One of our favorite Folk Metal/Rock bands has returned with “Ardeo” and the only thing we can’t think is that 3 albums in 3 years definitely take a toll on a band’s creativity. In this release the band deliver 49 minutes of exactly the same as on “Am Rande der Welt” and “Hoffnungsschimmer”.
We don’t really care if a band does the same album 5 different ways as long as it is appealing and engaging. “Ardeo” is half and half in both departments, the band’s sound is as appealing as ever, but it sounds exactly the same as on their previous release. In terms of the appeal, there are great moments for sure, but they are drowned by uninspired repetition.
Finish Folk Metal boozeheads Korpiklaani return with another highly energetic release that will satisfy your Folk Metal needs for months to come. In the spirit of the band’s previous releases “Ukon Wacka” feels like a party from start to end, and with a track named “Tequila”, we all know how this party is going to end.
As any fan of the band (or the genre for that matter) can imagine, the band’s unique brand of ‘folkiness’ and energy makes their music a delightful experience, even if you don’t like Folk Metal. With “Ukon Wacka”, the band continues building on their previous releases by making their sound more concise and effective.
Like a fine wine, Battlelore has been graciously aging with time and with “Doombound” they achieve a very solid release and refinement of their signature Epic Metal sound. As one of the most awaited releases of 2011, “Doombound” has everything a fan of the genre needs: brilliant female and male vocals, epic melodies with elaborate arrangements, and powerful guitar riffing.
While not terribly revolutionary, Battlelore has been refining their style with every album they have produced and with “Doombound” they are close to achieving. As a concept album “Doombound” takes the listeners into a magical fantasy journey, something that the band has made part of their concept (and live show) since their conception and it’s one of their best traits.
After their killer 2009 demo “Glorybound”, today we have Windfaerer and their dominating Pagan/Folk Metal sound. Windfaerer is probably the USA’s most credible (and good) act of these genres, and with “Tribus” they should get the spotlight needed to make some noise in the international scene.
Featuring around 42 minutes of catchy guitar riffs, powerful drumming, and intense violin action, the band greatly improves on their sound since their “Glorybound” demo. While you can not avoid the typical pitfalls of the genre, “Tribus” is fresh enough to keep the listener engaged and waiting for what’s next, something that plenty of Pagan/Folk Metal releases fail miserably at.
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.