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.
The always mysterious and intoxicating sound of Völur is quite hard to describe but completely unique to experience. Delivering their third full-length release “Death Cult”, the band continues their path of darkness with a very lush, engaging, and captivating release. For nearly 40 minutes the band transports the listener into a very unique and mystical folky world that is beautifully crafted.
Starting with the hypnotic “Inviolate Grove”, the band quickly creates a very distressing atmosphere thanks to the dramatic use of string instruments and a captivating bass guitar line. For those not familiar with the band, Völur shies away from your traditional distorted guitars to a combination of pummeling bass guitar, electric violins/violas, and lush percussions, creating a very unique and dense atmosphere that can only be compared to some extent to parts of bands like Elend and early Silent Stream of Godless Elegy.
Delivering a perfect balance of speedy Epic Power/Folk Metal ballads and and folky moody pieces, Ensifeum returns with “Thalassic”. Adding extra depth to their signature sound, the band hedges a bit more into Power Metal territories while keeping their lively and upbeat style for nearly 50 minutes. Perfectly in sync with their earlier releases, this album propels the band’s sound into new territories and pleases fans with intense and engaging songs.
Setting a very epic mood with “Seafarer's Dream”, the band goes full speed with the intense “Rum, Women, Victory”, which features a bit of a Children of Bodom-esque sound mixed in with their traditional blistering melodies and crafty instrumentation. The clean vocals on “Andromeda” really give it a slighter Power Metal edge, greatly elevating this catchy and awesome song to new levels. The same can be said for “The Defense of the Sampo”, which has a certain Stratovarius meets Ensiferum vibe.
As a side project of Fen’s members The Watcher and Havenless, Fellwarden is one of those bands that delivers a sound so hypnotic and sublime that you get completely immersed into their atmosphere. In “Wreathed in Mourncloud”, the band elevate their Atmospheric Black/Folk Metal sound to a whole new dimension. For nearly 55 minutes the band unleashes what can be best described as a mixture of early Fen with Empyrium, split into six lush songs that are set to never leave your music player for the rest of the year.
The mysterious “Pathmaker” opens up with lush percussion and delivers a glimmer of light between the darkness. The clean vocals are nicely flanked by melodic guitars and crafty drumming, creating a very regal and yet dreamy atmosphere, just imagine Alcest meets Fen. The band’s aggressive side comes at the listener in full force with the ravaging “Scafell's Blight” with its moody tempo changes and dreamy interludes.
Delivering one of the most magical and atmospheric Black/Folk Metal releases of 2020, today we have Sojourner and their third full-length release “Premonitions”. Featuring over 55 minutes of masterfully crafted emotional music, this release explores tons of textures and tempos to create one very cohesive and lush aural journey. If you are into bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, etc. but always wanted a folkier and even Gothic/Doomy vibe infused with them, you are in luck with this release.
The release leads off with the dramatic atmospherics of “The Monolith”, a track that delivers both aggressive guitars and lush atmospheric arrangements, perfectly led by the charming clean vocals of Chloe Bray and contrasted by the harsh screams of Emilio Crespo. The female vocals at points sound like Amy Lee, but they are enchanting in their own right as they perfectly capitulate the very elaborate atmospheric components the band lays down with their mixture of rich keyboards and additional elements like a Tin whistle.
Always surprising us with their excellent taste in music, LifeForce Records is prepared to unleash “Sateet palata saavat”, Finland’s Vorna’s latest effort. Magically combining elements of Folk/Pagan/Black Metal in a very atmospheric palette of sounds, this release delivers over 50 minutes of superbly melodic music. The closest band to Vorna’s sound that comes to mind has to be Eternal Tears of Sorrow and their highly diverse sound. This should let you know you are in for a treat with this album.
After the traditional mood setting intro, “Toinen” delivers the first onslaught of atmospheric brilliance. Creating a very moody and mystical atmosphere, the band pummels the listener with superb drumming, heavy riffs, and harsh vocals. The swings between lush melodic keyboard arrangements, harsh/clean vocals, and intense riffing, are just magical, creating a very immersive and engaging experience as heard on both “Toinen” and “Syvyydet”.
We rarely review Split releases and EP’s, but with this one we had to make an exception. Featuring two extraordinary Folk Metal artists, Nordvis Produkt unleashes one hell of a split release that will captivate the listener. One band hailing from Sweden, the other from North America, however there is an unwritten cohesion behind both band’s approach at making lush and engaging songs.
Side A of this split contains “Sorlande Sky”, a 7 minute song that expertly crafts a very intense and misty atmosphere. The harsh screams are nicely contrasted by dreamy clean vocals and as the song delivers punishing riffs and fast drumming. The track ends on a very hypnotic note and it seems to very nicely bleed into Side B’s music.
Unleashing one of the most lively and engaging Folk Metal releases of 2019, today we have the legendary Eluveitie with “Ategnatos”. With the ‘new’ band members settled, this release delivers a more cohesive and in a certain way exploratory sound that further improves the band’s catchiness with more upbeat and exciting elements. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this is a release that all fans of the band will love and enjoy.
Leading with the album title track, the band quickly starts telling their story and sets a very ‘medieval’ mood with their lush instrumentation, rich vocal arrangements and powerful distorted guitars. The band’s uncanny abilities to perfectly mix their Melodic Metal side with intricate arrangements of folk instruments is top not as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Deathwalker”. For those looking for the folkier side of things, this release does not disappoint with excellent tracks like “Black Water Dawn”, “The Silvern Glow” and “Trinoxtion”.