Pillaging Villagers
Pillaging Villagers

When was the last time you smiled from ear to ear while listening to a metal album? I mean a full-on, ear-to-ear grin, that you ‘felt’ in your soul?

For me in 2early 2022, it’s every time I listen to the self-released debut from the self-proclaimed ‘peasant metal’ band from Wisconsin, Pillaging Villagers, a DIY project consisting of founder/vocalist  David Frazer, drummer Jason Hirt (Ghost Bath), guitarist Brian Koenig (Lords of the Trident), and bassist Adam Tucker (A Scanner Darkly).

So what’s the recipe for this giddy feeling of joy in the otherwise grim realm of metal? Well, it starts with a Celtic/Irish/-tinged flagon of pipe-fueled, punky, sing-along bar tunes akin to Dropkick Murphy’s and Flogging Molly. Then it adds a gravelly, gritty mix of thrashy death metal ( I’m reminded of Torture’s Storm Alert, especially the vocals), and even folk/black metal like Ensiferum,  and mixes all together in a working-class, tankard swilling, anthemic ho-down of epic, metallic proportions.

I’ll just let you just listen to the above opening number……….

Done? How fucking cool is that?  And after that, it gets better with “We Remember”, which is somehow even more rousing. From there, we get a little Church-y, black metal keyboard tinkling for the rambunctious, “The Count” then a little mid-album lull of straight-up thrash numbers with the likes of “The Bishop”, the fun as shit, thrash romping “The Emperor”.  Then “The Crisis” drops an 8 minute, slower, moody number at the album’s midpoint before the utterly fucking glorious “Voices to the Sky” signals the album back end returning to the more chorus-filled, sing-along, punky energy of the first few cuts. And I’m grinning again.

Piped-filled barn burners “Burn the Monastry”, “Smash the Factory” and “Crush the Enemy” ( I fucking DARE you not to sing along to the ‘whoaaa-oooooh’ part)  will have you chanting along with a torch and pitchfork, while “Deady to Die” is a goddamn rousing black/thrash/punk rager mixed with a soccer anthem. Album ender “Freedom is Ours” closes things out as it started with an absolutely stirring call to arms that will have you ready to rise up and overthrow your spouse, boss, the city council, or the government (but not in a Jan 6, insurrection kind of way… in case the FBI reads this site).

The only downside of this killer release is that as of this writing this is a Bandcamp/digital-only release, so go buy this fucker en masse so we can get a CD version.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 8th, 2022

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