Blackguard – Profugus Mortis

I have known about Blackguard’s music by the way of Profugus Mortis for a number of years. Out of all of the Canadian Folk Metal bands, I always thought they were the tightest and most unique sounding. So when I heard they were signing to Nuclear Blast, I was almost ecstatic. Seemed as though Canadian metal was finally making more of a buzz with Folk Metal music, after Melodic Death with Kataklysm, Deathcore from Despised Icon, and Brutal Death from old men, Cryptopsy. Though disappointed with the name change, their “first” record (they released one record previously as Profugus Mortis) bearing their old name more than delivers the Epic Folk Metal I had spent years enjoying, and hearing before some of my favorite bands.

The entire album, from first track to finale, truly accentuate the self coined term “Epic Metal” extremely well. The addition of Jonathan Lefrancois-Leduc on keyboards shortly before signing with Nuclear Blast, has done wonders for the overall melody of all of Blackguards work to date. Though heavily reliant on these keyboard tracks, they quite simply, add the folk to Blackguard’s metal. Opening track Scarlet to Snow, and soon-to-be-a-music-video This Round’s on Me have a very classical and catchy melody, while complemented by similar guitar wankery by Terry Deschenes, and Kim Gosselin on guitar. One is almost expecting free beer vouchers to rain from the sky when hearing the second track, due to the straight up party nature of the song.

The following tracks Allegiance and I Demon have a more riff based structure, yet retain the epic feel, while still being an intermediate song, less focused on a party or poor Russian dancing feel. Again, solos are abound, without being too overbearing, with I Demon being appropriately more evil sounding, comparable to a Dimmu Borgir sound, almost.  The Sword, contender for soon-to-be-a-music-video, is quite possibly one of the best tracks on the album, with catchy synthesized sections, complex riffs, with out being overly overbearing to the point of Power Metal wankery and foolishness.

Instrumental track, The Journey offers up the almost cliche Folk Metal sound of a lonely forest walk with an acoustic guitar,  almost indistinguishable from a similar Ensiferum track, but a catchy little tune that doesn’t over stay its welcome.  In Time, Cinder, and Vain all follow patterns and trends akin to Scarlet to Snow or This Round is On Me, but still very catchy, particularly the chorus type riff in Cinder, which has been in this reviewers head for weeks.

The Final and epitomizing track, The Last We Wage, turns up the epic and poor Russian dancing to ten, with faux accordion ditties and folk bass beats, enticing many a drunk metalhead to do a jig. However, the folk isn’t too over bearing and as with all the other tracks on the album, a distinct Death Metal Influence is apparent throughout in the riffs and drumming.

My Birthday is in October, and I will finally be turning 19 this year, and fortunately, a local festival his happening that day(Toronto’s NightmareFest), and there is nothing more I could want, then Montreal’s Blackguard AKA Profugus Mortis, playing their distinct form of Folk Metal, with its keyboard heavy, solo and riff rich music to get drunk to and exhibit my VERY poor Russian dancing to.



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