Kauja Pie Saules

Finally a re-issue from Paragon Records that’s a worthwhile release (sorry, the Rigor Sardonicus and Black Crucifixion releases didn’t cut it for me).

Originally released in 1998 on Mascot Records, this Latvian pagan metal gem is arguably, along with the more infamous Nokturnal Mortum, the godfather of Eastern Europe’s Pagan metal movement that took some national and historical pride and spawned the likes of Obtest, Hate Forest, Loits, Dissimulation and such.

For those new to Skyforger, they play black/war metal with superb folk and ethnic influences including the traditional clean chants hymns of lore that I love and that Hate Forest has also used on Battlefields and so many Viking metal acts have used since. The metal aspect is a sort of grimy blackened thrash metal but with lost of rousing blood pumping riffs rather than beer guzzling structures. There’s a very Bathory-ish feel to a lot of the material making this re-issue feel even more nostalgic.

Starting with “Zviegtin Zviedza Kara Zirgi” (Neighed The Battlehorses), a wonderful clean sung fireside chant that I love, and ending with the epic “Svçtais Ugunskrusts” (The Sacred Firecross), Kauja Pie Saules (The Battle of Saule) delivers 40 minutes of top notch pagan might, wrath and beauty delivered in the band’s native tongue. Not as raw as some pure Eastern European pagan metal, and littered with various injection of flutes acoustics and other woodwinds, Skyforger’s balance of primal war metal and organic ethnicity is perfected on tracks like “Kurđi”, “Kalejs Kala Debesis” (Forger Forged Up In The Sky) and “Kauja Garozas Sila 1287” (Battle At Garoza Forest”, with track like the aforementioned “Zviegtin Zviedza Kara Zirgi” and “Kam Pusat Kara Taures” (Why The Horns Of War Are Blown) providing the superb natural ambience.

Untouched and not re-mastered, and with the original artwork from the Country’s historical archives, Kauja Pie Saules (Battle of Saule) is a lost gem found in its original state and still glistens with national pride and fury.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 3rd, 2006


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