Archive for the Folk Category

Siena Root – A Dream of Lasting Peace

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , on 22nd May 2017 by mickbirchy

Siena Root

A Dream of Lasting Peace

Rock, Folk, Psychedelic

Released 26th May 2017

via Hänsel & Gretel, MIG-Music

 

This has been a listen for me. Lately I’ve been really into my mellow music, instead of in your face heavy metal. When I first played the album I was immediately interested in the sound that was coming from the speakers. The sheer imagination these guys bring to the table is outstanding. The music is this psychedelic folk sound that’s really hard out of your head.  Their tone is just unlike anything I’ve really listened to in recent memory. The sweeping guitar tones, the excellent production and the fantastic songwriting. It all sounds so glorious. A Dream of Lasting Peace is a just a excellent listen from start to finish.

The production of this album is really damn good. The instrumentation is exquisite, with every member really making an impression on you. Samuel Björö’s vocals are just so emotional and they soar above the production and really resonates with you. He is just one of those front men that can really paint a picture with his word and draw you into the world he creates. All the while the band plays an amazing score to accompany the great lyrics. The way the music swells around the lyric is a magical experience, particularly on tracks like “The Piper Won’t Let You Stay” & “Empty Streets”. I was simply entranced the whole time. It’s just excellent from start to finish. I really can’t stop listening to it.

This feels like a band that just know how to create a great musical experience, This being their sixth studio album, the band have just gelled at this point. Everything about their sound is so natural and almost comes off as effortless. It’s such a nice album just to play and have a good time to. Just let the music entrance you into a state of euphoria. It’s seriously a great trip.  I’m so happy to have found this band. This one album is definitely worth your time.

5/5
Mick Birchall

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Perfect Blue Sky – The Eye of Tilos

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 6th May 2017 by mickbirchy

 

Perfect Blue Sky

The Eye of Tilos

Soft Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Released: 19th May 2017

via Scarecrow Music Group (SE) Right Recordings (UK)

Perfect Blue Sky, is the highly anticipated collaboration between one of the founding members of the Swedish metal act Netherbird Pontus, Pna Andersson and Australian solo rock vocalist, Jane Kitto. Together they formed the band in 2014 based out of Stockholm, Sweden. I have to say going into this album, The Eye of Tilos, I knew little to nothing about them. With that, I had absolutely no expectations when first playing this. On first listen I had no idea what I was in for.  Just vague non-descriptors from a PR statement. With a clear mind I listened on and found that this is one of the most pleasant sounding albums I’ve listened to in a while.

I was hit with tight songwriting and smooth production.  The music was this 70’s style soft rock, you know the kind of stuff that we don’t usually cover here on Valkyrian Music. This really beautiful soft acoustic soft rock, with light elements of psychedelic indie rock music. The sounds are so fluent and cerebral.  It has this way of getting lodged in your brain. It’s not catchy as such, there are no real ear worms here. More just beautiful tones that sink into your memory without you even realising it.  There’s some creative riffs and superbly simplistic, but effective, writing ideas. The harmonies really grab your attention in a way that you wouldn’t think.  All of the songs are designed so that you pay attention to them as a whole, instead of nitpicking the individual aspects. It’s the same joy I feel from listening to stoner metal or outlaw country music.  Just music that switches off my overthinking capacity and switches on my pure enjoyment.

I don’t want you to think that this production is small scale or under planned.  There’s a lot of work that goes into making music that sounds like this.  To achieve this the duo have recruited a pretty nice backing band that really bring all of the elements of this album together. Names like, Frank Bessard (Joe Satriani, Stanley Clarke) and Dave Getz (Big Brother Holding Co.) on Drums. Danny Oakhill on Keyboards (Queen Tribute, Turk Tresize).  Jerry Donahue on Guitar (Fairport Convention, Hellecasters). All of them bring their energy to the album, yet like I’ve said the production never lets any one member really over shine the others.  There is is this really nice balance to it all. So the listener never feels overwhelmed by any one part of the production.

Genuinely, I have loved this album. It’s a beautiful sounding record with a lot to offer in its production and in its songwriting. With songs of passion, abstract concepts and social commentary. The Eye of Tilos is such a nice sounding album.  It mixes old school hippie jams with classic rock and adds some modern style production to really keep it in today’s market. I am really liking this band.  Hopefully this won’t be the last I hear from them. Also, it makes for awesome driving music.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Behemoth’s Nergal launches dark folk side-project Me And That Man

Posted in Folk, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , , , , on 20th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

The Behemoth frontman Nergal has recently formed a new side-project with rock musician John Porter. The project is called Me And That Man and it is completely different from Nergal’s main band.

