Graveland’s “1050 Years of Pagan Cult” album consists in selected old tracks of Rob Darken’s project. They are presented here with a new and more elaborate production, which makes them lose much of their original primordial crudeness. Nonetheless, the new production arrangements created more ambiance and gave this pagan warrior’s journey a more epic touch.
Rob Darken stated “I have decided to re-record those tracks again with a new line-up, consisting of very talented musicians, to show the true strength of Graveland’s melody and spirit!“. And basically that’s what this new release is all about. So in a total of 50 minutes we can find classics such as: “The Gates of Kingdom of Darkness” (from Celtic Winter album), “Thurisaz” (from In the Glare of Burning Churches album), “At the Pagan Samhain Night” (from Carphatian Wolves album), “Born for War”, “Black Metal War” and “Thousand Swords” (Three track from Thousand Swords album)
In this album Rob Darken (vocals and keyboards) was joined by Sigrunar (drums) and Mścisław (guitars and bass). Comparing with the previous productions, Graveland unites the strengths of each track and slightly transforms them to gain melody, rhythm and power. The strong point of “1050 Years…” is undoubtedly the production and the recycling of the best riffs and beats of the original production. However, it consequently lost much of its dramatic and oppressive atmosphere.
You will notice significant differences in the older tracks of the band. Those who remember the raw sounding keyboards in “The Nigth Full Moon”, will notice that Graveland took advantage of its notoriety and developed them to play longer. This change provided the melodic touch to the record. Having in mind this same concept, the keyboards were introduced in the “For pagan and heretics Blood” track as well.
“Born for War” will be recognized for the fantastic riffs of the previous recording but great rearrangements in the track are noticeable. “Thousand Swords” and “Black Metal War” are beautiful, but very poorly produced in the original versions, so you should certainly enjoy listening to them with the better quality synths.
Mocking the adoption of Baptism ritual in Poland by Prince Mieszko stands out as a pagan flag in this record. The album is delivered in fantastic editions, like the hardcover digibook with 22 pages booklet comprising band photos and the limited wooden box edition (222 copies of which the first 100 copies include an exclusive t-shirt).
Overall, “1050 Years Of Pagan Cult” is a great way to bring back some of Graveland’s best tracks, give them a more powerful arrangement and let them live in all of their glory.