Am I missing any albums? Do you agree?
Sadistik Forest – Mordbid Majesties
Am I missing any albums? Do you agree?
I do not often dabble in this genre but when I got this promo I thought I would give it a shot, and I am glad I did. Sigh For Sigh is the debut EP from Zeresh which consists of one member, Tamar Singer from Israel who is also in Cruel Wonders. The album is dedicated to her grandparents, who have all passed away. Throughout the album you can really feel the sadness as it takes form in the shape of music with not just dark folk but also doom and dark ambient elements. Add the lyrics being taken from poems by William Ernest Henley and Alexander Blok and you got yourself a quite fine album that does the trick.
As I stated before though, this isn’t really my kind of music (just like I can not get into Chelsea Wolfe for example). While I think the lyrics and parts of the music is good it’s not that captivating for me like for example the latest Raven Throne album, hence the score you see down bellow. Sometimes you got to try something new however and Zeresh debut surely got me more interested in the genre and I might just go back to this album in a few year just to see this as a starting point where I got into dark folk metal. This album is more about what’s behind the music in itself for me though and for that Sigh For Sigh is a nice example on how you can use music to express yourself. There is a lot of emotions into the album and I just wish I could get into the melodies more. Who knows that might change with time and I will call myself a fool for not grasping Zeresh fully.
Label: 999 Cuts
For fans of: Chelsea Wolfe and Cruel Wonders
Release date: January 18th, 2018
Favorite song: O, Gather Me the Rose
Skogen. It doesn’t only mean forest in Swedish but is also the name of one of Swedens top tier black metal bands. They have released nothing but great albums in my opinion and I’ve been looking forward to review this for a long time. Their latest album has taken the name from the second track on the bands debut Vittra, namely Skuggorna Kallar. One thing that has make Skogen stand out for me is the fact they keep on growing and with each release they improve their sound that eventually lead to one of the best albums of 2014 I döden to be unleashed to this world.
I have to be honest my initial listen to Skuggorna Kallar left me disappointed. It started off so well with “Det nordiska mörkret” which is great atmospheric black metal with folk influences, something I like when Skogen dabble with and they do so more than ever on this album bringing them closer to Primordial than ever before. Then coming into “När solen bleknar bort” we have one of the most crushing Skogen tracks ever released, a song that will be with me for many many years to come. “Nebula” is black folk metal perfection in many ways, whereas “Omen” and “Frostland” are classic Skogen sound and these five tracks contains just about everything I hoped for the album, but then it loses me. From a captivating first half and superb Skogen metal I find the change to English vocals and a more doom approach on “The Sun’s Blood” and onwards being far less appealing to my ears. Sadly that brings the score down a bit from an otherwise great album.
I do find this release to be weaker than their previous ones and a bit of a letdown but Skuggorna Kallar gives Skogen fans yet another good album. It lacks the consistency the older albums have had to me but at the same time containing some of the bands best singles to date.
Label: Nordvis Produktion
For fans of: Borknagar and Primordial
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: När solen bleknar bort
The Finnish band Terhenetär were created in 2007 and is sadly relatively unknown. The band released their first EP Korven kosto in 2014 and with Metsänhenkien Tanssi they are out with their second EP release, meaning the band is yet to release a full-length 10 years after their creation. In the Kalevala (poetry on Finnish folklore and mythology), Terhenetär is the goddess of the mist. With that being said I get some vibes from Kalmah, Finntroll and the likes who also get some of their inspiration from Kalevala.
Terhenetär plays folk music that takes a little bit of their countrymen Moonsorrow and Finntroll but equally as much form the Danish bands Asmegin, Svartsot and Svartby. It has to be said I love this type of folk metal. It has the perfect mix of mysticism, use of several different kinds of instruments, both happy and scary tunes and it makes me want to grab some beer and jump around. The whole EP is really great but it’s when the Metsänhenkien tanssi chapter hits the EP really grabs me by the balls. The track that ends the EP Surumieli, Varjosielu is an almost 9 minute long epos that would make even Moonsorrow proud. This is some of the best folk music I’ve heard in years, I kid you not.
Folk metal lovers should not miss out on Terhenetär. They deliver folk metal in its purest raw form and it is amazing. I really hope they will get their name out and release a full-length eventually. Imagine a Finnish folk metal takeover with Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Moonsorrow and Terhenetär. That would be freaking sweet. One can dream but until then I will have Metsänhenkien Tanssi playing regularly at home.
