Expertly crafted, “Where Greater Men Have Fallen” continues the legacy of Primordial and their unique Celtic infused Folk Metal. Delivering 58 minutes of engaging tracks that need to gimmicks to appeal to the listener, the band does a great job in keeping their sound and legacy intact with a very high quality release. Any fan of the band will be greatly pleased by this album that brings us some memories of the band’s epic: “Spirit the Earth Aflame”.
The head banging session starts early with the crushing opening of the album’s title track, we love how Primordial has always managed to deliver Folky sounding music with heavy riffs and not a plethora of bagpipes and similar elements. A.A. Nemtheanga’s vocals gracefully lead the band’s musical onslaught with great vocal melodies that perfectly fit the mood of the songs. Make no mistake, there are plenty of heavy sections for the fans that like the harsher side of the band, as we can see on tracks like “Babel’s Tower” and “The Seed of Tyrants”, as well as sprinkled around in between epic melodic passages.
With a thunderous release, today we have Eluveitie and their premier Folk Metal in the shape of “Origins”. Featuring over 55 minutes of music, the band further develops their sound while retaining their signature instrumentation in 16 action filled tracks. With no signs of slowing down after the departure of their longtime violinist Meri Tadic, the band delivers one of their finest releases to date.
Quickly exploding into action with “The Nameless” after their intro track, the band delivers a catchy Folk tune filled with Bagpipes and contrasting crushing guitars. The band’s catchy atmosphere is nicely implanted in epic tracks like “From Darkness”, “Celtos”, and the melodramatic “Virunus”, a personal favorite of us. Chrigel’s vocals are as good as ever and his mastery of instruments like Mandolin, Ulieann pipes, etc. really put the band above all others that rely on computer generated instrumentations to fill their sound.
As one of the most polarizing bands in the world, Alestorm returns with their whacky pirate metal with “Sunset on the Golden Age”. Setting sails with 11 very odd tracks, the band continues to expand their sound with some new influences, and further refines their craft with more direct and enjoyable anthems of drinking, pillaging, and some more drinking. If you have always been a supporter of the band, you will notice how well they have evolved into an outfit that crafts very interesting songs that are quite technically proficient as well as engaging and catchy.
Instantly making an impact with the festive “Walk the Plank”, we have a traditional Heavy Metal-influenced song that features thunderous guitars and a chorus section that will make you raise your fist and start chanting. The album’s first stand-out single: “Drink,” is a superbly crafted catchy tune that will make you drink alcohol non-strop. Featuring several ‘wenches’ in the official video of the song, this is one hell of a party song that you don’t want to miss out on.
With the whole Folk Metal craze finally dying down, it is time to see who the real players in the genre are; and Metsatöll is one of the surviving ones. With “Karjajuht” they continue their legacy of crushing releases with just enough Folk elements surrounded by pouncing guitars and heavy melodies. Showing their strengths are no gimmicks, this release delivers 12 head banging anthems that will not be forgotten.
Opening with great energy, “Külmking” nicely blends an acoustic opening with pummeling guitars and a heavy dose of melody. The band’s sound is intact and they even sound a bit more aggressive than on their previous release. The metal foundations are strong Scandinavian Death Metal pillars that nicely blend in with the ingenious instrumentation of Lauri and Atso’s percussions. Songs like “Lööme mesti” and “See On See Maa” are perfect examples of this.
With crazy bands creating their own genres like Alestorm’s Pirate Metal, and others just mixing completely random music into brilliant mash-ups Ruskaja and the Leningrad Cowboys, Trollfest comes to occupy the niche of Troll-based Folk Metal with their extremely catchy, but ultimately bizarre music. With Kaptein Kaos, the band brings their music to new heights with 13 crazy songs that while very chaotic and totally mad; they seem to be quite catchy and enjoyable.
Using their own language for the lyrics (trollspråk), they create short short songs filled with odd instruments (banjo, accordion, and sax). The madness starts slowly in the album’s intro “Trolltramp” and keeps escalating as we go through songs like “Kaptain Kaos”, “Vulkan”, “Ave Maria”, and “Filzlaus Verkundiger”. The band’s theatrical sound is quite intense and their instrumentation makes their music quite catchy an enjoyable. They remind us of a less serious version of the Leningrad Cowboys.
