Hailing from Austria, today we have self-labeled “Alpine Metal” outfit Vinsta and their highly melodic and melancholic release “Freiweitn”. Perfectly balancing folky and melodic passages with lush vocals and heavier riffs and growls, this release is quite lively and engaging. For fans of bands like Eluveitie and Wilderun, this release feels fresh and excellently crafted.
After the acoustic intro, the band leads of with the melodic distorted guitars of “Schwoaze Låckn”, a trance inducing piece that sets a very lush and foresty mood. The string instruments are very well arranged and work perfectly in unison with the harmonious clean vocals. As “Freiweitn” and “Wundaberg” keep the same opening mood, songs like “Entarische Gstoit” showcase a heavier Proggy/Death Metal side to the band.
Showing their excellent 2019 release, “Sateet palata saavat”, was no fluke, Finland’s Vorna returns with an even more expansive and bombastic release with “Aamunkoi”. The band’s sound is as unique as before, perfectly mixing Folk/Pagan/Black Metal with a hefty dose of atmospheric elements. Featuring over 44 minutes of lush vocal arrangements alongside crafty instrumentation and a solid level of heaviness, this release is quite rich and highly enjoyable.
Opening with “Hiljaisuus ei kestä” a very lush and folky mood is established thanks to a mixture of clean and harsh vocals alongside solid riffing and tight drumming. The band’s melancholic nature starts oozing more profusely as “Harva päättää hyvästeistään”, “Aika pakenee”, and “Valo” come around with their dramatic atmospherics and crafty tempo changes, we even got some Amorphis-esque vibes here and there.
Unleashing one of the most majestic and expertly crafted mixtures of Atmospheric/Folk and Melodic Black Metal, today we have Saor and their latest release “Origins”. As the brainchild of Andy Marshall, this outfit has continually gotten better over the years and with this release they reach the pinnacle (for now) of their craftsmanship and songwriting abilities. Featuring six tracks and nearly 42 minutes of music, this is definitely one of the top releases of 2022.
Opening with the regal “Call of the Carnyx”, we get the band’s signature melodic riffing alongside crafty atmospheric and very ethereal clean vocals. As the track progresses more Folk elements are baked into the mix, perfectly leading to the lively “Fallen” and its graceful guitar leads intertwined with harsh screams and killer tempo changes. Never leaving the Folky and mystical nature of the band’s sound behind, “The Ancient Ones” is a magical piece where all these elements perfectly work together to create a very intense mood.
Releasing four years after the death of Negru, “Zău” is the last piece of the Negură Bunget aural saga. With the original drum track recorded by Negru years back, and all the original musical direction and ideas in place, some of the last members of the band Tibor Kati, Adrian "OQ" Neagoe, and Petrică Ionuţescu, have managed to put this mystical release together, true to its original creation. Mixing both the dreamy/atmospheric and the heavier side of the band’s sound over the years, this release is a fitting conclusion to such a unique musical outfit.
The release sets a very dreamy and ethereal mood with the opener “Brad”, a 15-minute piece featuring angelic female vocals of Manuela Marchiș, and the band’s signature tempo changes into more aggressive territories. “Iarba Fiarelor” explores richer instrumentation and longer heavier sections, with aggressive growls alongside uplifting atmospherics. The band’s signature style is present in all aspects of this release, giving it a very nostalgic edge.
Hailing from New Jersey, Windfaerer is one of those bands that has a very European sound and has been turning heads with their intense and yet emotional brand of Black/Folk Metal. With “Breaths of Elder Dawns” the band showcases their highly refined style with over 60 minutes of lush music featuring the perfect blend of musicianship, aggression and melancholy. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Ensiferum, Equilibrium, and Eluveitie.
Opening with the lush string instruments of “Oxalá”, the band quickly transports the listener to a different realm and time. We love that this genre always creates majestic soundscapes and this outfit is one of the best at it. The band is no stranger to playing fast and melodic as the epic “Depletion” showcases this balance alongside some killer guitar leads and dramatic tempo changes.
