legend was of course alive.

20 bloody years have passed and I still can not believe that I am witnessing the resurrection of this legend. I still can not believe that SCALD are back in full triumph releasing an ultimate masterpiece of Ancient Epic Doom Mastery.

SCALD from Yarsoslavl in Russia were formed by bassist Velignor in the second half of 1993. A year later their first proper demo tape “North Winds” was recorded. However, it was their cassette album under the original title of “Will Of Gods Is A Great Power”, released in October 1997 on MetalAgen (one of the biggest labels in Russia at the time), that made them an underground cult name in international doom circles. At this point in time their charismatic singer Agyl was already dead (he was tragically killed in a train accident on September 6th 1997), and the band as such didnโ€™t exist anymore.

24 years later, in 2021, High Roller Records issued the ultimate edition of the album under the new title of “Will Of The Gods Is Great Power”. After a one-off live appearance at the Hammer Of Doom festival in 2019 and a 7โ€ single called “There Flies Our Wail!” on High Roller in 2021, SCALD are back for good with a brand new studio album aptly christened “Ancient Doom Metal”. It was recorded by the four original SCALD members Velingor (bass), Harald (guitars), Karry (guitars), Ottar (drums and percussion) plus Felipe Plaza Kutzbach (PROCESSION, CAPILLA ARDIENTE etc) on vocals.

It is obvious that all those who follow the SCALD legend have been wondering about the reunited band’s actual sound. The comeback 7″ EP highlighted the classic SCALD songwriting delivered on a new era, but my dear reader I have to assure you that you are simply not prepared for what are going to listen on the band’s second full length.

“Ancient Doom Metal” is not an album, it’s a return to Triumph.

Musically the album is an outstanding combination of the SCALD trademark sound, with the legacy of BATHORY’s epic era, the pounding power of early MANOWAR and the mystical wisdom of ATLANTEAN KODEX.ย  Everything is developed under an overall frame that is based on the classic Epic Doom Metal standards and it is performed by musicians that carry a remarkable 30 years experience. The folk touches are there and they are delivered under a primitive way, perfectly matching with the album’s overall sound.

Pounding riffs, mystical melodies, great solos and a Felipe Plaza Kutzbach that delivers the best vocal performance of his entire career. I almost went to tears when I heard those high notes put on key parts of the songs exactly in the way that Agyl sang them on the classic recordings. I would like to point how important the folk touches are in this new material: A focused combination of PRIMORDIAL and TUMULUS vibe, a great crossing of Scandinavian and Slavic musical tradition, everything wisely attached to the new SCALD hymns.

SCALD are returning to battle: A calling to an ancient war under the frozen north winds. Fire, Ice, Blood and Steel. This is the music of SCALD on their new era of Victory.

Chris Papadakis


It’s not just the music.

It is also what it stands for, what it means to all of us, metalheads with metalhearts, whose very lives are one with it. Am I talking out of emotion? Of course, I do! Iโ€™ve just witnessed SCALDโ€™s return, after 27 years, what am I supposed to be if not emotional and absolutely blown away by the mere fact itself?

I donโ€™t think that ANYONE would ever consider the Russiansโ€™ come-back after Agylโ€™s untimely death that caused the bandโ€™s dissolvement; the year was 1997 and despite the tragic loss of their great frontman, SCALD managed to release their debut album, โ€œThe Will Of Gods Is A Great Powerโ€ on cassette by MetalAgen. Those of us who happened to discover this gem back in those days were absolutely awe-struck by the grandeur of SCALDโ€™s music; this was Epic Doom at its best, massively heavy, unyieldingly and beautifully raw, hauntingly sung, untamed, menacing and glorious altogether โ€“ a flawless six-track album that made SCALD gain prestige and esteem in underground metal community.

But the band existed no more. So, that was it. Another treasure, lost in time, yet NEVER forgotten by the few who would forever hold it in their hearts.

