Recorded in Spring 2005 at Abellion Studio and Winterized Studio. Mixed and mastered at Winterized Studio by Thomas and Lafforgue. Released on Holy Records, May 2005.
So, this past week I’ve learned that Hantaoma is Gascon for ‘ghost’, and is actually pronounced fantauma, and that Gascon itself is a dialect of Occitan, a Romance language that is spoken predominantly in Gascony and Béarn in southwest France. School lesson over, back to the metal…
Having listened to this album a good number of times over the last week I still can’t quite decide whether I like it or not. My interest in folk metal has for a long time started and stopped at Skyclad,—particularly the first album which is simply folk-thrash genius—and to be honest has not gone much beyond that. I have a few The Clan Destined tracks (Martin Walkyier’s band after Skyclad) and, of course, Splinterskin but nothing more. And it’s not that I don’t like folk music per se, I have plenty of folk-related music (Richard Thompson, Jethro Tull, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Hedningarna), it’s just … *shrugs*
There are moments on this album that I do appreciate, but as I write this I now realise that I’m on track seven already and I can’t quite remember what’s happened so far. A bit like when you’re driving and you suddenly realise that you can’t remember the last five miles.
There are so good, solid metal riffs such as during opener “Vent Follet” and “Hanaoma” (track 3) but about half way the traditional folk instruments kick in and that’s where I start to screw up my face a little. It’s not that it doesn’t go well with the music… it’s just *shrugs* at times it has a tendency of sounding like something from Fiddler on the Roof.
Ironically, my favourite track on the album is an acoustic one, and possibly the one that sounds most like a folk song. “Negra Sason” (track 8) has quite a rumbling Russian feel. Or as my son Isaac (4) put it, “that sounds like when the [The Hobbit movie] dwarves are throwing the things”.
And so, having listened through once again I’m still in two minds about the album. It’s definitely not something that I would switch off if it came on but I’m not sure I’d go in search of it unless asked.
That said, that may well be a possibility give that my son Joshua (6) has just told me that he gives the album a full 10/10. His younger brother and I (despite the dwarves throwing things) give it a (still respectable) six.
Review score: 60%