Delivering to solemn and very well crafted Folk/Neofolk tracks, today we have Sweden’s Grift and their latest 7-inch “Vilsna andars utmark”. While fans of Black Metal and DSBM will not find what they are looking for here, this is still a very eclectic and moody release that quite fits Erik Gärdefors style of calmer and yet dark and sinister music.
Set to be released on Prophecy Production’s sub-label Auerbach Tonträger, today we have Håvard Jørgensen and his Neofolk release “Haavard”. Labeled by promotional materials to the closest thing to Ulver’s masterpiece “Kveldssanger", this album delivers 13 tracks of very melancholic and somber music. Yes, the music style is similar to Ulver’s second album that shocked many, but it is also on the lines of records released by outfits like Empyrium (“Weiland”) and Tenhi to name a few.
Opening with the lush “Printemps” and “Heartwood”, we quickly got chills as it has plenty of Empyrium’s purely Neofolk phase thanks to its solemn acoustic guitars and very unsettling and somber mood thanks to additional string instruments. The folky nature of the music is further appreciated in the lively “Oberon” and the transition piece “The Chase”, just before the minimalist and mysterious “Snhetta”.
It was quite a shock when we listened to the first cross-over dark/neo folk Xasthur release as we expected the band’s older style. However, we managed to get over it as many years have passed and actually enjoyed their Prophecy Fest 2018 (USA edition) performance quite a lot. In “Victims of the Times”, Malefic delivers around 70 minutes of engaging dark and somber music that could be described as a combination of King Dude, Dornenreich, with some Americana elements.
Not everybody can pull off the Dark Folk style, but as the album starts with “Same Old Suspects”, it is instantly clear that Malefic perfectly blends somber arrangements with crafty guitars and a personable voice. Mixing in acoustic 1 -2 minute long interludes between the first 10 or so tracks brilliantly works for this release as a transition between tracks like “Mirror in the Face”, “Fairy Tale Ideologies”, and “Stars Amongst Failures”, allows the songs with vocals to be better framed and more effective.
The always mysterious and captivating Neo Folk sound of Dornenreich has been one of our favorites alongside bands like Empyrium and The Moon and the Nightspirit. While the band’s style is far from Metal, they have a certain darkness to their music that makes it quite appealing and engaging. Led by Eviga, this trio has been creating unique music for over 20 years, and “Du wilde Liebe sei” is yet another excellent release filled with dramatic arrangements, somber tempos and lush violins.
The opener “So ruf sie wach das Sehnen” immediately sets the listener in a dark trance of lush acoustic guitars and playful drums. While all singing is done in German, the language it-self is very fitting to this kind of dark and melancholic music, as the listener can enjoy in “In Strömen aus Verwandlung ein flackerloses Licht”, “Dein knochern Kosen”, and “Liebes dunkle Nacht”. There is some slight use of electric guitars here and there, with distortion too, but we feel it distracts a bit from more eclectic acoustic efforts.
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.
Marking the final release of Aleah Starbridge musical legacy, this double album delivers over 85 minutes of her enchanting vocals and captivating music. Having passed away too soon, her musical legacy has been recently honored with the Trees of Eternity’s “Hour of The Nightingale” release, and with this release featuring nine acoustic tracks and six additional songs that highlight her range and wide musical interests and influences.
The release starts with the somber “Vapour”, and it slowly eases into the magic of “Sacrifice”, both songs showcase Aleah’s soothing vocals and a very dark and eerily sad mood. Many of these songs are taken from her demo, but here they sound amazing and create a very somber atmosphere as “My Will” and “Breathe” sound completely different and bleaker in the acoustic version. Thanks to the simple musical core, these songs allow the vocals to be in full attention and drive the listener’s mood with every single word.
Unleashing one of the most cathartic albums of 2020, today we have October Falls and their latest opus “A Fall of an Epoch”. Seven years since their last release, the band returns with their blend of Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal that perfectly combines elements from bands like Ensiferum with the more vicious onslaughts of outfits like Behexen and Horna. With a hefty dosage of brutality and crafty introspective passages, this release will command your full attention for nearly 55 minutes.
The album kicks off with the bleak acoustic guitars of the title track, this solemn peace suddenly transforms in all-out- brutality with crushing riffs, blistering drums, and punishing screams. Within the all-out pummeling onslaught, there is a very nice melodic delineation that has that Folk/Pagan Metal vibe as it contrasts with melodic passages. On a slower tone, “The Endtimes Rising” delivers a nice blend of incisive guitar riffs and harsh screams, perfectly framed on a more melodic drum track.
It is crazy to realize that we have been enchanted by Kari’s voice since the 3rd And the Mortal’s debut EP “Sorrow”, all the way back to 1993. While those days are long gone, it has been quite a journey to hear Kari jump to a solo-artist career and shake things up with a wide range of styles. “Sørgekåpe” marks her first all-Norwegian release since her solo debut in 1997. We all know that her music currently is far from Metal, but it is still a very lively Folk/Alternative Rock powered by her mesmerizing voice.
The album starts with the title track and sets a nice Folky mood with lush acoustic guitars and a somber pace. Shifting the mood, “Svever” nicely delivers a very catchy and lively Alternative Rock tune with excellent vocal melodies and overall playful music. We particularly enjoy more the mellow tracks like “Månen lyser ned”, which have a very powerful mixture of Kari’s vocals and a deep bass guitar line. This is probably because they bring us memories from her earlier work, but nonetheless, they resonate better with us.
Unleashing a superbly crafted and somber Dark/Psych/Blues/Doom release, today we have Finland’s Hexvessel with “Kindred”. Finally settling into a sound that incorporates the eerie atmospherics and instrumentation of their earlier works and the warm and fuzzy psych/blues elements of their later material, the band delivers nearly 40 minutes of mystical music. Be prepared for a uniquely relaxing and enchanting aural journey with this one.
The release opens with the enigmatic “Billion Year Old Being”, treating the listener to fuzzy Psych guitars and very hypnotic vocal harmonies. The retro vibe in the opener is nicely followed by the bluesy “Demian”, a very intoxicating track with subtle instrumental arrangements, trippy guitar leads, and perfectly voiced by Mat McNerney. For those looking to lose themselves in the band's folky atmospheric side, “Fire of the Mind” and “Bog Bodies” are two chilling campfire songs that swiftly change the mood of the release.
As the perfect companion for those gloomy days ahead, today we have Nergal’s Me and that Man band delivering “New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.1” a masterful apocalyptic/dark folk/rock release. Featuring eleven tracks filled with guest appearances this release unleashes an emotionally charged atmosphere filled will bluesy and folky vibes. If you are into Hexvessel, Grave Pleasures and King Dude, this release will hit close to home.
The release opens with the imposing “Run With The Devil”, which Jørgen Munkeby on vocals and sax, giving the song a very lively mood thanks to its catchiness and simplicity. Darkness descends upon listeners with the bluesy “Coming Home” and the eerie folky “Burning Churches” with Mat McNerney handling vocals alongside creepy chorus arrangements and lush acoustic guitars.