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.
To complete the Viking Metal trifecta released by Napalm Records this March/April we have “The End” by Ereb Altor. This band plays Epic Viking Doom Metal….. we have heard Epic Nautical Doom Metal and now Viking EDM, looking into the band’s founders we find that both of them are part of Isole, and that is exactly how this band sounds too much alike.
Ereb Altor has crafted a very unique sounding Epic Doom Metal that most fans of the genre will find intoxicating, having heavy influences from Candlemass, Isole, Ahab, and old Bathory. And while this is not 100% or cup of tea, we find this release very enjoyable. Being huge Doom Metal fans, it took us quite a while to really get into Epic Doom and Funeral Doom bands, and it can’t get any better than Ereb Altor (and Ahab).
Out of the hundreds of bands that play Folk/Viking/Pagan Metal, Heidevolk has been one of our favorites since their debut album “De Strijdlust is Geboren”. The band has a very ‘simple’ but yet effective way of making Folk Metal songs, they only need the addition of a violin to get the extra ‘folkish’ sound that other bands have when using countless extra instruments.
“Uit Oude Grond” is the band’s third full-length album and you can hear that they are running out of ideas. While Heidevolk’s music has always sounded formulaic (but effective) it’s finally getting a bit tired and old. Even halfway through this album you start to wonder if your CD player is skipping and re-playing the same tracks.
After releasing “Ur Jordens Djup” in 2007, Finntroll reached ‘world fame’ and became one of the most recognized bands in the Folk Metal genre. The band been touring both Europe and the USA since that album non-stop and finally we get a new release this 2010.
“Nifelvind” shows why this horde of crazy Finish people incites the masses to consume beer and party with their music. The album features eleven tracks of very solid Folk Metal that will surely please every single fan of the band since it caries with the band’s traditional sound.
After their acoustic album “Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion” we finally get a new ‘metallic’ release and it’s a great one. Eluveitie has managed to craft its sound to a near perfect fusion of Folk music with Melodic Metal.
While playing music in this style is not original by any means. Eluveitie does it with such grace that blows the competition out of the water. The eight piece Swiss band has released their most mature album to date and it can only get better from here.
Today we find ourselves reviewing the 2 song demo of Windfaerer, an American band that plays a very interesting sounding Pagan/Folk Metal. And the only problem we find about this demo is that is too short.
The band hailing from New Jersey, has a very polished style and when they release their first full-length (which is on the works now) will surely take the scene by surprise. The songwriting for both songs is very well alternated with mid-tempo passages to blazing fast sections.
Hailing from Sweden, Månegarm is one of those bands that have been evolving their sound and in every album they keep getting better and better. “Nattväsen” is the band’s sixth full length album and while their Folk influences have taken mostly over, they have not conformed and kicked out their harsh vocals and heavier influences from the past.
Starting with the traditional folk vocals followed by growls, “Nattväsen” will take you on a journey of great Folk and Metal music that you will surely be listening several times in a row. This album is very diverse when it comes to mixing Folk/Viking Metal and Death Metal.
Hailing from the cold lands of Russia, Arkona presents us their fifth full length album. This album is probably one of the longest Paga/Folk Metal albums that I’ve heard in my life clocking nearly 80 minutes of very attractive music.
The band has been refining their Pagan/Folk style since they formed in 2002 and with “Goi, Rode, Goi!” they hava produced their best album to date, but it’s too long. I’m all about getting more for my money, but sometimes is better just to split stuff into an EP and a full length album.
Two years after their amazing album “Iron”, Ensiferum is back with an even better album with “From Afar”. The band was touring for most of the 2 years in between releases but they managed to squeeze this brilliant album.
“From Afar” features nine racks that showcase the strengths that the band has showed in their previous releases and managed to make them more epic by adding new elements that blend to perfection with their old ones.
I was completely blown away by this album since the first time I played it, and I have been listening to it ever since. Tverd is a Russian band that emerged from the band Pagan Reign, and they play some epic folk metal unlike other bands.
The band’s sound is extremely bombastic and very rich in folk instruments that had me trying to figure out exactly what instruments they use for a few hours. From start to end this album provides us with epic songs filled with great vocals, an amazing array of instruments and traditional Metal elements.