Archive for Finntroll

Finntroll announce new album details

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , on 26th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been seven years since their last studio effort . Now the Finnish folk metal horde Finntroll are pleased to announce that their new album will be out this autumn. The long-awaited follow-up to ‘Blodsvept’ bears the title ‘Vredesvävd’ (meaning wrath woven in Swedish).

Here is an official statement from the band:

“Vredesvävd is shamelessly untrendy, fierce and a catchy album. Raising a mushroom-cladded middle finger towards lazy rock music, it whips and whacks the poor listener in a way that only Finntroll is capable of delivering. Combining something old, something new and a ton of something black.”

Check out the artwork and track-listing:

  1. Väktaren
  2. Att Döda Med En Sten
  3. Ormfolk
  4. Gränars Väg
  5. Forsen
  6. Vid Häxans Härd
  7. Myren
  8. Stjärnornas Mjöd
  9. Mask
  10. Ylaren
Finntroll - Vredesvävd

‘Vredesvävd’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide in both digital and physical formats on 18th September 2020 via Century Media Records.

For more information visit:

https://www.trollhorde.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialfinntroll/

Grimner – Vanadrottning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 4th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Grimner
Vanadrottning
Released 9th February 2018
Folk Metal/ Viking Metal
Released via Despotz Records

Grimner - Vanadrottning

Swedish Viking metal band Grimner are celebrating their 1Oth anniversary this year. They have decided to mark the occasion with the release of the new album ‘Vanadrottning’. The album title is a reference to the Vanir goddess Gullveig who was reborn after being burned alive three times by the Aesir gods during the war between the Aesir and the Vanir.

I don’t really listen to much folk metal these days. Not because I dislike the genre; there was a time when I loved it. That’s starting to be quite a a few years ago now. Since then most of the bands that I used to like have either gone stale, repetitive or just downright bad. Very few have actually stood the test of time and continued to make memorable music. Finntroll and Eluveitie come to mind though the latter occasionally overdoes it on the folk, omitting the metal. So where does Grimner stand in all this? Let’s find out shall we…?

In many ways this sounds pretty much like you would expect any good folk metal album to sound. No surprises, just your usual blend of folk instruments such as flutes and bagpipes mixed with traditional heavy metal guitars and drums. The use of their native tongue works to their advantage since Swedish is one of those languages that is melodic by nature and easy to sing. Also the dual vocal configuration, mixing the harsh with the melodic seems to work pretty well. The title track’s chorus is likely to stick in your head for a while and you will be tempted to to sing along even if your Swedish is as non-existent as mine is. The guitar work ain’t half bad either.

The flutes and bagpipes have a prominent role as the album progresses. Take ‘En Fallen Jätte’ for example, it’s easily one of the record’s finest moments; packed with “bouncing” flute tunes and equally playful guitar riffs. If this isn’t enough to make you want to get up and dance then there must be something wrong with you! Some of the songs actually reminded me of Finntroll but that could be just due to the language of the lyrics and the sound of bagpipes. Like I said, I don’t understand Swedish but luckily you don’t need to in order to enjoy Grimner’s music.
At least I don’t think there’s too many mentions of evil trolls in the lyrics…

What they do have however, is Erik Grawsiö (Månegarm) as a guest vocalist on Fafnersbane, one of the more melodic songs. The inclusion of Mr. Grawsiö suits the song well though it seems a bit like they are playing it safe by considering how similar the two bands are to each other. Sången Om Grimner also caught my attention as one of the slower, calmer songs on here and probably the closest thing this album has to a ballad.

Overall, I have enjoyed listening to ‘Vanadrottning’. It’s been a highly entertaining ride. As far as folk and viking metal go, this album doesn’t really offer anything new. I could produce a whole list of bands that sound similar but what’s the point? These guys aren’t new to the scene, they have been around for a decade. Luckily for them they happen to be good and what they do.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Tampere Metal Meeting 2016

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , on 19th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Insomnium, Moonsorrow, Tiamat, Finntroll
Ratinanniemi, Tampere, Finland
17-18th June 2016

Tampere Metal Meeting is a brand new open air festival which was held in Tampere city centre for the very first time this year. The line-up included many well-known Finnish bands such as Finntroll and Insomnium along with a few foreign bands such as Tiamat (Sweden) and Deströyer666 (Australia).

