'Winter Wood'

(Wroth Emitter)

MARK: 77/100



Third release for the brand-new Russian label and 'Big Bang' CD for this folk/heavy rock band (not to be confused with the homonymous German doomsters), which took 2 years for the recording, actually quite a long while, but the results reward their efforts for the most part.

After the atmospherical intro "Stinn", containing a recited esoteric ritual, we have the fast and classic metal "Odolen-Trava", rife with epic vocals, pulsing bass lines and raw guitars that suddenly make way for a flute solo and then a keyboards one; the vocals become softer and get overdubbed, the keyboards gently walk their paths before a guitar solo and another flute one; the end is in a vocal crescendo. An excellent and gritty song.
"Javir" contains guest female vocalist Marina Sokolova's intervention together with the male ones; this song is the core of Tumulus' folk soul as she sings in a very Eastern style (probably Siberian) and there're also some balalaika notes, a flute reminding me of the Andes' that solos and even 2 at the end for an extremely particular song that's gonna divide the public; either you'll love it or hate it.
A smooth bass and an acoustic guitar open "Morok Usriev", basically a mid-tempo with reckless evolutions and vocals once again quite pining and refined as for the overdubbing.
Raise your fist like a proud hero for "Krada" has arrived! This composition is close to Holy Dragons and the early Iron Maiden, with Jarovslavl's axeplayer Igreny matching his acrobacies with a rocky drumming.
An old track excerpted from the demo "Va Luzen" is "The Thread" in which keyboardist Ju Vigdis takes the lead vocals over on which Andreay Zolotarev's hallucinatory samples are added. His singing is very good too and I did appreciate the effects he chose to manipulate his voice in so threatening a way. There're a great deal of dark passages and only for a few seconds does a glimmer appear. Definitely the most negative and gloomy side of the 5-piece.
All of a sudden the atmosphere changes with the cheerful and lively tunes of "Tam, gdie sjili sviristieli", later attacking the listener rapidly and throbbing; some electro-techno keyboards lines follow later and then the never tired flautist and singer Kuchma (a relative of the corrupted Ukrainian politician?) comes in again, alternating his instrument with energic vocals; the drum work is performed well and effectively as in the rest of the CD, but the percussion sounds aren't natural at all and unfortunately sound like the ones of a drum machine. This is a typical fault of many Russian recording studios and it's a shame they spent so much time in an obsolete studio. However, the song is concluded by an Oriental melodic break, wonderful danceable progressive keyboards lines and a couple of guitar solos before an irresistible final assault. I'm convinced this is their best song.
"Va Luziech" is a metal fairy tale, delicate and evocative, like a journey through an enchanted wood in Neverland, while "Resnoti Sonth" shows Marina Sokolova's vocals one more time duetting with Kuchma's high ones fading away at the end; one of the heavier songs luckily devoid of Classic metal stereotypes.
The epicvocals and the genial arrangements make this opus unique, as well-shown in the title track, closed by a marvellous ride and whose lyrics are based on the poem "Frost the Red Nose" by Nikolai Nekrasov.
The closure is entrusted with the hard psychedelic folk "Obieriet", taken from the '99 demo "Krada"; the recording of this last pearl of Cossack metal is professional too and just a bit lower.

I dig the logo and the artwork very much, while I can't tell you anything about the lyrics, almost all in Russian. Anyway, if you don't pay too much attention on the cold tom-tom sounds and you're looking for a folk different from the main Viking current, Tumulus might be the band for you. But be prepared to listen to them more times and your patience will be repaid, as every time you'll find out new particulars hidden in the remote corners of their compositions.


E-mail: tumulus@list.ru