Aiumeen Basoa

Iraganeko Bide Malkartsutik

Written by: EW on 20/08/2010 22:33:13

It seems no country wishes to be left out of the folk metal explosion of recent years, with acts emerging from hitherto unknown metal locations to espouse their love of metal and local, traditional folk melodies. Of course this point is lost on the many who simply repeat the actions of their heroes from other regions, but with Aiumeen Basoa from the Basque region of Spain there are no such issues. Despite apparently forming way back in 1994 yet with just one previous split release to their name thus far the band can largely be labelled a product of the recent folk generation, a fact clearly borne in listens to "Iraganeko Bide Malkartsutik" with it's flirtations between symphonic, proggy folk and faster moments of nigh on black metal.

While the basic features of AB's sound might not suggest of anything too ground-breaking, the combination of unusual instrumentals, lyrics in the Euskara or Basque tongue and some heavily developed song structures do at least ensure an identity is fairly quickly spawned in the long songs throughout. Opening with a feint and summery feel is not what I'm used to with metal albums but in "Kantauriko Trabain Erruak" we get just that before the shackles are soon unleashed for the first of many crossovers between the varying styles on show. To their credit, in this opener and "Jentil Odola" work the combinations and bridges of genres well, not sounding as uncomfortable in their use of harsher sounds that others like Ironwood have in their own attempts, but the highlights of the piece are always guaranteed to be the cheerier folk sections. Korpiklaani may be an obvious comparator for the violin but given what else AB offer their symphonic feel echoes of Orphaned Land mixing with the riffery of Forefather through uncomfortably named songs like "Ahintzinako Guduen Oroimenak" and "Akelarrearen Sua" that do have a habit of drifting on much longer than a band of greater experience would have allowed.

Sitting here trying to put to words exact reasons for not grading "Iraganeko Bide Malkartsutik" higher than the below mark is only down to insufficient moments of pure greatness with which to take away from the experience. The composition and passion are utmost and professional and Aiumeen Basoa's songcraft is evidently deeper than almost any other 'folk metal' band I've come across, yet even with the Green Carnation/Opeth prog metal meeting Enslaved folk/black metal meeting Orphaned Land exotic folk-isms the feel of a 'complete' record is just missing. That always being the indicator of a truly great band, Aiumeen Basoa have at least built a very solid base from which to climb to those levels on their second album, assuming of course that next one isn't the same 16 years in the making.


Download: Jentil Odola, Kantauriko Trabain Erruak
For the fans of: Orphaned Land, Green Carnation, Opeth
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.05.2010
Erzsebet Records

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