Friday 17th June
The first band I got to see was Omnium Gatherum. I’m not too familiar with their music so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. They played some decent-sounding and fairly entertaining melodic death metal. 3/5

The next band that caught my attention was Baptism. These guys were on the smaller stage, playing in broad daylight with some bright “disco”lights flickering at them from all angles. Not really what you would expect to see from a grim black metal band but they made it work somehow. It was a good show. 4/5

The Man-Eating Tree are one of those bands who like to play beautifully dark, melancholic, melodic and atmospheric metal. It usually sounds good on the albums but their shows are not the most energetic although I did enjoy their cover of Type of Negative’ s ‘Everything Dies’. 3/5

The highlight of the night for me was a performance by Moonsorrow. These guys really know how to agitate the crowd with their super catchy and very entertaining folk metal. I’ve seen them live before but this show was much better than the one I saw a few years ago. 5/5

I’ve seen Insomnium live before so I decided to give them a miss. So the last band I saw that night was the Demilich. I only just discovered this band recently and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I heard was some good, old-school technical death metal. Nothing ground-breaking but it was fun to watch. 3/5

Saturday 18th June
This time I arrived at the festival area a little earlier in the afternoon, just in time to watch Ranger. I’ve seen them live before so I pretty much knew what to expect from their show. It was pure fun and energetic speed-thrash metal from one of Finland’s most promising new metal bands. They’re always good live, especially at a summer festival. 5/5

I tend to have bad luck when it comes to Barathrum gigs. The last time that I saw them live, the show was a complete disaster due to their singer being too drunk to even stand let alone remember his own song lyrics. This time was much better. He was visibly less inebriated and he actually managed to put on a good performance. They played all the hits including ‘Dark Sorceress’, ‘Legions of Perkele’ and ‘Last Day in Heaven’. Then Mr. Sova threw a bottle of cow’s blood off the stage at the end of the show. 4/5

Next up was the melodic death metal band Kalmah. Their style is fairly similar to that of their fellow countrymen Children of Bodom. These guys sure know how to entertain the home crowd with the singer cracking the odd joke before the song announcements. 4/5

Then there was Nocturnus AD who played an interesting and somewhat bizarre mixture of technical death metal with some experimental sci-fi themes and keyboard noise. It was ok at times and downright weird at others. 2.5/5

By the time that Finntroll came on stage, the weather had taken a downturn. Nonetheless this horde of merry troll-folk are always a joy to watch – even in the pouring rain. They promised “crazy madness and circus” and that’s exactly watch they delivered. The crowds loved it and so did I. It didn’t take long for me to join in the dancing and headbanging along to the happy troll tunes. They experienced some technical problems with the sound towards the end of their set. Luckily they managed to get it fixed leaving just enough time for ‘Trollhammeren’ plus one more song. 5/5

Next up was the Australians, Deströyer666 who played a tight set of fast and furious blackened thrash metal. It was a highly entertaining show in spite of the stormy weather. 4/5

 photo Destroumlyer666-guitarist_zpsodldn5xr.jpg

The final band was one of my favourites, the Swedish metal band Tiamat. They played some truly dark and beautiful Gothic metal featuring Henriette Bordvik (ex-Sirenia) as a guest vocals on some of the tracks. The highlights for me were: ‘The Wings of Heaven’, ‘Thunder & Lightning’, ‘Vote For Love’ and ‘Gaia’. 5/5

In summary Tampere Metal Meeting was a great way to spend the weekend. The weather could have been better but the music was excellent. My favorite shows were Moonsorrow, Finntroll and Tiamat. Notable mentions go to Barathrum (well done Demonos Sova!) and Deströyer666.

