Toronto’s Protokult have been defining folk/pagan metal since 2009 when they released their debut album “Ancestral Anthems”, since then they have created three additional uncompromising and relentless albums with their fifth “Transcending The Ruins” coming out on October 1st, 2020.
Part folk, part metal, part epic and part fun, Protokult fall somewhere in the middle of what you might expect from other bands in this sub-genre. Far too heavy to be considered a ‘jokey-good time drinking band’ even if they have tracks that fall in that category. While also being far too folksy to confuse the heavy metal crowd. It’s an amalgamation of music styles that ends up making much more sense as the near 70 minutes of this album plays out.
Protokult sound like Protokult, nothing more and nothing less.
With the epic folk-melodies and chants of Feed Your Demons, the bouncy Oy Kanada and the hefty hold that Troubled Lad (Slainte Mhaith) has, the dynamic sound of the band really come to the surface. From that kind of grandiose music to another with the hyperactive traditional metal 1516 (Keeper of the Hops) where many a beer will be sunk. The operatic vocals of Rusalke, unfiltered metal purity of Valley of Thorns and grin-inducing folk highlight that is Wenches, ensure this is an album that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Perhaps the most impressive track, simply through imagination and scope though, comes right at the end with Greet the Dawn and Dead New World. Protokult taking a look back at some of the epics they’ve already delivered and saying “we can go bigger”. Which is something they well and truly do while also showing off some the prettiest melodies heard so far. Liable to get a tear forming while also making you feel reflective and hopeful. It’s a very special section and truly, the encapsulation of this album’s greatness.
Protokult – Transcending the Ruins Full Track Listing:
1. Mark of Thunder
2. Feed Your Demons
3. 1516 (Keeper of the Hops)
4. Oy Kanada
5. Troubled Lad (Slainte Mhaith)
6. Na Gryanoi Nedele
8. Valley of Thorns
10. Greet the Dawn
11. Dead New World
Protokult - Transcending The Ruins (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10