Image result for Tsar Stangra Celestial Forger

Tsar Stangra, a Quebec based folk-black metal band released their newest album Celestial Forger on May 26th, and this is definitely an interesting album to say the list. This band sounds like the love child of Behemoth and Killswitch Engage. Mixing black metal vocals and rhythms with chord structures of peppier sounding metalcore styles, this band truly has an interesting sound. And strangely, it works!

Beginning with the first track on Celestial Forger the black metal influence is very obvious. Although the sound is different, the tremolo picking and extensive chords shows where this band’s roots lies. In the third track, “The Dream of The Hero” the European influence stands out with an extremely catchy gypsy-style acoustic guitar featured. Black metal typically is not my thing (I know, I know……I’m writing a review for a black metal band, but the folk-black metal intrigued me so I accepted the assignment), I, however, have a strong liking for this style of black metal.  The one true masterpiece on Celestial Forger is the final track, “The Volunteers of Shipka”, a 14 minute epoch which is one of the best songs I have heard in a very  long while.   It starts out with a beautiful organ and is absolutely outlandish and orchestral, it is impossible to dislike it. Even the black metal vocals fit nicely in this track.

Celestial Forger impressed me despite my disdain for black metal, it is so damn good that Tsar Stangra reeled me.  This is definitely an album that will continue to find itself on my play list, it is difficult to find quality modern orchestral metal and Tsar Stangra delivered exactly that.

1. Celestial Forger
2. The Hanging of Vasil Levski
3. The Dream of the Hero
4. At Farewell
5. Yes, the End is Near
6. The Volunteers of Shipka

Stanislav Stefanovski – Vocal, bass, balalaika
(The Lightbringer, ex-Phosphorus)
Dobrin Stoyanov – Lead guitar
Raphaël Raymond – Rhythm guitar
Mike Raymond – Drums
Marc-André Houle – Keyboards, back vocals, pipe organ

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Bloodrock Rating:  4.0 out of 5.0 axes

Written by Ethan Grason for Bloodrock Media on June 7, 2017