Iza Raittila

For further info check out: http://www.tamperemetalmeeting.fi/

 

Interview with Finntroll

Posted in Festival, Interview, Live with tags , on 19th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Iza had a little chat with Mörkö and Skrymer from Finntroll before their show at Tampere Metal Meeting yesterday.

Iza: Hi guys!

Finntroll: Hey..

Iza: How are you doing guys? How are you enjoying the festival so far?

Finntroll: We basically arrived here just like an hour ago so we’re preparing the stage and ready to rock n’ roll for the show.

Iza: Are you planning to watch any of the bands?

Finntroll: Hopefully… Hopefully we can see, for instance Kalmah because we will be on stage right after them. Then that’s our festival. After the show we’re going straight back home.

Iza: So what can we expect from your show tonight? More crazy troll music?

Finntroll: Yeah… Experience crazy madness and circus. That’s how it usually is… (laughs)

Iza: Shame about the weather. You had better weather the last time that I saw you live at a festival.

Finntroll: Yeah, it could be. It’s been raining all day. So it’s probably going to rain in the evening as well…

Iza: Well, thanks and good luck with the show! See you!

Finntroll: Thanks and see you later! It’s going to be good.

Stay tuned for the full festival report coming soon.

http://www.tamperemetalmeeting.fi/

http://www.finntroll-music.com/

Finntroll w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 24th March 2015 by Pieni

Profane Omen, HateSphere, Finntroll
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
20th March 2015
Promoted by SWR Inc

 photo _DSC0902_zpsz1fh4hdu.jpg

With “Nattfödd” celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, Finntroll embarked on an intense European tour where they’ve been playing the album in full. The second leg of the tour included an one-off show in Portugal that was almost a no-show – there were some problems during the trip between Madrid and Porto (“you wouldn’t believe it if I told you” were Vreth’s words), but they made it, about forty minutes later. And since half of the gigs in my country run late, we didn’t even realize how serious the situation was.

 photo _DSC0152_zpsqiqqhhvt.jpgProfane Omen stormed the stage with wide smiles on their faces. They had never played in Portugal before and that was something they’d been wanting to fix for a long time, which singer Jules Näveri told us in a perfect Brazilian-accented Portuguese! I later learned he’s married to a Brazilian lady, explaining why he is so fluent in this difficult language. But even if it was quite easy for him, it was something highly appreciated by everyone in the room and helped breaking the ice, since it was obvious that Profane Omen weren’t exactly famous among the crowd. Well, they are now. And not just because the singer could speak Portuguese (and even make funny remarks). I’m pretty sure their music and adrenaline-driven performance would eventually win the audience over. I’d heard of them before, but not the music, and for some reason I was convinced they were a death metal band. Wrong! Their sound is just as heavy but with lot of groove and a punk-rock irreverence that made my first expression – “stormed the stage” – quite literal. Around since 1999, the Lahti-based band has released four full-lengths so far and played a little bit from every one (well, almost every one – they left “Inherit The Void” out), kicking off with “Wastehead” and finishing with “Painbox”. It was my first time seeing them and hopefully not the last. And a longer setlist next time would be even better! (5/5)

 photo _DSC0202_zpsrflljwpx.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Profane-Omen/42711203429

 photo _DSC0634_zpsjdpsfvlx.jpgNow HateSphere didn’t need any introduction to the Portuguese audience. Last time the Danish played here, in support of Hypocrisy, “Murderlust” had just been released – three days before – and we were hoping that they would return to promote it as headliners. That didn’t happen but it didn’t make the reaction of the fans less enthusiastic – some of them were there that night exclusively to see them perform.

Because of the delay, they had to cut their set shorter, beginning with “Reaper Of Life” instead of “Lies And Deceit”, as apparently was the original idea (I took a peak at the setlist, where “Lies…” was at the top, crossed all over by a black marker).  Still, as in any other HateSphere gig, they made the best of their available time, totally owning the place.

Since Trevor Strnad wasn’t there, it was the crowd that helped Esse singing “Iconoclast”, doing the same gesture of repeatedly raising the arms in the air, as it’s typical of The Black Dahlia Murder singer. “Oh, so you know the guy? Good!”, said Esse with a grin. He would also say we looked beautiful, even if he admitted he couldn’t see a thing, thanks to the smoke machine.

