Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Skiltron - Into The Battleground (2013)

When the Argentinian based Skiltron released “The Clans Have United” in 2006, they introduced the world to bagpipe fueled folk power metal. I use the term “folk power metal” for the simple fact that a lot of the guitars, singing and drumming is very reminiscent of power metal. When the bagpipes kick in, it’s an aural feast. “This Crusade” is still one of the best folk metal songs in the genre. They really hit their stride with the release of “The Highland Way” in 2010. The album had a much more grandiose sound and was epic as all hell. As far as folk metal goes, “The Highland Way” is an essential album that didn’t get enough recognition. Now three years later, Skiltron is out to make themselves known this time. “Into the Battleground” is a solid album that shows that they mean business.

The album on the whole is heavier than previous efforts. “Lion Rampant” opens with furious drums and bagpipes that immediately suck the listener in. It’s one of the faster songs they have done and it’s a great new direction. “The Swordmaker” is quite possibly the best song on the album. The guitars are catchy and the bagpipe flows flawlessly through the song. “On the Trail of David Ross” is sort of a weak point on the album. It doesn’t really go anywhere and it doesn’t beg to be listened to again. While it is a weak track, it doesn’t drag the album down. “Besieged by Fire” is the heaviest song on the album (besides the gorgeous acoustic bridge) and shows that Skiltron can blow your eardrums out.  “The Brave’s Revenge” is another blistering song that has a very Dio-esque feel to it. “Merrsadh Air” is a beautiful instrumental song that sounds like a soundtrack to an ale swigging party. “Loyal We Stand” is another great track and the second best on the album. The verses are perfectly constructed and the chorus is soaring. It’s not as heavy as most of the songs on the album, but it fits. “The Rabbit Who Wanted to Be a Wolf” and “Prestonpans 1745” have some pacing problems.” "Prestonpans 1745” doesn’t really fit in at the end of the album. It’s very stagnate and does little to finish off the album. “The Rabbit Who Wanted to Be a Wolf” just needed to be pushed up a couple of tracks. It’s a good song, it just doesn’t belong so close to the end.

“Into the Battleground” is better than most folk metal albums in a long time. Is it their best album? Not exactly. “The Highland Way” and “Beheading the Liars” are tied for that. Is it damn good? Yes, most definitely. Skiltron went for a heavier sound this time and they accomplished a lot. The few missteps the album has are overshadowed by all the good they’ve done. It’s got enough of their old sound in there to make longtime fans happy. No other band besides Subway to Sally can rock out with bagpipes like this. It’s not the most groundbreaking album, but it’s better than half the bands out there. With “Into the Battleground,” Skiltron have stayed true to themselves and made something for fans and newcomers alike.


- Brian DuBois

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