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The Pitch: Arachnophobia Records presents the third album from Polish folk-influenced black/prog metal act Jarun. “Sporysz is a story about death and madness, humans and nature, and the transformation of seasons. It’s a kaleidoscope of thoughts and words, and memories based on deep and serious life experiences.” FFO: Opeth, Hath, OdetoSun

What I Like: I covered Jarun‘s lauded sophomore album Pod niebem utkanym z popiołu in 2015, and back then I called them “a black metal act with a penchant for Opeth’s acoustic folk” with “some lovely arrangements that are equally reminiscent of Neil Young and Led Zeppelin.” This description still holds true for Sporysz. The guitarwork is highly reminiscent of Åkerfeldt’s, though the vocals are in a higher register and there is distinctly more folk atmosphere. If you miss the days of albums like Still Life and My Arms Your Hearse, but also enjoy atmospheric and proggy black metal, this is the album for you.

But the band has also matured a bit in the past 2 years. Clean vocals have come forward, and they add a lot to the overall compositions. My primary complaint of the band’s previous work was that the vocals can become dull in their consistency. With the newfound dynamic between harsh BM snarls and more traditional folk singing (all in Polish, mind you), each song delivers further rewards to those who stick around through the longer runtimes. At times it reminds me of a more straightforward Aenaon, especially on the fantastic titular opener.

Critiques: The second half of the album isn’t quite as strong as the first. In particular tracks like “Wichry” are comparatively less interesting than the first three.

The Verdict: While consistency is still a bit of an issue for Jarun, overall the band continues to bring what made them great to begin with while also elevating themselves to a higher level. We may very well have a new extreme progressive act that can rival the legacy of their peers if they keep at it.

Flight’s Fav’s: Sporysz, Powidoki, Jesień wieczności

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Flight of Icarus FlightofIcarus is a father, licensed counselor, and full time metalhead. When he is not working and spending time with family, he is writing furiously to promote underground bands on his own site, Metal Trenches. He believes staunchly in writing only constructive reviews, and his favorite bands include Dark Tranquillity, Enslaved, Poison the Well, and Deftones. You can also buy his ebook, The ABC’s of Black Metal.