Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Sangre de Muerdago - Deixademe Morrer no Bosque (2013)

artist: San­gre de Muer­d­ago
release: Deixa­deme Mor­rer no Bosque
format: CD
year of release: 2013
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 61:36

Like last year’s tape on Brave Mys­ter­ies, this new full length by the cur­rently Ger­many-based San­gre de Muer­d­ago is an excel­lent reminder of what is great about neo­folk. Though mostly devoid of the psy­che­delic trap­pings of some artists we’ve admired through the years, the band does weld together a num­ber of dif­fer­ent local sounds, with ele­ments taken from vari­ous European areal styles, and per­haps a bit of US neo­folk as well. This is a subtle dif­fer­ence from the pre­vi­ous release, which I clas­si­fied as mostly typ­ic­ally Ger­man. It might be me, but I think I can hear a few more diverse threads picked up here.

It’s hard for me to appraise this album, to be hon­est. On the one hand, I want to give these guys a kick in the pants for stay­ing so close to the by now long-estab­lished genre idiom. The best folk music is about rein­vent­ing tra­di­tion, not about fol­low­ing it to the let­ter, and I feel that San­gre de Muer­d­ago is still doing a bit too much of the lat­ter. Then again, when I com­pare many of these tracks to the late nineties clas­sics like Empyrium, I think San­gre are actu­ally doing it bet­ter. Rather than rein­vent­ing, they’re refin­ing, and I sup­pose that’s worth some­thing.

As such, the vari­ous acous­tic string melod­ies are crys­tal clear, evok­ing a soft mel­an­choly and nat­ural atmo­sphere. There is enough vari­ation in the instru­ments and play­ing styles chosen to add pleas­ant timbre changes into the album, and where suit­able, the songs are sup­por­ted by lovely cello back­ing and the like. The weak point, as is often the case, is prob­ably the vocal depart­ment. The male lead and female and male back­ing vocals are a bit flat, unre­mark­able, but suit­able to the music. How­ever, “The Paths of Man­naz” shows that old pit­fall of the not-quite-so-good guest vocal­ist; a pity, because the track starts like an abso­lute clas­sic.

Maybe I sound more neg­at­ive than I intend to be. Deixa­deme Mor­rer no Bosque is a thor­oughly lovely album to listen to, and San­gre might be very well be the best tra­di­tional neo­folk band on the scene at the moment. That should be enough endorse­ment for lov­ers of the genre. It’s the tra­di­tional part that bugs me, though. Neo­folk is a genre that’s almost too nar­row to sup­port a very inter­est­ing tra­di­tion, and the best artists tend more to dip their feet into it a bit rather than dive in entirely. San­gre de Muer­d­ago have proven that they can mas­ter the form, and that’s worth a lot, but I hope they have some­thing more than this to tell us as well. Next time?

Reviewed by O.S.


01. Deixa­deme Mor­rer no Bosque (5:22)
02. Longo Cam­ino de Des­ap­ren­d­iz­axe (6:04)
03. Soter­ra­dos Baixo as Pedras (5:20)
04. Lon­gas Noites de Choiva Incans­able (3:22)
05. O Nome do Vento (4:30)
06. Haunted Glow (4:59)
07. Men­cer (2:53)
08. Bota­dos dos Bosques (5:04)
09. Des­terro (2:42)
10. The Paths of Man­naz (7:30)
11. Na Pro­cura das Fadas (2:47)
12. Lume (7:09)
13. Abrindo Sendeiros a Traves das Sil­vas (3:54)