Gather round, folks, and I shall tell you tale. An epic hypothetical, it begins on what at first seems an ordinary and familiar night out at the pub…

You’re walking briskly through the woods to the local tavern. After a long day of hunting witches and relieving goblin merchants of their protection money, you’re thirsty. You check in your crossbow and cinquedea to the coat check wench and head straight to the bar for a glass of whiskey and an oak mug filled to the brim with ale, mead, rum, or whatever they were drinking in any given episode of Penny Dreadful.

You’ve entered just in time to see a group of minstrels playing. A band you’ve never heard before. Few have; they’ve only formed within the past year. Nonetheless you’re completely entranced by their consistent melody and musicianship, you understand and can identify with these brooding but upbeat folks. Their set ends and the other patrons all go back to their haughty conversations and toasts to themselves – except for you. You want to hear more from this band. You want to know more about this band.

They are Italian newcomers KormaK, and the above anecdote was in fact the scenario playing in my mind during my first listen to lead single The Goddess’ Song. From what I’ve read about the debut album, ‘Faerenus’, this is the intended instinctual response to hearing the music provided; to become lost in a fabled world of wonder and madness.

With a distinctive folk metal style reminiscent of bands like Ensiferum and Finntroll, along with album art that would give the little girl from The Exorcist the heebie jeebies, you know you’re in for one hell of an adventure. And if you thought my aforementioned fantasy of just one of their songs was concise, we’ve barely scratched the surface…

‘Faerenus’ opens with an ominous 60-second intro Amon, followed shortly by the victorious riffs of March of Demise, a song that gives the acoustic guitars, leads, and vocals the opportunity to flutter before leaving room for the rest of the album to soar.

You can’t discuss KormaK, or even mention them in passing without making note of founder, flautist and vocalist Zaira de Candia and her unbelievably diverse vocal range, whether it’s the melodic singing overlaid on July 5th, the epic bellows dominating the title track Faerenus, or the ethereal operatic vocals that haunt Sacra Nox.

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At 22 minutes long, The Hermit lives up to its title with a certain departure from the rest of the album; the middle 17 minutes has been left completely silent. Your guess as to the objective of this tactic is as good as mine, perhaps it’s intended to let the mystery either settle or build on our piquing curiosity.

With most of the intensity featured in the first half of the album on tracks like March of Demise and Sacra Nox, ‘Faerenus’ mellows out after its title track with the infectious Patient N° X and ending with the surreal lullaby Eterea El, after which we at last wake up.

Our epic fantasy comes to an end, but remains in our heads even after just one listen of ‘Faerenus’. Each subsequent playthrough of the album opens up another world of imagination, fables, and madness. Welcome to Faerenus.

Get your hands on KormaK’s ‘Faerenus’ via their Bandcamp HERE.

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