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Ildaruni - Beyond Unseen Gateways (2021) - Review

Band: Ildaruni
Album title: Beyond Unseen Gateways
Release date: 16 April 2021
Label: Black Lion Records
Genre: Pagan/Folk Black Metal

Tracklist:
01. Haldinini Baushini, Imsheini Tariani
02. Treading the Path of Cryptic Wisdom
03. Perpetual Vigil
04. Boundless Numen: Gardens of Ardini
05. Beyond Subterranean Realms
06. Exalted Vigil
07. Arakha
08. Whence Ravenstone Beckons

Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world, with a recorded history of around 3500 years. Their traditions are rich, and nothing is fairer than exploring and paying homage to this land full of ancient legends. Ildaruni is a pagan black metal band born in these lands, more specifically, in Yerevan. They gladly explore their ancient history. In 2018 they released a demo, Towards Subterranean Realms, which demonstrated quality and production, good work and not a caricature of rough quality like the vast majority of demos. This year on 16 April, their first full-length album, Beyond Unseen Gateways, was released. It is an album that presents songs with a lot of energy. Atmospheric keyboards full of charm, the guitars, the bass and the drums do a quality, cohesive work, and neither instrument overshadows the other. The vocal stands out from the commonplace. The wind instruments, the bagpipes, are meticulously explored and inserted in the context pleasantly. The master responsible for these beautiful instruments is Arthur Atayan. He contributes with the tin whistle on "Haldinini Baushini, Imsheini Tariani", "Treading The Path Of Cryptic Wisdom", and "Towards Subterranean Realms". The bagpipes are on "Exalted Birth". The current line-up of Ildaruni is Robert Meliksetyan and Mark Erskine on guitars, Artak Karapetyan on bass and vocals, and Arthur Poghosyan on drums.

The line-up of the album recordings changed a little. Artak was just with the vocal, Robert and Mark on guitars and keyboards. Garbis Vizoian was on bass, and next to Robert, contributed with the lyrics. Contribution guests Arthur Atayan (that one from the magnificent wind instruments) and Anna Hovhannesyan in the vocals on "Whence Ravenstone Beckons".

Ildaruni made a strike with Beyond Unseen Gateways, almost an hour of cohesive, beautiful, dynamic and contrasting music. The potential of this band is astounding. The guys know very well what they are doing. All the songs are good. I cannot choose my favourites tracks because all of them are pleasurable. All the elements used and the instruments amalgamate, the rhythms are explosive, the riffs are perfect, the vocals are infuriated.  Ildaruni managed to unite melancholy with the air of battle and stands out for not presenting a sickening aspect like some pagan/folk albums. For a debut album, Beyond Unseen Gateways is more than suitable. All musicians worked admirably, none of them overshadowed the work of the other, and this aspect is crucial.

An enjoyable album, a passionate journey to ancient Armenia, highly recommended for connoisseurs of top quality pagan black metal.

The review was written by Felin Frost
Rating: 8,5/10

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