To dub a band as ‘Folk’ actually leaves a lot of room very variation as they combine all other influences with a look to the past instruments and the historic nature of the land. Similarly, Celtic or Viking just denotes lyrical content but style remains drastically different at times. It’s like saying Metal. We have so many subgenres of Metal that to say one band is like another is almost superficial. Kormak the Italian Celtic Folk Metal band have just dropped their first album and to say it’s any of these genres is severely limiting.
The band show a lot of versatility very quickly within the album. Sounding almost like a lighter Opera IX with the vocal stylings of Xandria mixed in with sounds like Omnia or Faun – particularly focusing on flutes. The songs can get quite ferocious as in the title track ‘Faerenus’ and ‘Sacra Nox’, feeling almost like they’re approaching Arch Enemy. The album remains quite experimental as the heavier moments are dispelled with atmosphere and periods of flute solos with moments of harmonious and sometimes haunting voices from singer Zaira de Candia. Faerenus really lends itself to personality. Just because some songs can hold their own amongst the heaviest of sounds, does not mean that that’s where they will stay.
‘The Goddess’ Song’ and album finisher ‘Eterea El’ use soft sounds for an atmospheric touch. Keeping a certain melody that almost loses itself in the open ended songs. The album doesn’t necessarily have no idea of what it wants to be as clearly ‘The Hermit’ has a self-awareness of itself and it’s completely experimental nature. What could be confused with other songs is made richly apparent in ‘The Hermit’, as the song falls into long periods of thematic silence. It almost feels like a bonus track and perhaps most will skip by these periods of silence but one can’t deny its deliberate nature.
This freedom resigns Kormak to be able to have a completely free flowing nature and allows their sound to be very distinct. For these advantages there is also the double ended sword. Charm will get lost in itself and keep those only willing to keep on the course. For all its musical prowess it feels almost as if it’s still experimenting – for better or worse. With all its melodies and ferocity, Kormak can be powerful but lost as a grand and silent tree amongst us.