And speaking of helping singing… At some point, Esse turned the mic into someone in the crowd, and later he would actually pass it into someone else’s hands. Not sure if those “someones” were random as the first was Afonso Ribeiro, drummer in local band Gates Of Hell, and the second was Raça, former singer in that same band – a band who plays this cool little song called “Abusive Resolution”, where Esse did some guest vocals on its recording.

“Oceans” and “Sickness” were the two final songs, the latter entitled to the already traditional wall of death. The moshing that followed suit was even more intense than what had been until then and trust me – that says a lot. Once again we wish next time we’ll see them as headliners, like we did back in 2010, when still promoting “To The Nines”. One can always hope, right? (5/5)

 photo _DSC0622_zpsxvzou6sk.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/hatesphere666

 photo _DSC0935_zpsjo2fv883.jpgI know some people left after HateSphere, but still the room was more crowded for Finntroll than at the opening of the doors. That’s the downside of having a bill of so distinct genres – it reaches a wider range of public, more tickets are sold, but it doesn’t mean all the people will watch all the bands.

Between gigs there’s always background music playing, but this time we had… frogs. And crickets. A very nocturnal sound. I know that trolls live in swamps and “nattfödd” means “born at night”, but listening to that during the whole intermission was a bit too much. Or maybe it was my eagerness to see Finntroll after six years.

Without surprise, “Nattfödd” was performed in its entirety and then came the promotion of the latest “Blodsvept” (that’s actually two years old already – damn, time flies!) mixed with a bunch of classics. All drenched in beer and happy dancing.

Vreth was quite chatty, to which the crowd responded loud and cheerful. At some point he asked who had been at their last gig there and I was surprised that not many hands were raised. But then again, there were lots of kids at the venue, I suppose they weren’t old enough to attend a festival back in 2009… (I was there, took a few cool pics too: http://frontrowforever.net/2011/05/28/revisited-finntroll-caos-emergente-20090913/)

I believe it was after “Jaktens Tid” that they left the stage and the damn frogs echoed again until Finntroll returned for the encore. But by this time I was too pleased to be bothered by the croaking – these trolls don’t belong in the forest but definitely on stage. (5/5)

 photo _DSC0001_zps900zoy1s.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/officialfinntroll

Photos & text by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Finntroll to release first live album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 18th May 2014 by Pieni

 photo finntrollnatten_zps2e932a2d.jpg

“Natten Med De Levande Finntroll” (Night with the living Finntroll) is the title chosen for the upcoming debut live album of the Finnish folk masters. Recorded at the famous Melkweg in Amsterdam and mixed & mastered by the even more famous duo Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila, this album gathers 19 anthems of Finntroll‘s “unholy hybrid style” and proves that is “onstage and in the raw” that they function best.

Scheduled for release on the 16th June via Spinefarm Records, the track list is as follows:

1. Kitteldags
2. Slaget vid Blodsälv
3. Blodnatt
4. Nedgång
5. Nattfödd
6. Ursvamp
7. Eliytres
8. Aldhissla
9. Jaktens Tid
10. Rivfader
11. Korpens Saga
12. Trollhammaren
13. Fiskarens Fiende
14. Svartberg
15. Försvinn Du Som Lyser
16. Midnattens Widunder
17. En Mäktig Här
18. Det Iskalla Trollblodet
19. Segersång

www.finntroll-music.com
www.facebook.com/officialfinntroll
twitter.com/finntrollmusic

Lost Society give the low down on the first five tracks from Terror Hungry

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Lost Society are set to unleash their new album Terror Hungry next month through Nuclear Blast. In anticipation of the new album, the guys have filmed a video giving fans the down low on the album. Lost Society decided to do this while on tour so each track is covered in a different country and/or city, giving fans a chance to see what life on the road with these four Finnish dudes is like. The first clips which covers the first five tracks can be viewed just below:

