Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Friday, August 12, 2022

Review: Pillaging Villagers – Pillaging Villagers

Label: Self released

Date: March 11th, 2022

It’s just a matter of false advertisement. Or rather incomplete advertisement. When I read “thrash crossover folk”, it sounded iffy right from the start. I mean, nothing like that has been attempted so far. At least not that I’ve heard it. So, it could’ve gone two ways. It could’ve been an absolutely original piece of music that will sound amazing and shatter many prejudices of the metal world. Or it could’ve been an awkwardly assembled Frankenstein’s monster that needs to be annihilated from the individual’s memory.

However, Mr. David Frazer, the one steady member of this group, has found a door number three. Simply, he made a mistake in the press release. Though “Pillaging Villagers” relies on thrash metal and crossover, it does so in minimal extent. Do not expect some form of folkish Anthrax, DRI or Toxic Holocaust. Or Dropkick Murphys for that matter, though a pinch of their own brand appears, too.

Primarily, on this record I’ve heard melodic death metal in the vein of ferocious early days of Children Of Bodom. I’m even thinking of the cover tracks they’ve done throughout their career. It’s this sharpness that they’ve introduced at the end of the 1990’s that prevails here. Coupled with Celtic folk, of course, which is the second dominant force in the Pillaging Villagers’ sound. Even these rugged screams seem to stem from Alexi Laiho’s legacy.

There’s also a touch of Cradle Of Filth in there. Most obviously in the faster sections and the use of an organ (at least I think it’s an organ). Again, with a strong link to Irish folk music.

Then again, you get these gang vocals on several occasions which clearly claim crossover thrash metal has a place in Mr. Frazer’s heart. Another aspect of “Pillaging Villagers” that is absolutely thrash metal induced are the lyrics. These are formed into a concept story which calls for social justice from a perspective of a medieval uprising of the oppressed farmers and villagers. In that respect, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Pillaging Villagers” was influenced by “Les Misérables”. Truthfully, if the novel was set in the medieval Ireland, this record would be a perfect soundtrack for a musical theater.

By the way, the lyrics are absolutely great and mixed with music, such as described above, give out an epic feeling to the whole. With the added majesty of the cover picture, “Pillaging Villagers” is a complete package that cannot leave you indifferent. Speaking of which, I would prefer if the picture was colored, given the amount of details it contains. Of course, a release on vinyl is a must with such artwork.

But anyway, this debut album by a one-man band, supported as it may be by session musicians, is a glorious success. This pillaging villager may have misled us a bit with the genre classification, but within him lays a creative giant that was unleashed with much more than just a pitchfork at hand.

How is it possible that no label has taken this under its wing? I’ve got a feeling they will fight tooth and nail for a future re-release.