Terhenetär – Metsänhenkien Tanssi (Folk Metal)

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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.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/terhenetar
Label: Independent
For fans of: Moonsorrow and Asmegin
Favorite song: Surumieli, Varjosielu
Score: 4/5

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Eluveitie – Evocation II – Pantheon (Folk Metal)

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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.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eluveitie
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eluveitie
Label: Nuclear Blast Entertainment
For fans of: Ensiferum and Korpiklaani
Favorite song: Epona
Score: 4/5

Valhalore – Voyage into Eternity (Folk/Viking Metal)

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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.

Facebook: /www.facebook.com/valhalore
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valhalore
For fans of: Eluveitie and Blind Guardian
Favorite song: Guardians of Time

Irrbloss – Irrbloss (Black/Viking Metal)

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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.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Irrblossband
For fans of: Dissection and Moonsorrow
Favorite song: In Chains and Vindictive

Helroth – I, Pagan (Folk/Pagan Metal)

 

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Poland is known for many good bands such as Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated. Most of the Polish scene is however known for death and black metal, hence it’s a nice fresh breeze to get a band from Poland that mixes pagan, black and folk in Helroth. I, Pagan is the bands debut album after releasing the EP Wataha in 2013. Helroth was formed in Warsaw 2012 with the foundation coming from the band Vecordia and consists of seven (!) members, having a wide range of instruments in their lineup.

Pagan Gods, tales of old legends and a lot of atmospheric folk music is on the agenda in I, Pagan. Most of the lyrics are sung in Polish, but don’t you worry, you will have a great experience anyway purely going by the folk atmosphere and instrumental play (there are a few pure instrumental tracks too) even if you don’t understand the words. Plus the fact I love Orthank lead vocals (who reminds me a lot of Ville Seponpoika Sorvali from Moonsorrow at times) and Marchew backing him up with her beautiful voice. A great combo.

The whole album screams of the old pagan ways and while listening to this you will want to be in a forest cabin drinking beer (or mead) and just take it all in. Great debut from Helroth and a pleasant surprise I got from my Spotify weekly (again!). I, Pagan is out now by Art of the Night Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Helroth
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HelrothOfficial
For fans of: Huldre and Merkfolk
Favorite song: Pasterz chmur

Valfreya – Promised Land (Melodic Black/Folk Metal)

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The band’s name caught my eye when I received a promo and I just had to check it out. I found this on The Metal Archives “The band’s name is influenced by one by name of Óðinn, Valföður (Old Icelandic for “Father of the Corpses”) and Freyja, the Vanic deity, sister of Freyr”. A cool fusion of names and from there on I was already in love with the band. Apart from the name the band, as the name implies, sings about Norse mythology and they do it in a very melodic/symphonic (whatever floats your boat) kind of way with with folk and black metal being the two main genres they cross. Promised Land is the Canadian bands second full-length and fourth album over since their formation in 2009.

Promised Land is a concept album following the tale of Eric The Red discovering America while defying the Gods. Between the songs you sometimes have a intermission with a story teller guiding you what has happened and is about to happen. The idea has been done before but I’ve always find it a fun way to to tell a story through a music album. One thing that stood out for me with Valfreya is the band was created by the female vocalist Corinne Cardinal (Crook) who also does the graphic design and is the main composer of the band. Not that often I find black/folk influenced bands have a female in the forefront like that. Kudos to Crook for creating Valfreya and making it all happen as I am sure it can be tough.

Being a concept album I do of course think it should be listened to in full from start to finish. Even more so since it’s a story I like and heard when I was a kid, and I found this a great way to tell the story of Eric The Red. Promised Land is a concept album any fan of Norse mythology will enjoy and fans of symphonic folk with black metal influences will surely have a good time here. Promised Land is independently released and it’s out now!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Valfreya.Metal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valfreyametal
For fans of: Ensiferum and Wintersun
Favorite song: The Choice

Wolfchant – Bloodwinter (Black/Pagan Metal)

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Wolfchant, one of the German powerhouses of folk/pagan metal. Since their debut Bloody Tales of Disgraced Lands in 2005 the band has only grown in popularity while having had quite a few lineup changes and ups and downs in their discography Wolfchant has still stayed strong. Bloodwinter is the bands sixth full-length album and it has actually been four years now since Embraced by Fire came out, which many sees as the bands second best album after the masterwork A Pagan Storm.

Wolfchant stick to what they do best, delivering a pagan storm the the masses. While I know a lot of people usually go “why isn’t Wolfchant innovating their sound!?” or something similar when bands stick to their sound for a long period of time there is also the fans who go completely opposite “why did Wolfchant change their sound!?”. Can’t please them all of course but at least you know what to expect from Wolfchant.

Bloodwinter is a good Wolfchant album. It’s an epic adventure with a good mix of harsh and clean vocals. Fans of Wolfchant will definitely have a good time with Bloodwinter and newcomers to the band can even start with this album, since the bands production quality has risen a lot since A Pagan Storm. Meaning Bloodwinter is probably the best first experience a new listener will get until they dig deeper into the bands discography.

Tracks such as Heritage of Fire, New Born Killer and Wolfchant (A Wolf to Man) are great Wolfchant tunes and the album overall is of good quality (some songs being better than others). I would put Bloodwinter as one of their three best releases (along with A Pagan Storm and Embraced by Fire) so if you’re on the lookout for some pagan metal Wolfchant got what you want.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolfchantofficial
For fans of: Ensiferum and Equilibrium
Favorite song: Heritage of Fire