It doesn’t feel like 2008 was that long ago but in fact, it was a whole seven years ago that Portugese folk metal outfit Gwydion released their debut album Ŷnys Mön! Unfortunately for me, I only recently discovered this band’s music, which was quickly followed by the discovery that they had split in 2014, but nevertheless this is a band you really need to get into if you’re not already familiar with them.
Gwydion take a fairly standard approach with this release, setting the scene with an introductory track that builds up and up in intensity and atmosphere until leading into the first full track Rebirth. The accordion effect on the keyboards is a little overwhelming at times and the vocals are somewhat gung-ho but it is nevertheless a memorable and decent opening to the album that makes you sit up and pay attention.
What is particularly good about Ŷnys Mön is the fact that Gwydion don’t remain rigidly bound to one genre and they also draw in influences from other genres, notably in fourth track Spirals which has a decidedly black metal sound and approach to it, yet it doesn’t sound out of place and the track still sounds like Gwydion with folk metal elements of their sound still apparent in the song.
Ŷnys Mön finishes on a high with track Turning Of The Wheel and I challenge you to listen to this track and not want to sing along, punch the air and nod your head in time to the track because it’s just one of those songs that leaves a real impression on you and the keyboard line in particular is one of those melodies that will get stuck in your head and rattle round for days on end. It’s quite clear that Gwydion saved the best until last with this song and it’s a triumphant end to an excellent album.
It may not be the greatest folk metal album out there, nor is it the most unique. But for what it is, it’s a truly great listen and proved to be a good starting point for Gwydion.