Az A Foygl Un A Goylem Tantsn

So in my 10 or so years of this reviewing gig, I’ve seen the increase in ethnic and cultural influences within metal. Of course, there’s the obvious folk/pagan stuff, but bands like Melechesh, Orphaned Land, Mictlantecuhtl, Negura Bunget and others have brought the world to metal.But never in a million years did I ever think I would hear a band like Dibbukim.

Although hailing from Sweden, Dibbukim play………”Yiddish folk metal.”

I’m going to let that sink in.

Yep. Yiddish metal. All lyrics are in Yiddish the album mixes original songs as well as metal  covers of traditional Yiddish songs. Initially, you’d think that Dibbukim are some sort of shallow gimmick band, but the band consists of members of other respectable folk metal acts like Yggdrasil and Folkearth, so there’s some musical credibility here.

Stylistically, Dibbukim‘s sound is fairly lite, lying somewhere between In Extremo and Korpiklaani as far as the metal backbone is concerned. But of course the structures are all Yiddish in pace and gait. I can’t really explain it, but if and when you hear it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Listen to  Dibbukim‘ s take on “Papirosn”, a traditional Yiddish tango/waltz of sorts, which some may recognize, to get my gist. It’s the same way some bands simply sound ‘Finnish’ or ‘Romanian’.  The main vocals are female, and all clean, delivered by Ida Olniansky with some backing male help here and there. Olniansky isn’t the strongest singer, but she has a somber restrained tone that’s quite sorrowful, even during the more upbeat Yiddish jig numbers, and she’s often helped out with her male associates, covering her weaknesses.

I had to do some research to find out what were covers of traditional Yiddish songs and what are original songs, as my knowledge of Yiddish song craft is fairly limited, but to their credit, Dibbukim blend the two seamlessly, and the casual, non Jewish listener simply wont be able to tell. That being said, after multiple listens and some research the 5 original songs (“Hinter Dem Tol”, “A Mabl Fun Mashke”, “Der Tants”, “Khaloymes” and “Der Rodmakher”) do tend do come across as a bit more forced and traditionally metal. The other 7 cover tracks do have a little more folky bounce and traditional gait (“Csárdás”), but again, that’s only after looking them up and many listens. They also sound much more somber  and hymnal as “A Mol Iz Geven A Mayse” and “Oyfn Veg Shteyt A Boym” show.

There is some decent music here and I can’t fault a band wanting to do something so different in the realms of metal. But to be truly honest, it’s hard to recommend Az A Foygl Un A Goylem Tantsn as more than a curiosity or oddity. Beyond the Yiddish influence, the music is actually pretty average folk/heavy metal that leaves little impact, but I still applaud the ambition and I’m curious if they will stick around and release more records.





[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 27th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Mike Patton and John Zorn have been incorporating klezmer into metal for over a decade.

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