Woodscream – “Octastorium” (Adulruna Records)
Reputably St Petersburg Russia’s best band, Woodscream were formed back in 2006 by guitarist Alexander Klimov, who’s weathered a few snow storms to say the least, given the number of members who’ve been the in band since then. It may well explain why this debut has taken its time to arrive, despite a couple of singles and an EP in between, but I have to say it is well impressive and certainly worth the wait! Woodscream play folk metal but the variations they incorporate from traditional to modern interpretations as well as some songs erring more towards rock, symphonic and even epic are what makes this band so special – not to mention their talented musicianship in pulling it all off. Fronted by soulful female vocalist Valentina Tsyganova who sings in her native Russian throughout and also doubles up on the woodwind recorder, Klimov also adds in a dual scream along with bassist Ivan Budkin who growls alongside magnificently. It all adds up to some very energetic music along with huge amounts of catchiness, especially with those rich folk melodies in abundance over the 8 songs making up this album. Recently adding violinist Svetlana Sulimova (ex-Old Horned Sheep) has only enhanced the sound even more, with effective hurdy gurdy trading between the two women to make one hell of a pagan dance on the likes of the passionate rocker ‘Top (Slough)’, the spell bounding catchiness of ‘Koval (Blacksmith)‘ blended beautifully with its brutal passages n gruff vocals, and the fine rock folk instrumental of closer ‘Witnesses of J‘ where once again the dexterity of the recorder and violin champion the amazing sound of Woodscream. Already touring with well recognized names like Korpiklaani, Arkona, and Suidakra, I hope to see more of this excellent Russian band whose debut has more than touched my heart!