Цар Стангра
Небесният ковач

Though hailing from Quebec, Canada,  Цар Стангра (translating to ‘Tsar Stangra’) and founder Stan Stefanovski would have you imbuing the legions of Bulgar cavalry sweeping across the steppes to confront the invading Byzantines…

The Ukrainian/ Eastern European vibe is strong here with the likes of Obest, Drudkh, Negura Bunget, Nokturnal Mortum etc, flowing through their veins with impressive pagan black metal delivery. The 6 rangy songs contain plenty of Bulgarian/native/ethnic melodies and elements (some keys, some strings, some pipes, some folky female singing) to add to the black metal backbone, but it’s not overdone or too folky or bouncy, retaining a sharp black metal snarl.

The production is crisp and clear, not being too raw or primal, but certainly not a big over produced sound. The overall effect is a solid album, that has no real low points but no real high, memorable points either. The consistent, solid song writing never really ventures too far from melodic black metal roots, with the ethnic elements and synth being used sparingly well, but  don’t go looking for bombastic , epic synths, regal choirs or soaring choruses (“На прощаване” teases though). But there is not that truly rousing song or riff that truly makes me want to take up my saber.

There are however, some nice melodic moments scattered within though, such as the consistent dancing melody line in steady opening title track, the solo in “Обесването на Васил Левски”, the Balkan jig of “Сънят на героя”, female vocals in interlude  “Да, близък е краят”, or the album closing moments of 14 minute “Опълченците на Шипка”, with its austere male vocals.

Цар Стангра is far more effective when utilizing these Balkan elements, as they add a authentic air to the sound that is otherwise a simple, standard pagan black metal assault, and if they continue to develop those elements, ill be excited to hear what comes next.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
December 19th, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: JLKOWAL

    So I am confused – these people are Ukrainian or are they Bulgarian is it a matter of “SAME DIFFERENCE”?


  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    They live in canada, they sing about Bulgaria, they sound like Ukranian bands. Clear as a crystal right?


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