Motanka are a Ukrainian outfit formed in 2015, and comprise Viktor Zhalnin (vocals, keyboard, dulcimer), Anatolii Zhalnin (guitar), Sergii Khodorchuk (bass, dulcimer) and drummer Dmytro Diachenko. They are described by the label as playing mystic metal, adding traditional Ukrainian instruments to a classic metal band setting and that by combining ethnic motives, metal music and modern electro-sounds in their music, they remind listeners of ancient times. Apparently, the band took their name from the traditional Ukrainian knitting doll that ancient Ukrainians used for their protection and for communication with ancestors.

All of this is mixed into modern commercial sounds so they remind more of Muse or U2 than folk metal acts, as for the most part the traditional instrumentation is used sparingly, and it almost jars when it comes in, as it is quite different to the rest of the music as there are long passages where they are used virtually not at all, unlike say Korplikaani, and most often I would say they have more in common with Linkin Park than the might Finns. The production has taken the music very much into the heavier commercial area, which is a real shame, as I really would have liked to have heard far more material such as the introduction to “Oy-ty-moya-Zemle” where there is throat singing and a far more interesting take. They may be being pushed by the label as performing with a significant point of difference, but they are not The Hu, by any stretch. For me at least the end result is one of missed opportunity, as if they were closer to their original aims and kept more down that path then this would be an impressive album indeed. Instead, although it is incredibly varied and has interesting moments, it just feels too fractured and less of a whole than it could be.

Rating: 7/10

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/motankaband/
https://napalmrecords.com/

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