There are no metal elements, instead Me And That Man is more akin to the works of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. Dark folk is the best description that I can think of.

The duo are currently working on their debut album ‘Songs of Love and Death’, which is scheduled to hit the shops on 24th March 2017 via Cooking Vinyl.

In the meantime you can check out their first video here:

For more information about the project visit:

https://www.facebook.com/meandthatman/?fref=ts

http://www.meandthatman.com/

Equilibrium – Armageddon

Posted in CD, Folk, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th August 2016 by mickbirchy

Equilibrium
Armageddon
Folk Metal, Symphonic Black Metal
Released 12 August 2016
via Nuclear Blast

Equilibrium’s fifth album, Armageddon is everything that you want out of them. It’s big and bold. It hit’s really hard and gets you going. You will have to understand, going into this album, that I’m relatively new to their work and have only looked up them quite recently. Coming into this review I was completely blown away by the sheer scale of the album. Every part of the production is massive in delivery and even manages to have its fun jaunty moments. All of the songs are good and the writing really shines, even if I did have to look up some of the lyrics online.

The part of this album that I feel lets it down slightly is where is mushes the sounds together to get this muddied sound that’s a little too reliant on the guitars’ distortion. I feel this bogs the sound down somewhat and the guttural vocals aren’t helping. So what you get is this heavy mess of distorted noise. What saves it is the symphonic elements. The big orchestra sound really pulls the album together and gives the songs context. Along with the folk instrumentation, it highlights how fun and exciting Equilibrium are. In fact my favourite parts of the album are just the instrumental parts where there are no vocals.

For me personally Equilibrium’s Armageddon is a mixed goody bag. There are odd thing in it that’s just disappointing and I just don’t really like. Then you have the good moments that I find really impressive and interesting. I do feel the good outweighs the bad, as there is a lot of instrumental sections that have that epic quality to them. Overall I do enjoy this album and it definitely made me curious to check out their older material, so I can recommend it as a jumping on point for their music. It’s intricate enough and has a strong enough sound that you’ll want to listen to it a few times.

3.5/5

Mick Bichall

Lumous Gothic Festival 2016

Posted in Festival, Folk, Industrial, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17th July 2016 by izaforestspirit

Shiv-R, Two Witches, Aesthetic Perfection

Klubi, Tampere, Finland

1516th July

For the past few years, Finland’s biggest Gothic event – Lumous Gothic Festival – has been one of the highlights of my summer. There was some rumours going around that last year’s 15th anniversary edition was going to be the last one. Luckily that was not the case. Not only is Lumous still running, they actually sold out the Saturday’s show. This year the music on offer was a mixture of EBM, Harsh Electro/Aggrotech, Goth Rock and neo-folk.

Friday

First up was the futuristic-styled EBM duo Blastromen. These two really looked like extras from one of the Tron movies, thanks to their luminous “space robot” suits. They played some catchy EBM enhanced with robotic vocals and plenty of flashing lights. The flashing lights were a bit too much for my little camera to handle but I enjoyed the performance. 3/5

Goth rock is one of the most popular genres at the festival. I’ve seen a number of good Goth rock bands at Lumous and Canis Lupus was no exception. Unlike some goth bands who tend to overdo the melancholic and gloomy atmosphere, these guys actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. Their vocals and overall style reminded me of Sisters of Mercy. 4/5

The night’s headlining act, the Australian Harsh Electro band Shiv-R was the main band that I came to see. I’ve only discovered them recently so I was keen to see what they are like live. Their show was very energetic, filled with lots of creepy imagery projected from the screens and lots of very catchy dark electro tunes. I was dancing pretty much throughout the show. 5/5

 

Saturday

Every year Lumous Gothic Festival features at least one “wild card” – a band or solo artist who sounds or sometimes looks dramatically different from all the others. This year that “wild card” was the British neo-folk artist Naevus. This was a special “solo set” featuring just the band’s singer on acoustic guitar. Whilst I can fully acknowledge that Mr. Lloyd James has a good voice and he is a talented guitar player, this type of music is simply not my style. 3.5/5

Local favourites, the renowned Finnish goth rock band Two Witches are big part of the local Goth scene and they are heavily involved with the festival. Last night was the official release party for the brand new live album ‘Voodoo Wytches -Live. I’ve seen them live before but each show is a little different… This time they played at a venue packed full of cheering fans at a sold.out show. Their set consisted primarily of old songs including several classics such as ‘Vampire Empire’, ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’, ‘The Omen’ and ‘Burn The Witch’. It was really good to see them live again. There’s not that many Goth rock bands that I enjoy but Two Witches is definitely one of them. 5/5

