Sunday, 8 June 2014

Hok-key - Znak Biady (2014)

Hok-Key's dramatic new album is something you should definitely hear this year. The Belorussian folk metal band have been producing quality music since 1994, when they started as a comedy metal band. Since 2004 they have ploughed the furrows of folk metal, incorporating violins and keys into their grandiose sound. Znak Biady bursts into life with a dramatic introduction, and the following songs meander between chugging bursts of riff, beautiful folk strings and vocals, and bombastic, Finntroll-esque sections of bouncy melodic metal.

The vocal sound is huge and epic, with vocalist Dmitry Rudovich singing in a clean style, which is quite a departure from previous efforts, where he tended to produce a vicious scandanavian-style snarl. The new style works well with the bombastic production, however, and there are even some female vocals.

There are some unusual melodies, not least in Opener, Ruch, and some wonderful acoustic folk parts that sound very melodic and well considered. If you're looking for the Pantera-inspired riffage that littered previous albums, you may be disappointed, but tracks such as Spadčyna and Horad M have some great heavy parts.

This album, one which is altogether more coherent effort than 2009's Ad Libitum and more epic and natural sounding than previous album, R.I.P., comes highly recommended for fans of symphonic and folk metal alike.

The album will be available on CD, but, in what is quite a generous move, you can download their entire discography, including Znak Biady, from their website at

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