For fans of: Moonsorrow and Asmegin
Favorite song: Surumieli, Varjosielu
Folk metal giants Eluveitie have always been a favorite of mine. They may have some ups and downs during their career (who doesn’t?) but overall it is one of the best folk metal acts out there. A big core of the band left to form Cellar Darling so I was a bit skeptical on how the sequel to Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion would turn out. With Evocation II – Pantheon the band have decided to change their style, going way closer to folk than never before and almost on the verge of not really being metal anymore. Personally I love this move. I can listen to their instrumental plays all day long and not get bored. It’s so well executed and makes me feel good. The Celtic folk melodies warms the soul. With the lineup changes I think this was the perfect time to make this change of sound as well.
Does this album contain classics like The Call of the Mountains, Inis Mona, A Rose for Epona or Helvetios? No it doesn’t but instead you get an album that on the whole is a wonderful folk metal experience that I am sure you will listen to time and time again. This isn’t an album where you just pick a song from it for your playlist (granted Lvgvs and Epona could be those). It’s an album you listen to all the 18 tracks at once and take it all in. As I said before I like the direction Eluveitie have taken and this just feels so right. This might just be the folk metal album of the year, at the very least it will be up there in the running for it when I look back at 2017 (I do guess Ensiferum will take that title to be honest). It might not be what you wanted from Eluveitie but give it some time and listen to this with a different mindset than before and I am sure you can come to enjoy it like I did.
This is a journey, or as the album title says a Voyage into Eternity. Starting off with a storytelling voice and calm melodies it soothes the listeners mind. It eventually becomes a epic symphonic blast of melodies as it was Nightwish together with Eluveitie themselves recording this. Vocals ranges from the high and lows, growling and clean singing. With three members in the band sharing vocal duty it sure does give the album an extra twist and different ways of telling this story of Vikings. The ferocity in the music is like that of the berserker’s of old and the melodies clings on inside your head like the ballads from Blind Guardian or Amon Amarth. Across the Frozen Ocean for example really does make me think about the legendary song The Bard’s Song by Blind Guardian.
I get the feeling of going on adventures when listening to this album. It’s the sort of epic music that takes you to the epic worlds from Lord of the Rings, Witcher or Dragon Age. The use of various types of instruments like mandolin, cello and whistle puts that extra epic mark on Voyage into Eternity. To me Voyage of Eternity is the definition of epic folk music. Not only due to the use of various instruments with great melodies and riffs but also due to the great song-writing and great use of different vocals to deliver a sweet story. Plus the fact I love vikings, any story with vikings in it is a plus in my book!
Valhalore was a big surprise to me. It’s well produced and features so many elements I like in good music this is an instant classic for me. Fans of bands such as Ensiferum, Wintersun, Eluveitie, Blind Guardian and the likes take heed (and of course drink mead). Valhalore are here to stay and their debut Voyage into Eternity is one of the best releases so far this year. Voyage into Eternity is out now as an independent release.
For fans of: Eluveitie and Blind Guardian
Favorite song: Guardians of Time
Irrbloss is a Swedish word meaning Will-o’-wisp. Fitting name for a black/viking metal outfit that sings about folklore. Irrbloss was formed in 2003 as a one man band by Lord Irrbloss and has since then released one full-length in 2009 (Bloodline) which received high ratings in the metal community. Before putting the band on hold due to Grimr leaving the band Irrbloss also released two EP’s, Yggdrasil in 2014 and the selftitled Irrbloss EP came out last year.
Featuring three tracks and clocking 17 minutes I found this the perfect album to listen to while sipping on my coffee and slowly waking up this rainy Sunday morning. If you haven’t heard Irrbloss before then it is high time you do so and get started with this EP. Irrbloss has to be one of the best black metal acts from Sweden that I’ve heard but yet they have stayed in the shadows, lacking the exposure they deserve and I guess not many know of them. The Wanderer, In Chains and Vindictive and Lori∂i are all three top tracks, showcasing different styles of black and viking metal. Lord Irrbloss vocals are just as great as before, as is his song-writing, production having that sweet mix of dirty black metal sound from the 90’s and not being over-produced. The Dissection like riffs hits me hard whereas I start to wakeup and headbang for a great Sunday start.
Irrbloss selftitled EP is the perfect way to go out in as it showcases some of the bands best moments. I hope the band is only taking a small break as they are simply too good just to vanish. You reading this can make it easier for Lord Irrbloss in his decision to come back by listening to Irrbloss today and become one of the Norse Horders.
For fans of: Dissection and Moonsorrow
Favorite song: In Chains and Vindictive