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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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

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

Winterhymn – Blood & Shadow (Folk Metal)

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Are you ready for some Cold-Blooded American Pagan Metal? That’s what Winterhymn calls their music and it does have different feeling to it than your general folk metal band. Winterhymn infuse clean vocals with growls and a wide range of instruments. Making it a great mix between genres such as black, death and power metal. One band that instantly comes to mind as a reference point to meld this genres well is Eluveitie.

The debut Songs for the Slain was released in 2011 with Blood & Shadow being Winterhymn’s follow-up after a lot of touring with known acts such as Children of Bodom, Eluveitie, Turisas and Korpiklaani. Since the debut a lot has changed in the lineup with half the band (Warg, Sieven and Ulfr) leaving to form Siegelord in 2013. That hasn’t stopped Winterhymn’s quest for conquest though as this has in all honesty spawned two good bands with a different approach to music (Siegelord plays melodic death metal). More on Siegelord in a future blog post.

Exura (keyboards), Umbriel (violin) and Draug (vocals, guitars) have their best performance yet with the three new recruits in Alvadar (bass, backing vocals), Valthrun (drums) and Varrik (guitars) making sure the change of members isn’t slowing the band down as they are on point. Blood & Shadow is full with great hymns like Seafarer, speedy power metal tunes such as Blood of the Moon and black folk Silenced by the Northern Winds. There is something for everyone on Blood & Shadow that wants an epic tale. Definitely an album I will go back to several times to find myself getting a new favorite song each and every time.

Winterhymn’s Blood & Shadow is out now by SoundAge Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Winterhymn
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/winterhymn
For fans of: Eluveitie and Arkona
Favorite song: Seafarer

Craving – By the Storm (Melodic Death/Folk Metal)

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Germany and Finland seems to almost have a stronghold of good folk metal bands as they just keep on coming and I keep on finding bands I’ve never heard of before from these countries that are great. From the same country that has given us the likes of Suidakra and Equilibrium Germany has a band that’s probably lesser known for most of you called Craving.

By the Storm is the bands third full-length release and since their formation in 2005 (as Erbos). The core three members Thorsten Flecken, Ivan Chertov and Maik Schaffstädter were together on the first two albums however with By the Storm the lineup has taken a big change. Craving now consists of Ivan Chertov on guitar/vocals, Leonid Rubinstein on bass and Tobias Petri on guitar, meaning Ivan Chertov is the only member left from the original lineup.

With the change though there isn’t really that much that’s different and fans of Craving will still feel right at home. Ivan is still a great vocalist, while Leonid and Tobias fills in the void left from the past members just fine. By the Storm is a really long album, the longest I’ve reviewed actually, clocking a whopping 1 hour and 18 minutes. I don’t think Craving offers anything extraordinary but at the same time it isn’t bad, it’s just compared to the likes of Equilibrium and Suidakra they are missing that little extra punch. For fans of said bands though Craving will be a nice surprise to anyone who haven’t heard of them before. If you have then don’t be alarmed by their lineup changes, they still still offers the melodeath/folk metal you’re used to.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CravingOfficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cravingofficial
For fans of: Suidakra and Equilibrium
Favorite song: Spirits of the Dead