Hailing from France, today we have Folk/Death Metal outfit Drakwald and their sophomore full-length release “Riven Earth”. Showing that France also has representatives on the Folk Metal scene, this release delivers 44 minutes of engaging music that will have you headbanging from start to end.
Not wasting much time to showcase their power, “Doomsday Argument” shows the band with full strength sounding like a mixture of Amon Amarth and Eluveitie. As tracks like “Erase by Fire”, “Primal Dawn” and “Rebrith” roll through, we can hear that the comparisons can be skewed more towards Eluveitie as the band’s bagpipes and flutes make them gravitate in to this territory.
While people hated on Ensiferum for their 2012 release “Unsung Heroes”, we actually quite enjoyed it. The band has evolved from their “Iron” and “From Afar” days, but the still deliver high-quality Folk Metal filled with epicly catchy tracks. Featuring 11 songs and around 53 minutes of music, this album is another very enjoyable entry in the band’s career and will surely recapture some of the band’s lost fans.
After being buttered up by the catchy “March of War”, the band goes all out with the epic “Axes of Judgment”. Here we get the traditional riffing and tempo expected from a release of this genre, and we have to admit that Janne Parviainen’s drumming really got us going on this very typical track. “Heathen Horde” is a track that is more our pace due to its catchy melodic tempo and the well-crafted vocal arrangements. Things continue to be epic with the dramatic “One Man Army”, a song that will make drop everything you are doing and start headbanging from start to finish.
Borrowing from bands like Moonsorrow, Wintersun, Eluveitie, Vintersorg and even some Borknagar, today we have Germany’s Finsterforst and their fairly decent Folk Metal. Having seven members amongst their ranks, this band delivers an authentic feeling without overdoing it on the Folk elements.
Opening with the catchy “Schicksals End, the band nicely builds momentum and keeps the listener pretty entertained for the nearly 15-minute duration of this track. While the length of the song is unconventional for the genre, the band drives it home with solid riffs, tight drumming and a very crisp production that highlights all different vocals and atmospheric elements. The band keeps their groove with another engaging song with “Zeit für Hass” and its battle-like stance.
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.