Until High Roller unearthed it, 24 years later, and released it as โ€œWill Of The Gods Is Great Powerโ€ โ€“ and the fire would spread again, SCALD would be the talk of numerous new fans and their name finally became widely known, as deserved.

Even though I knew that the band -all four original SCALD members, Velingor (bass), Harald (guitars), Karry (guitars), and Ottar (drums and percussion)- have played at the Hammer of Doom Festival in 2019, and they have also released a 7โ€ vinyl on High Roller (โ€œHere Flies Our Wailโ€, 2021) with their new, amazing singer Felipe Plaza Kutzbach (PROCESSION, CAPILLA ARDIENTE), I still couldnโ€™t believe that they might bring out a sophomore album after all those years.

Well, they did!

And they did so, the BEST way possible, with an utterly PERFECT successor to their monumental debut; Velingor explains how they accomplished such a deed:

โ€œDespite the fact that the first Scald album was composed and recorded back in the 90s, and โ€˜Ancient Doom Metalโ€™ was created during last three years, they are worked in the same style. Both albums are filled with the same atmosphere โ€“ that of the north, of ancient Scandinavia and Russia. In both cases the music and lyrics are based on mythology and mysticism of these regions. Of course, now we have become much more experienced musically than in the 90s, but we tried to keep the epic vibe of northern cold vastness, the very same we managed to create back then. And it is very important that Felipe feels and expresses it as well as we do.โ€

I wonโ€™t bother going on a track-by-track review for this album.

The reason is simple; listening to โ€œAncient Doom Metalโ€ made me truly stand in the presence of greatness. There are NO other words to describe such feeling. Just that โ€“ GREATNESS!

I can only add that if you love dark, powerful, mystical DOOM METAL, the kind that bears the echoes of immortal epos for all eternity, then itโ€™s ANCIENT the word youโ€™re looking for to call it!

โ€œAncient Doom Metalโ€ will be released on July 26th by High Roller on all formats, CD, LP and MC.


There only few bands in heavy metal music that have such a cult and great mythical status as SCALD, with only one full-length release in their discography. The band created a masterpiece of Epic Doom Metal, back in 1997, under the title โ€˜โ€™Will of Gods is a Great Powerโ€™โ€™.

Unfortunately, it was the fierce, cruel hand of doom and fate that has struck the destiny of the band, which made it suffer the tragic loss of their emblematic singer Agyl (a.k.a. Maxim Andrianov R.I.P.), in a train accident, at the youngest age of 24 years, only a handful of days before the official release of the album. That hard strike has sealed the existence of the band. The sword and axe of their music were buried in the tomb and the ashes of their short life as a band were dispersed in the Nordic / Slavic fjords.

The majestic and magnanimous soul of the metal warrior named SCALD has been lifted to the halls of Valhalla but his fame never disappeared. Vast battalions of new fans were inspired by their eternal epic splendor and sought the mighty return of the Great Warrior.

Consequently, 24 years later (remember the age Agyl was gone) in 2021, the other original bandmates Velingor (bass), Harald (guitars), Karry (guitars), Ottar (drums and percussion) decided to make the glorious return. They were joined by Felipe Plaza Kutzbach (known for his work with PROCESSION, CAPILLA ARDIENTE and other bands) on vocals, who had a very difficult mission to fulfill.

The ancient runes were cast and spoken! The time was right and the mighty warrior is returning back in full greatness.

The epic saga continues where it was stopped in 1997 and although it may seem difficult to believe, it feels like time has frozen and not a single day has passed since then. The warrior is back in full triumph and gazes strongly with pride the beloved dark, cold, mystical places of the North, ready to embark for a new voyage.

I would prefer not to go on a detailed track-by-track analysis. That would be too little, for the dithyrambic enthusiasm I feel about the new SCALD album. I prefer to elaborate on the feelings that are emerging from my inner self and run through my spinal cord. Here, we are not talking about just a new album from an old, but not forgotten band. On the contrary. We literally are having to deal with an utmost resurrection.