 

Whilst I’m not a massive of their latest work, I have to admit that American electro- industrial Aggrotech band Aesthetic Perfection are always entertaining to watch live. I’m a big fan of the first three albums so I was really happy when they played most of the hits from that era including: ‘Spit It Out’, The Great Depression’, ‘Inhuman’ and ‘The Ones’. ‘Antibody’ wasn’t bad either but I’m not super keen on their mellow ballads. 4.5/5

 

So there you have it. Another great weekend at Lumous Gothic Festival. Two Witches is always fun to watch live, Aesthetic Perfection put on another great show, Shiv-R was a new discovery and my favourite performance of the festival.

Iza Raittila

 

Grimner – Frost Mot Eld

Posted in CD, Folk, Metal with tags , , , , , on 20th March 2016 by mickbirchy

Grimner
Frost Mot Eld
Folk-Metal, Viking Metal
Released: 25 March 2016
Via Despotz

So I’ve found myself in this predicament.  Reviewing an album in a language that I don’t speak and trying to discuss a sub-genre that I enjoy but don’t fully understand.  This should be a treat. Well before I get started, I will underline this review with this statement: I like this album, I think Grimner are a good band with a lot of potential.  There, with that being said.  Let’s discuss this album.

Grimner for the uninitiated are a Viking folk metal band from Motala, Sweden. They have been around for the better part of a decade and their music consists of mixing metal with folk instrumentation. The only real experience I have of this is with the bands Turisas, Korpiklaani and Ensiferum and even that is limited. All of those bands I enjoy just fine but however I think there is a fine line between this music being good and it just not working and all of these band cross that line from time to time. However I think Frost Mot Eld is a perfectly acceptable effort.  The production is nice and there is a really nice balance of the metal elements and the folk instruments all the while nothing feels overshadowed everything just hits the right note.

The melodies a beautifully written and well arranged.  The music encompasses you and while listening to the record I got caught up in the musicianship as I am sure anyone would be.  The music is great.  The more “metal” elements are catchy and give the album an intensity and harshness which counters the pleasant, clean tones of the folk instrumentation.  The only thing that I’m not a fan of is the guttural vocals, don’t get me wrong, they’re not badly executed or anything but when compared to the clean vocals on the album they seem a little lackluster. Even the big choir like vocal stylings shine in comparison.  If you’re into that type of vocals with this music then fine.  However I feel the clean vocals are just too nice to be pushed to the side for the heavy guttural vocals.

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying this album a lot lately and maybe I need to get into it a little more.  I like the sound and it’s certainly different to a lot of music I usually listen to. The music is nice and the songs are very well written.  I find myself humming the melodies long after I’ve turned it off.  If folk metal is your sort of thing and what I’ve described sounds good to you then go check it out.

3/5

Mick Birchall

Wucan – Sow The Wind

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , on 5th October 2015 by izaforestspirit

Wucan
Sow The Wind
Released 25th September 2015
Blues Rock/ Retro Rock
Released via Hänsel & Gretel, division of M.I.G-Music GmbH

‘Sow The Wind’ is the debut album from the German blues rock band Wucan. The band describes their sound as “Kraut-fueled Heavy Flute Rock” and cites Jethro Tull, other blues rock and psychedelic musicians amongst their influences.

The sound of a flute isn’t exactly the first instrument that comes to mind when you hear the term “blues rock”… And “what on earth is retro rock?” I hear you ask… Well, if the opening track Father Storm is anything to go by, then I can state that in this case the term retro rock means playing songs which sound like they were recorded by a group of hippies in the early 1970s rather than a modern rock band in 2015.

There is a fair amount of folk influences in here. Flute sounds and acoustic guitars blend in with melodic, blues rock style female vocals on most of the songs to create that “retro” feel. In addition to this, some of the tracks feature elements of funk music – for example the groove sounds of rhythmic guitar and the Hammond organ on Looking In The Past. Then just in case that’s not enough to make you feel like you have traveled back to the 1970s, the guitar work on their final piece Wandersmann has a certain experimental flair to it which gives the song a weird, psychedelic quality.

In summary, listening to ‘Sow The Wind’ felt like traveling back in time to an era when these types of music were in vogue. So if you’re a fan of either folk music, blues rock or ’70s style psychedelic rock then you could enjoy this. Personally it’s not my kind of thing but I appreciate the effort that they put into creating that “retro”, nostalgic sound.

4/5

Iza Raittila