TheMoonAndTheNightspirit-HoldrejtekSome Hungarian folk music anyone? What’s that shaking the head all about, we never did claim to be a noisy metal site, we try and cater for all tastes within reason and it’s always nice to chill out to something a bit different now and again. This is the fifth album of this mystical duo and although to the best of my knowledge the first time I have heard them apart from the odd track it was a style as comfortable as putting on a pair of old faithful slippers. Naturally there are all sorts of instruments involved as the album takes us off on a worldly tour and part of the charm here is working out what Ágnes Tóth and Mihály Szabó are beguiling us with. All song titles and vocals (both male and female) are sung native style so that adds to the mystic qualities of the album rather than leaving you feeling left out. To tell the truth you can just close your eyes and pretend you are being spoken to in Elvish or Pixie tones which add to the fairy tale qualities of the music.

I am not going to copy and paste song titles here but we are taken into an enchanted garden by bird song and the gentle babble of what sounds to me like a wooden glockenspiel or xylophone. It’s completely tranquil and makes you feel like a visitor to a sacred place. As the sky opens (ok I cheated and threw song titles into a translation engine) we are in a sultry, twisting, turning and diaphanous place. The World Music qualities here are very strong and when the lilting vocals of Ágnes enter it’s all very heady and spicy. Mihály adds his low tones in the background to accompany but it is evident that he will have his voice much more in the lead at a later time and not in this track.

The hammered dulcimer is used to great effect on some tracks, I have always found its call captivating and here it is full of mystery especially when combined with slow strings matching its weaving light touch. Everything feels very natural about this, it is in effect quite simple and un-crowded with just the touch of the two musicians and their drifting vocal accompaniments. It allows the listener to drift and float along with them as the trip continues touching on the essence of neo-folk and the charm of music from the likes of everything from Dead Can Dance, to Hagalaz Runedance, Arcana, Stille Volk and even label mates Dornenreich at their most placid. At times they do up the ante and pick up the pace, it’s probably best described as a frolicking one, a bit mischievous rather than urgent and certainly not one with any sense of danger to it. Twisting in a hypnotic fashion like a belly dancer or a dusky gypsy unveiling their charms around a camp fire it’s certainly balmy stuff.

Obviously this is an outfit that I should have been paying more attention to and have some catching up to do but the caress of Holdrejtek has no doubt done exactly what it set out to do and opened up the hidden gateway to another world. I have a feeling I shall be paying further visits now that I have found the way!

(7.5/10 Pete Woods)