Monday, February 9, 2009

Current Trend: Folk Metal

For those who were worried about my previous trend, don't be; I'm back. I have once again turned a 180 and am back in the belly of the beast, and by that I of course mean METAL!! This time, however, it's a new venture (as far as you know), this month my focus has been on Folk Metal.
For those who don't know folk metal is a sub-genre of power metal, where it keeps the sangs about war and magic and whatnot, but adds elements of either folk instruments or folkish ideals. The instruments include the flute, accordion, banjo, mandolin, violin, as well as native folk instruments like Latavian kokle, the Estonian torupill, the Finnish kantele, the oud and the saz. There are many different sub-classes of folk metal, with alot of different genres integrating folk sounds into their music. Most keep to that same idea of musical topics, most choosing a particular avenue to head down and stick with it. Many sing a mix of traditional songs of their homeland (or the homeland they which to emulate) and songs that are originals, but still have that old-time sound to them, well most of them, I doubt there was alot of heavy metal pirates in the 17th century.
Although I have alot of folk metal, some of it is way out there, so far that I can't really get behind it (Empylver - Wood Woud Would. God that was so weird). But these are a few of the artists that I have been listening to over and over.
  • Skyclad - The pioneer of folk metal, if it wasn't for these guys, folk metal wouldn't be what it is today, so much thanks for Skyclad for existing. Right from their first album, you knew that this was going to hang on. All of their songs are super folky, with several instruments and different chord progressions per song. I haven't heard too much of this group (I only have two albums, Wayward Sons of Mother Earth and A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol), but what I have heard I have enjoyed thoroughly.
  • Turisas - A Finnish folk metal band, named after the Finnish god of war, these guys' first album, titled Battle Metal, solidified their place in the folk metal halls. With songs of battle (as you may have guessed), chanting marching music, and hymn to the gods, Turisas is everything that is right with folk metal. They have both growled lyrics and melodic singing, often times with melodies that remind me of bards singing in castles of old. Their second release, The Varangian Way, continued their mauling of the airwaves. This release was more melodic then their last venture, which to me is a good thing. I can't wait for their next release, I hope it is soon.
  • Tyr - Tyr is more laid back then most on this list. While they do perform folk metal, it is often times slower, long pieces, with several parts throughout. Their music is closer to what I envision the music of the medieval times to be. Lots of harmonies, both in vocals as well in instruments. I only have two of their albums, How Far To Asgaard (the title track is my favorite by them), and Ragnarok (as the title suggests, this album was more up-tempo then the previous). They have a new album out this year, scheduled for April, and had one come out last year (which I did not know about until this writing). I'm going to do my best to find these albums, because I like their music, and because I am seeing them and Alestorm (see below) live on March 1, in Orlando.
  • Alestorm - A new band in the small sub-sub-genre of pirate metal. These guys keep up the flag that bands like Running Wild have hoisted. Their debut album, Captain Morgan's Revenge, was a (cannon)ball's to the wall joy ride of rum and treasure. Every song off that album is good. My favorites are the title track and "Nancy The Tavern Wench." I recently received their new EP, Leviathan, and was glad to see that it was along the same lines as their full-length. I can't wait to see them live, I'm sure they will be amazing.
  • Falconer - Falconer was one of the first (if not the very first) folk metal band I'd ever heard. It was 3 years ago (almost exactly) and I had just discovered the marvels of Last.FM. I was blown away by this new genre I had found. It was a long time before I heard anymore of their stuff, only catching a song here or there on my web radio, but just this past December, I found their entire discography. So I am working my way through their albums, and I like what I am hearing. I will continue listening and enjoying the symphonic folk.
So there you have it, the big five in my folk metal music collection. As I said I have alot more bands, and am doing my best to work through them all, but there are so many bands that require my attention, it's hard to say with any definite assurance that it will ever get done.


relations said...

If you're interested in native american based folk metal you should check out the Los Angeles based tribal grindcrust band RESISTANT CULTURE.

check out there bio:
Resistant Culture is the development of extreme and tribal music that has weaved the indigenous flute, rattle, tribal drum, and chant into an organic and flowing tapestry with extreme contemporary punk and metal.

Resistant Culture's root structure extends deep from the tree of extreme music. In its original form going back to the late 1980s, the band was called Resistant Militia. It combined the arts of punk and metal to incite a new movement that fused dark heavy sounds with the politics of survival.

Over the years, founder Anthony Rezhawk’s hauntingly audible growls have been backed by many fleeting members. The current line-up consists of the following musical visionaries.

For over a decade, Katina, a classically trained guitarist has brought a high degree of sophistication to the band. Thrashing hair, shredding leads, and incendiary tone distinguish her as an axe-woman to rival the hordes of men.

Since the late 90s, Rafa, a veteran avante-guard punk innovator has brought diverse musical elements on bass.

In 2003, Ben Axiom, the anarcho-punk/metal influenced drummer was recruited. He thunders out an alternating barrage of machine-like blasts and traditional heart-driven punk beats.

As the current line-up congealed and proved to be the most powerful and dynamic yet assembled, the late Jesse Pintado R.I.P. (TERRORIZER/NAPALM DEATH) a long time friend and former band-mate of Anthony Rezhawk, began writing, recording, and playing with Resistant Culture. He contributed on and off for two years before his tragic abrupt death in August 2006.

The last contribution Jesse made to the world of music was the monumental long awaited Terrorizer follow-up release Darker Days Ahead. It was his recent involvement in Resistant Culture that laid the foundation for Anthony Rezhawk’s vocal performance on this historic album.

Currently licensed by SOS records, the re-release of Resistant Culture’s Welcome to Reality CD contains 16 tracks of urgent tribal grind crust.

The band has finished the long awaited All One Struggle ablum and is currently licensing distribution throughout the world.

Heidi said...

So you're coming to Paganfest this summer then? The closest venue is May 18th in Virginia, but I suspect they'll have a Georgia date soon in June. I'll drive!

The Klepto said...

Thanks for letting me know about Resistant Culture Relations. I'll check them out.

And Heidi, Pegan Fest is a maybe. It depends what I'm doing for summer (I may not even be in the country). And also it depends on price, location and bands. But if it's all good I am deff in.