Label: Self released
Date: September 25th, 2020
In these dead days, before the long winter nights, from Ukraine, beside the expect snow, comes a new album from a pagan/folk metal band Haspyd titled: “Crossroad of Two Winds” (“Перехрестя двох вітрів”).
Honestly, I’ve only recently heard about this band, which doesn’t diminish my excitement about something new, considering the stale corona story in the world. As a big fan of folk metal, I see how the guys from the band have a good music taste, considering the dragging of riffs from a few well-known folk metal bands.
The Cossack narrative with a Slavic spirit and instruments can never get old. Truth be told, I’ve never seen a people more proud of their roots than our Ukrainian and Russian brothers, where that strong national spirit is the main motive of this album.
Hmm, Ukraine sounds cold, doesn’t it? Now imagine finding yourself in the middle of winter upon a crossroad of two winds? Is it colder? That I don’t know, but I can surely say that while listening to this album, considering its title and with a cup of tea, I can already hear the sound of wind and creaking snow. But, new material, so.. pen, paper, headphones and we can start…
As a person familiar with Svarga’s and Svaskalver’s opuses, what I have noticed from the start is the infallible progressive intro which already leads to battle, while the vocals and lyrics are similar to the before mentioned bands. The thing that caught my ear was the good vocal technique and a stunning transition from clean to growl, which is something that adorns few great singers, among which Oleksandr doesn’t lack behind. The second song with a joyful character takes a Cossack dance as its theme, where I can already see the crowd up on their feet along this dashing melody. It reminded me of a few songs from the album “About Native Land” (“О земле родной”) from the band Grai. The song is a bit monotonous, but with riffs like this it cant be boring.
I’m waiting to see how this would sound in a live setting, surely a good party. The guitar parts have at specially kept me up here because none of them are repeated twice. Otava-trava – for this song’s lyrics and the flute that follows Oleksandr’s vocals, I can quite frankly, from my female perspective, say that they are really emotional. Great position of this ballad is that its in the middle, so it serves as a break for further shredding. I think we will agree that there’s also a big influence of Johan Hegg’s singing technique, which can be heard in the, in my opinion, best song from the album – The Name Giving. No folk metal album can go on without an old man telling tales of his ancestors to his grandchild, which did fit in here nicely before an “Amon Amarth song in the Cossack style”, titled Black Valley. The last song is a cover, and I say it again, a great choice with whom the guys from the band tell us that they can do more, so let’s let the time and Youtube view count join together and do their thing.
In the end I would like to say that the album cover fits in perfectly with the whole theme and an accomplished effect of winter, wind, glorious tales from the Don and cold, but very idyllic times. Someone is always on the crossroad of two winds, two roads, on which our forefathers were, for us. And to add – a crossroad as a place where evil spirits gather in the dark hours, which accompanies the band’s name. All in all, a great story, high-quality album and a nice introduction to winter.