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Haggard - And Thou Shalt Trust.....the Seer CD (album) cover



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4 stars I'm not a heavy metal or gothic customer, but I acquired this cd because called my attention the Haggard number of members and the instruments -like cello, oboe, harp, violin, etc.- they played... Well, what a nice surprise! The mixture of medieval, baroque, heavy and gothic made a real impact on me. Similar style like Tristania, After Forever or Theatre of Tragedy (called "The Beauty and The Beast", with the female beautiful voice contrasting male growlings), but much more classical music orientated, and with an impressive variety of instruments. Along only 41 minutes, we can find some heavy themes (don't be afraid, they fit perfectly in the whole opus) and absolutely medieval tracks, plenty of beauty. Despite the growlings (after all, they aren't excessives), here we have a magnificent and original album. Recommended for all progressive ears, specially for those who love heavy or gothic bands with classical influences like Therion or Lacrimosa.
Report this review (#26690)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars NOTHING LIKE IT .!!!

Let me clarify my position on giving rating to prog bands in this site. I have used certain criteria on reviewing any prog album, ie. : composition (structure and songwriting), musicianship, production (sonic quality, mixing, packaging, etc), and performance (delivery). I have used certain standards by which each criterion can be categorized as masterpiece, excellent, good etc. A masterpiece is a masterpiece and an excellent is an excellent, etc. I don't mind if at the end of the review I have given many five stars (masterpiece) if they really fulfill the criteria. Just be it, because they deserve five stars. I don't want to limit using a kind of "forced ranking" in typical corporate world of categorizing employees performance. I don't want to limit my review with "five stars must be very few" paradigm because it's gonna kill music. That's my stand-point. If the album deserves five stars, I will firmly say so.

This album from Germany's band HAGGARD deserves full five stars as when I reviewed using all the criteria, they fulfill all of them as masterpiece work. It has a very tight structure and powerful songwriting combining metal and classical music perfectly. On judging this criterion, I may have been biased as this blend of music is the kind that I have always wanted to hear: a balance between heavy (metal) and soft (classical) music. What an excellent harmony. On musicianship I have found the band has a perfect balance between modern electrical instrument skills as well as those acoustic ones: cellos, oboe, flute, piano, violins, etc. Production is also excellent. The musicians perform their contribution flawlessly. The other real fact: I never get bored listening to this CD and also their live video. The first time I got this CD in 1999 - it was hooked to my CD player for nearly four weeks. The first time I spun the CD, I got problem with the growling style of male singer. But, I tried to respect musician's freedom in this case. Just be it and I finally enjoyed this album in its entirety.

The album comprises five chapters with eight digital tracks:

Chapter I comprises one track "The Day as Heaven Wept" (5:46) starts off with presumably a classical outfit featuring classical guitar, flute and clavinet works with catchy melody, nice harmony. Violin and cello follow as background music. Female voice enters wonderfully in alternate with low register notes male voice and wonderful orchestra followed with stunning piano work. Oh my God . what a catchy classical music melody this part is! The theatrical voice of male singer follows nicely, backed with excellent light orchestra. The male voice turns growling with dynamic drumming and guitar riffs reminiscent of Tony Iomi's (Black Sabbath). This part demonstrates a nice blend between heavy and soft aspects of music with some sudden style change. The female voice (reminiscent of Renaissance's Annie Haslam?) has created gothic metal nuance. This Chapter I flows seamlessly to Chapter II with little attention from listener that it's already in Chapter II.

Chapter II comprises two parts "Origin of a Crystal Soul" (5:57) and " Requiem in D-Minor" (2:09). The first part opens with an electric guitar work augmented beautifully with melodic flute sound and piano, while keyboard fills in the background music. It flows with a female voice line, continues later with music riffs and dazzling drums. Classical music and metal are blended and mixed wonderfully through this track. Those who favor nice melody with classical touch would enjoy the middle of this track where classical piano solo followed nicely with guitar riffs and growl. WOW! Really great! Part 2 "Requiem in D-Minor" as the name implies is basically an instrumental piece; purely classical music featuring flute / oboe and light orchestra. Wonderful composition!

Chapter III comprises two digital tracks: "In a Pale's Moon Shadow" (9:38) and "Cantus Firmus in A-Minor "(2:32). The first part starts with an excellent choirs combined with guitar riffs and pondering drums augmented with some beautiful breaks with piano and light orchestra. Oh my God .. this is truly an adrenalin exploding track! It kills me really! I even enjoyed the combination of growling and classical music with heavy guitar riffs. The harmony produced from a marriage between violin, cello, flutes / oboe and heavy metal riffs plus growling is wonderful and has stimulated me to repeat this track over and over. Especially, when the orchestra part plays staccato using violin and cello. Female and male vocals are used proportionally in this track. The second part "Cantus Firmus in A-Minor " is another classical music exploration by the band. A very good one and it serves nicely as a break after heavy stuffs.

Chapter IV "De La Morte Noire" (8:02) begins with a beautiful marriage between classical piano and heavy music riffs. The melody is steered by piano with some augmentation of oboe and light orchestra. The music turns into faster tempo by the time the male voice line enters the music augmented with female backing vocals. It suddenly turns into quiet passage where simple piano touch fills the music followed with melodic light orchestra. Acoustic guitar also plays during transitions. Oh man . you got to experience yourself with this track! Yeah, GET THE CD now! You won't regret at all! Awesome.