Delivering their first album on their new label, Metal Blade Records, Faroese Metalheads Týr keep improving on their signature sound with “Valkyrja”. Featuring 13 tracks of super catchy Progressive Viking/Pagan Metal, the band shows no signs of resting in their laurels and manages to build on their legacy with a near perfect release that will captivate all fans of the band. For over 59 minutes, the listener will be treated to Týr’s signature riffing and the charismatic singing of Heri Joensen.
Opening with the strong “Blood Of Heroes” we get the traditional Týr riffing onslaught provided by Heri Joensen and Terji Skibenæs. With more epic vocal melodies and catchy arrangements, “Mare of My Night” comes out to be one of the standout tracks in this release thanks to that headbanging/chanting alongside vibe the song features. Things get more melancholic with the lush female vocals of guest Liv Kristine on “The Lay of Our Love”. In this track the band shows a different side to them, delivering a mellow track with excellent guitars and very tight drumming.
Making its way from Italy, today we have Diabula Rasa and their latest full-length release “Ars Medioheavy”. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, they play a very well balanced Folk Metal that is not too heavy, but it is heavy enough to keep people headbanging for a while. In a scene so saturated by many shitty bands that want to play Folk Metal, it is quite refreshing to hear a release that is both catchy and unique, never abusing any of their traditional elements and delivering a very warm and authentic sound.
The album opens in very high spirits with the superb “Ghirondo”. The catchy foundations of this track make it very engaging and the traditional instruments give it that authentic feeling, all enhanced by subtle orchestrations that greatly improve the atmosphere of the track. As “Tsanich” and “Cataclism” roll around, we start to appreciate the band’s old school Rock/Heavy Metal foundations that are very present in the tracks making them super catchy and quite engaging without being overly heavy or fast paced. This is one of the best elements that Diabula Rasa presents in their music.
Hailing from Chile, today we have the folk version of Alcest: Bauda. This three-piece ensemble creates a very majestic unique sound when combining brilliant Post-Rock/Metal structures with lush acoustic guitars. “Euphoria…Of Flesh, Men and the Great Escape” is one of those releases that catches your attention thanks to how well-crafted the music is and how the atmosphere draws you into the band’s sound.
Opening with a very straight forward Post-Rock/Metal track titled “Ghosts of Phantalassa”, the band wastes no time and after the momentum is built, tracks like “Humanimals” and “Silhouettes” beautifully combine the aggressive Post-Metal sections with the lush Folk elements, something we haven’t quite heard before and Bauda deserves props for taking a daring risk and pull through successfully. With these two tracks clocking at around 20 minutes, the album really pulls all the stops since the opening songs featuring a little bit of everything neatly packed in cohesive songs.
Perfectly mixing aggression and melody, today we have Canada’s Catuvolcus and their amazing latest release “Gergovia”. In this exciting album the band perfectly blends elements of Pagan/Folk Metal with Black Metal and delivers nine tracks of pure melodic chaos. After setting a Folky mood with “Elaver”, the band quickly gets down to business with the crushing “Par monts et par vaux”.
Filled with extremely aggressive vocals and blasting guitar riffs, this release has no shortage of epic moments that are just too many to mention. The drumming keeps things running smoothly, but it’s the sense of melody the band has that keeps the songs being different and extremely good. A clear example of this is the very uplifting “Le colline de Chanturge” and its lush intro followed by waves of powerful riffs. Reminding us of bands like Mythotin and Himinbjorg, Catuvolcus is one of the most intense and skilled bands we have listened to in a while.
The Finish masters of Folk Metal return with another hard-hitting dosage of brilliant music that while to as good as “From Afar” it is still pretty damn entertaining. Pummeling through ten tracks, “Unsung Heroes” has very similar vibe to the band’s earlier releases: “Ensiferum” and “Iron”, but with a much more capable vocalist in Petri Lindroos. The thing we love about Ensiferum is that the band does not dwell on trying to fit millions of instruments into 4 minute tracks, but they rather focus on crafting epic melodies with the basic guitar, bass guitar, and drums combination.
Creating the perfect epic ambiance, “Symbols” opens the release in a manner that we imagine some epic medieval stuff happening like on Game of Thrones. ”In My Sword I Trust” is your quintessential ‘battle song’ with epic arrangements, powerful guitars, and very commanding vocals. Keeping up with excellent melodic guitars and very present Folk-elements, “Unsung Heroes” keeps the mood and morale quite high. This is why we prefer Ensiferum to bands like Eluivetie and Turisas, the band knows exactly how to keep the momentum going, deliver epic songs, and fuse Folk elements without overpowering the guitars and the general direction of the music.