Continuing in the same vein as “Sphynx” and “Emissaries”, Melechesh unleashes upon us a high caliber Middle Eastern influenced Black/Death Metal assault with “The Epigenesis”. For those of us that like a little more substance in your music, Melechesh manages to fuse Middle Eastern folk elements with heart-pounding Metal elements creating an elaborated, yet accessible album that blends through genres like sugar in water.
Expanding their sound with more traditional elements, the band greatly refines their sound when compared to their older releases. The crushing riffing, blasting drumming, and pounding bass guitar lines are as good as always, but not you can hear different patterns in the riffing, giving you a more elaborate sound that fans of the bands will greatly appreciate. The overall result is a very ritualistic experience that masterfully adorns the mystical and mythological backdrop of the album’s lyrics.
Everything that has to do with the Templar Knights has been of great interest for us in the past, so when we heard of this band playing ‘Templar-inspired Metal’ we quickly jumped in and started listening to “Rise of the Heraldic Beasts”. To our disappointment, Jaldaboath is a terrible band, we can’t really pinpoint if it’s the stupid lyrics (like on “Axe Wielding Nuns” for example) or the terrible simplistic music and vocals (i.e. “Hark the Herald”).
Just imagine a bad mix of Alestorm and Nekrogoblikon, with a lot less inspiration and a lot more repetition. Half the songs on “Rise of the Heraldic Beasts” are very repetitive and get to be very annoying after a few songs. The terrible vocals of songs like “Hark the Herald” and “Axe Wielding Nuns” really kill the mood created by a few nice keyboard arrangements and catchy rhythmical sections.
October Falls is one of our favorite bands of all time and they have returned with their 3rd full-length album “A Collapse of Faith”. The band plays a mean mixture of Black/Dark Metal with Folk elements unlike anybody else these days, just imagine if early Ulver, Empyrium and Tehni had a genetically engineered of spring.
As in the same vein of “The Womb of Primordial Nature”, the band crafts epic songs that will transport you to a dark world filled with nature, helplessness and pain. All through a hefty dosage of distorted guitars, surgically precise drumming and majestic acoustic passages that will haunt you till the rest of your life. The atmosphere created for “A Collapse of Faith” is very haunting and unique, and when paired with M. Lehto’s shivering vocal performance you will surrender your soul to this majestic aural experience.
Hailing from Ireland, Primordial is one of our top 50 bands from all times and “Spirit The Earth Aflame” is one of our all-time favorite albums. When we heard that Metal Blade was releasing this timeless classic we got psyched about the possibility of some great bonus material on this version of the album (we currently have 2 other versions).
If you know who Primordial is, you probably worship this album as much as any other fan of the band and can skip till the next paragraph of this review. If you don’t know who the band is, then we must tell you that this band was one of the first to successfully combine Celtic/Folk influences with aggressive Black Metal elements, giving them a very dark and powerful sound that was unheard off back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.
Directly from Croatia today we have Stribog, a very impressive Folk/Pagan Metal band. The band’s first full-length album “U Okovima Vjecnosti” showcases a perfect balance of aggressive Metal sections and ethereal Folk passages that not every band can pull off so gracefully. There is no shortage of epic songs in this album that have high replay value.
Since the first song “Ancestral Skies Of Gold” you know you are for a special ethereal ride with the combination of Folk elements, melodic distorted guitars and angelic female vocals. The band’s songs vary between melodic Folk passages and very aggressive (but melodic) Black Metal-like sections, the intertwining of these two genres is done very well and most of the transitions in this release are done seamlessly.
Featuring 3 members of Moravská Zima, a Czech Black Metal band, today we have Žrec and their latest album “Žertva”. Žrec plays a mixture of Folk and Pagan Metal that focuses more on the Folk side of things. We particularly love bands like Žrec that play Folk Metal where you can easily identify the region they are from if you pay close attention.
Žrec does a great job in crafting catchy and effective tunes that will resonate in your head for quite a while after listening to this solid release. We particularly enjoy that while Žrec has the traditional folk elements with the violin, flute, and pipes, they still show a broad diversity within the songs allowing them to never get old and tired, like many Folk Metal albums get after 5 minutes.
While most Folk Metal bands can easily be picked apart based on their sound, we totally screwed it up when trying to figure out where Northland comes from by only listening to their music. The band’s music is heavily inspired by Scandinavian Viking/Folk Metal and some Celtic elements, but they are from Barcelona, Spain! Something we did not expect until we actually visited the band’s MySpace page.
Featuring a full six-member line-up, the band creates a very rich sound that will surely make them one of your favorite bands of the genre. And having only released two demos prior to “Revenge”, we are quite impressed behind the quality, both in sound and songwriting, of this release.
With a very Germanic sound to their music, today we have Ingrimm and their third full-length album “Böses Blut”. Playing a mean Folk/Medieval Metal, the band does a great job in creating 11 songs that will surely please all your Folk/Medieval needs. All songs in this album are sung in German and give that extra authentic feeling to them that we usually look for.
Mixing modern metal style riffing with bagpipes sounding awfully familiar to Eluveitie, the band might not be 100% original in their craft, but as long as their songs are catchy we don’t really care. Ingrimm’s music is not super diverse either and you will find yourself wondering if you already heard this song before.
With a particular beef with the sun (read their bio) and a very interesting overall concept behind the band, we get today Istapp and their blend of Black Metal with Viking/Folk Metal elements. The band’s first full-length release “Blekinge” set to be release on June 8th on Metal Blade records is one of the most complete Black Metal albums of 2010.
Hailing from Sweden, a place where pretty much every band seems to have the skills to craft great music, it’s hard to find young and promising talent such as Istapp. The band’s music is very straight forward and aggressive, but has mystical clean passages that create unparalleled atmospheres fully enriching the listening experience.
After listening to Skyforger’s new album “Kurbads” the first thing that comes to mind is: WTF. The band started out Pagan/Folk Metal with Black Metal influences, and now it’s reduced to a semi-inspired mixture of Trash/Heavy Metal with some Folk influences. “Kurbads” is far far away from what we are expected from Skyforger.
Hailing from Latvia, it’s been seven years since the all-folk “Zobena Dziesma” album, and all these years have been wasted since “Kurbads” is downright terrible in our opinion. There are some good moments here and there, but mostly it’s just re-hashed Trash riffs with horrible vocals. The folk sections are ok, but during the band’s absence there have been great Pagan/Folk Metal releases that completely obscure this release.