Chapter V comprises two parts: "Lost (Robin's song)" (4:25) and "Outro: A Midnight Gathering" (2:59) . The first part is a another nice combination of heavy and soft where classical guitar plays as rhythm section featuring male and female singers - all are backed with melodic light orchestra using violin, cello and oboe. Sometimes, the acoustic guitar part reminds me to Steve Hackett's work even though it's played with different style. The Outro part is basically the band's exploration using percussion as main rhythm section. It's totally different style of music compared to other tracks.


I don't think it's summarize-able. This album deserves novel-long review. It's an absolute five stars rating. You must GET THIS CD! Keep on proGGiN' ..!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#26693)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Actually what else could I add to these excellent two reviews,especially by Gatot?Bravo, very well written! I've got this CD since a couple of years in my collection in fact and during the time I purchased it I was admittedly deeply into this kind of mix between of gothic metal and classical music. But I've to say after all these years this album didn't lose any attraction for me and I can still fully enjoy it nowadays when my interests are focused elsewhere. My first introduction with Haggard I had in 2001 with "Awakening The Centuries" and soon after I purchased this one here, their first full-length album which is most probably their best and most elaborate work. Just looking at the list of contributing musicians is already highly impressing, one could easily call them a "Ba-Rock Orchestra" instead of a rock band! This is a highly talented and very little known bunch of musicians and just the fact that they're coming (once again) from my home town is keeping me off rating this album with the full score since it might look biased. But there's no other way than rating this work as an excellent one which means 4 stars.
Report this review (#94937)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is quite a difficult album to rate or review. There are such opposite genres featured in this album that one really needs to be open minded and quite ready to receive this album as it is: almost classical and pastoral to heavy metal with some growling as well!

Quite a ride for sure. I prefer the softer moments indeed but let's say that the whole sounds quite different than usual. There is a section of chord instruments, some fine flute and a choir featured on top of some more traditional bass-drum-guitar section.

The music is melodic yet oppressive ("Chapter II") with superb female vocals backed up with scary growling. What a combination! But it works. As bizarre as it may sound. Be aware though: one goes from metal to medieval music within seconds. Never heard such a mix before. It ends up in some sort of chamber partition.

More metal lines are available in the longer "Chapter III: In A Pale Moon's Shadow". But it is still combined with such lovely cello that it makes the ensemble quite appealing. Excellent violin work as well. This album is so varied that you don't have any time to breathe actually. Interesting track by all means.

The intro of "Chapter IV" is an extraordinary and condensed short overview of their whole work: to be able to mix so many different influences in some ninety seconds is quite remarkable. But the whole track deserves a special mention. Some good old Sabbath doom is even featured in this daunting song!

This band was able to offer a rather special album. The biggest challenge will be their next works, since the effect of surprise won't affect them any longer.

Even if there are some short interludes with less interest, I rate this album with four stars for its originality.

Report this review (#247466)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Heavy Prog Team
4 stars I have not kept up with Haggard's progress since the late 90's when this album was released but I can still remember my surprise when first listening to it. The band was then (and probably still is) considered to belong in the underground scene of atmospheric/symphonic metal, sharing musical influences with bands like Therion, Theatre of Tragedy, My Dying Bride etc. While the aforementioned bands have received considerable attention, this was not the case with Haggard.

The cult character of this album was emphasised by its inclusion as a free give-away cd in a Greek metal magazine. The focus on the band's first completed album was given on the symphonic and melodic character rather than the association (if any) with progressive music. Haggard do not deliver something entirely new with this release, but the execution of the music and the compositions work for themselves. The >15-piece band (!!!) produces an amalgam of - popular at that moment in time - atmospheric death/black metal and symphonic/orchestral music. One of the main differences with similar bands in the genre is the inclusion of a full-time orchestra that delivers stunning melodies and remarkable (mainly female) operatic vocals.

Apart from the orchestral aspect, which often gives its place to heavy riffs and death growls (!), there is no constraint of experimenting with baroque, medieval and folk tunes - strangely enough some of them reminded me of Anglagard. Once you believe you are in a sequence of Celtic and bard songs, abrupt breaks of death metal accompanied by orchestral rhythm sections shift the mood to a different dimension. In an pale moon's shadow and De la morte noire, the album's longest and most ambitious compositions, often produce these arresting variations while most of the folk elements seem to appear in the two first tracks that set the pattern for the rest of the compositions.

Extra credit has to be granted to the ethereal and enchanting female vocals that enhance the quality of this release. Requiem in D-Minor and Cantus frimus in A-Minor, being solely classical music compositions, are the most captivating moments in the entire album. Production is another element that highlights the album's cult elements with the guitars sounding similar to early 90s north European death/black albums at times. However, the orchestral aspect of the album does not seem to be affected by this circumstance.

Metal music fans might be reminded of Therion's Theli and Lepaca Kliffoth but also Theatre of Tragedy's Velvet Darkness they Fear that came out a year before this release. Symphonic and folk prog fans might find interesting elements here, mainly in the classical moments of the album but have to bear the death metal growls and brutal male vocals. Nevertheless, this is an excellent example of mixing metal and operatic music in a way that does not deteriorate the importance of each genre.

Report this review (#264293)
Posted Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Review Permalink

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