Unleashing a very powerful and emotionally charged release, today we have Felled and their debut full-length “The Intimate Earth”. Perfectly mixing Black/Folk and some Doom Metal elements, this outfit creates a very unique and ravaging sound thanks to the misery-inducing Violin that accompanies all songs. Particularly reminding us of the short lived band Forty Days Longing, this is one hell of an emotional release filled with crafty songwriting.
Immediately a very somber mood is set with the piercing “Ember Dream” and its dramatic arrangements. Weaving back and forth intense onslaughts and melodramatic tempo changes, this track perfectly blends Black Metal with a doomier edge and some Folky elements. The mixture of harsh vocals alongside sweeping guitar leads nicely evolve into a very cathartic closing. Showing the first track was not fluke, “Fire Season on the Outer Rim” nicely continues the dramatic aural experience by adding some clean female vocals into the mix.
Creating a magical and transcendental aural experience, today we have Romania’s Dordeduh and their latest effort “Har”. It has been nine years since the band’s debut release and the wait was well worth it, thanks to the maturity and polish put into these 61 minutes of music. Mixing the early Negură Bunget folk mysticism with the modern proggy Black Metal elements of Enslaved, this release is filled with interesting passages and extremely intoxicating melodies.
The album starts with the ritualistic intro of “Timpul întâilor”, as the song evolves we get that nice playful Enslaved-esque mixture of distorted guitars, crafty tempo changes, and mystical atmospherics. This opener clocks in at 12 minutes, giving the listener a great taste of what is to come, we particularly love the very melodic and dramatic vocal arrangements in this track. The sweeping guitars and keyboards of “În vieliștea uitării”, create a very imposing mood, perfectly contrasted by sinister harsh vocals, and more playful clean vocal arrangements.
Expanding their roster to include more interesting and diverse acts, M-Theory Audio brings us today the third full-length release of Poland’s Varmia, titled “Bal Lada”. Combining Black Metal with Folk/Pagan elements, this outfit has an early Enslaved vibe in their well-crafted and highly engaging music. For over 60 minutes the band blends a wide variety of elements on top of crafty guitars and a sinister atmosphere.
The folky opener “Woanie” reminds us of Enslaved’s less proggy days, while the band sets an enigmatic pace to things. We are super fans of catchy songs and the riffs in “Bielmo” have a nice progression, allowing the listener to fully immerse himself in the band’s melodic side. The band does not stay very mellow for long as the incisive “Ruja” pairs piercing guitars with crafty drums while keeping things heavy and engaging.
Empyrium has a way of making fans way for long periods of time for new music, but yet when they release something, all is forgotten as the band’s sonic magic appeases even the most disgruntled fan. Just making us wait seven years, instead of twelve as in the last time, Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with over 52 minutes of music that manages to merge the band’s original ingenuity and ferocity, with their more refined and Folky sound of their later releases.
The release opens with the solemn acoustic guitars of “The Three Flames Sapphire”, a track that slowly moves into more complex territories with the lush clean vocals of Thoman Helm and layers of additional classical elements. However, one of the most interesting parts is the introduction of distorted guitars and harsh vocals, turning the track’s mood in a completely new dimension and bringing back “A Wintersunset...” vibes, and this is just the first song.
As one of the liveliest releases of 2021, we have found ourselves enjoying a bit too much of Korpiklaani’s latest full-length release “Jylhä”. Featuring over 60 minutes of the band’s signature Folk Metal, this release balances the over-the-top party songs with more mellow and melodic pieces that are great to zone of the current state of affairs of the world and enjoy a nice cold beer along the songs.
Opening with the catchy “Verikoira”, the band rapidly sets a very lively and engaging tone. The hard rocking nature of this track’s guitars alongside the crafty drumming and rich instrumentation creates a very positive and party-like atmosphere. This mood continues as the band pummels through tracks like “Niemi” , “Leväluhta” and “Mylly”, all of which feature vocalist Jonne doing his thing while layers of folk instruments nicely adorn the proceedings.