Review: Sangre de Muerdago (2012)


artist: San­gre de Muer­d­ago
release: San­gre de Muer­d­ago
format: MC
year of release: 2012
label: Brave Mys­ter­ies
dur­a­tion: 40:33

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Next to Stone Breath, Por­tuguese San­gre de Muer­d­ago is the other band rep­res­ent­ing Brave Mys­ter­ies’ for­ays into neo­folk. Where Stone Breath cov­ers a deeply Amer­ican side of the genre, San­gre de Muer­d­ago is firmly European in style.

Whereas one would expect some­thing quite Iberian from such a band, per­haps in the line of pro­jects such as San­gre Caval­lum or The Joy of Nature, San­gre de Muer­d­ago takes a lot of influ­ence from a more Ger­man style, and their stay in Leipzig seems to have rubbed off. Major touch­stones for this album are Empyrium’Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays and the music of artists like Dark­wood or For­seti.

This com­bin­a­tion - ‘ger­man’ neo­folk with Por­tuguese and Galician influ­ences and lyr­ics - is one of the factors that pre­vents me from dis­miss­ing San­gre de Muer­d­ago as the ump­teenth effort in a genre that is often a little too tra­di­tional in nature: not neces­sar­ily loyal to folk tra­di­tion in gen­eral, but to its own nar­row post-industrial idiom. Besides the fact that the lan­guage col­ours the music dif­fer­ently, the album isn’t hindered in the slight­est by the excel­lent com­pos­i­tions, how­ever loyal to the genre they may be.

The band man­ages to make the tried and true combo of voice, gui­tar, wood­winds, and strings sound rel­at­ively fresh, and that is no mean feat. The lovely calm of the two open­ing tracks con­strasts nicely with the more intense parts that dot the centre of the album, and the atmo­sphere of a gentle, romantic nat­ur­al­ism is con­stant through­out.

Though they’re not push­ing the neo­folk genre to any new levels, San­gre de Muer­d­ago do deliver a solid album, and one that is a joy to listen to: autum­nal, arboreal, and grace­ful. It’s also a debut tape that holds much prom­ise for the future, and per­haps we will hear the band tran­scend the genre lim­its on its fol­low­ing releases.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

A1 O Ceo Beixo Os Meus Pes (2:38)
A2 Vel­los Cam­inos De Vel­las Arbones (5:02)
A3 Cara Ter­ras Lonxanas (3:15)
A4 Sonos (3:22)
A5 Arras­trando As Cadeas (6:27)

B1 Onde As Almas Van A Mor­rer (6:12)
B2 Madeira De Teixo, Pedra De Castro (5:33)
B3 O Home Dos Cornos (2:23)
B4 Adeus Meus Ami­gos (5:41)