The time the opening track โ€˜โ€™Ancient Doom Metalโ€™โ€™ is beginning, the horns of fight are sounding and the cold mythical vastness unleashes. Goosebumps hit through the body relentlessly. Yes, the โ€˜โ€™Young God Resurrectedโ€™โ€™ and have descended with full armor, bearing swords, spears and axes on a savage black stallion, ready to claim the throne.

โ€˜โ€™Master of the Lakeโ€™โ€™ continues in full force and creates images in mind accordingly, like a kind of ancient sacrificial cathartic magic touch. In the โ€˜โ€™ Far Northern Cornerโ€™โ€™ all the mystic ancient tales live and wail the truth of roaring steel. โ€˜โ€™Aluโ€™โ€™ which follows, is my personal favorite, an epic doom metal soaring anthem, absolutely soul and fist-lifting. Such a unique experience of immensity created by โ€˜โ€™The Liberating Spells of Fireโ€™โ€™. No mercy for โ€˜โ€™The Enemy Among Usโ€™โ€™, we will prevail now and eternally.

This Epic Doom Metal masterpiece SCALD has offered, makes me feel really blessed and words are only a slight endeavor to portray its magnitude.

Hail SCALD!!

Bersekeros


Only a few bands enjoy the cult status of SCALD, Russia’s most prolific Epic Metal group. Back in the days prior to the Internet, SCALD was a well kept secret among metal fans, even if you had ever heard the name you couldn’t be sure of its existence. However, with the coming of the new millennium, much of the underground obscurities were brought to the light. Even then, SCALD kept its cult status, a band for the elite listener a rare and obscure epic uncut gem, that kept its status among the underground audience. The light spread onto it during the last couple of years was enough to re-activate the band.

Agyl, SCALD’s legendary vocalist has tragically passed way however the rest of the old guard are here. Among them a new vocalist, none other than Felipe Plaza Kutzbach well known in the doom metal scene as the man behind PROCESSION and CAPILLA ARDIENTE, and it is safe to assume that the burden which falls upon his back is enormous.

“Ancient Doom Metal” is the band’s second album somewhat thirty years after the debut and from the first notes of the title track I was more than certain that SCALD have most been brought back from the spirit realm. The Ancient Will of the Gods returns for vengeance:

The perfect cross between epic era BATHORY and very early CANDLEMASS: slow, heavy with emotionally charged vocals and a nostalgic feeling, “Ancient Doom Metal” is an album that sounds as if it was inspired by stories of old, paintings of warriors and battles, and poems of myths and legend. Songs are long, slow and epic with anthemic choruses and guitar harmonies. Simplistic in their form they sound like stories unfold by ancient bards, both lyrics and music are closely connected: one can not thing this kind of music without the lyrics and vice versa.

The album sounds as if it is the natural evolution of the band’s debut “Will of the Gods is Great Power”. Of course one cannot expect to listen exactly the same sound (with its muddiness and obscurity) as the debut, yet even if it could happen it would be something fake. The sound is clear with an old school feeling and aesthetic.

Musically as I already mentioned they are a cross between BATHORY (“Hammerheart” era) and very early CANDLEMASS. Yet with the addition of Felipe, both PROCESSION and most certainly CAPILLA ARDIENTE appear here and there. Speaking of Felipe he is the perfect fit, although he is younger he sounds as if he shares the same battle scars with the rest of the band.

I know that many will have their objections, yet they should remember that Heavy Metal is a never ending journey. This is a remarkable album closely connected with the bands debut and a integral part of the band’s history. Don’t miss it.

Zippo


โ€˜โ€™Ancient Doom Metalโ€™โ€™ will be released on 26th of July 2024 by High Roller Records and will be available on LP, CD and MC.

Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.

You can pre order both CD, LP and MC here.

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