Part One: Spurgatory

Part Two: Game Over and Attaxic

Part Three: Lethal Pleasure and Terror Hungry

Lost Society online:

http://facebook.com/lostsocietyfinland
http://youtube.com/lostsocietyfinland
https://twitter.com/lostsocietyfi

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hannah’s 2013 Highlights

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Misc. with tags , , , , , on 4th January 2014 by Hannah

Well, we are now 4 days into 2014, and it’s that time of year again. Time to look back and reflect on 2013, a year of great highs and lows. Personally, 2013 was a crock of shite. Ill health, family and friends dropping like daisies, rubbish chucked at me academically; I’m well shot of it. Musically, however, it was much better! We had a few absolute curve balls chucked at us, but in general I think it was a splendid year for musical releases within the metal world and beyond. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 metal albums of the year. Strap yourselves in and play the Top of the Pops theme tune as we count them down- but in no particular order. Sorry!

FinntrollBlodsvept

An absolute corker of an album, Finntroll are once again on shining form. I sometimes wonder if the rollicking band of Finnish folk-stalwarts will get one wrong, but they prove themselves time and time again.

GhostInfestissumam

In many ways, 2013 could be seen as the year of Ghost (for copyright purposes, in the ol’ U.S. of A., see: Ghost B.C.). Papa Emeritus II (or should that be 1.2?) and his ghoulish brigade seem absolutely unstoppable and this proggy, weird, almost unsettlingly catchy offering gives more fuel to that fire.

CathedralThe Last Spire

As we shall see in my ‘Top 5 Highs and Lows of 2013’ shortly, this was also the year I was forced to say goodbye to one of my favourite bands, but Cathedral’s last ever offering did not disappoint. As many observed, this seemed to bring them full circle and back to their simple, crushing doomy roots and it was a bittersweet triumph.

Chthonic- Bú-Tik

The Taiwanese black-symphonic metallers offered us this brutal follow up to 2011’s brilliant Takasago Army this year, and what an album! The troupe from Taipei constantly manage to sound fresh and never lose any of that fury, channelling their rage in their music and fleshing their sound out with that distinctive, symphonic blend of metal and traditional Taiwanese refrains.

Black Sabbath- 13

If you know me, then you know I like grinding, crushing, groovy metal. Then it must come as no surprise that this list includes 13, the phenomenal come back from the legends that are Black Sabbath. Sounding as fresh and vibrant as they did on seminal releases such as Black Sabbath or Paranoid, 13 saw Sabbath at their absolute best, and I for one am so happy to see them back.

Amon Amarth- Deceiver of the Gods

I can’t possibly list my favourite albums of the year without Amon Amarth. Some people say they are samey and don’t offer anything new. I think they know what works and stick to that winning formula. The Swedes once again brought their mythological flavoured metal to us on this stonker and I love it.

Fleshgod Apocalypse- Labyrinth

Italian technical death metal band Fleshgod have been around for a while but they are a relatively new thing for me. Having said that, Labyrinth is a great album and well deserving of a place in my top 10. For one, it’s a concept album based on mythology- the legend of the Labyrinth of Knossos, if you didn’t know, but of course you did- and for two, it does it well. Brilliant, from start to finish.

Tyr- Valkyrja

I’ll keep this short and sweet- Tyr are phenomenal. The two covers that round this album out are almost unrecognisable in their execution. The progression shown by Tyr from The Lay of Thrym to this is fascinating and I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Hell- Curse and Chapter

Really, if I’m being honest, 2013 was the year I fell in love with Hell. I can’t say enough good things about this band- they are blasphemous, outrageous, and ridiculously good fun to boot. They serve up a one-of-a-kind blend of NWOBHM and theatrics and Curse and Chapter is just outstanding. I predicted that they will be Bloodstock headliners within five years in this year’s Bloodstock review. I now make that three years.

Satyricon- Satyricon

A rather controversial choice, maybe? I know how unpopular this record has been with a lot of long-time Satyricon fans, but this long-time Satyricon fan loved their eponymous album. The thing I love about Satyricon is that Satyr is never afraid to go to places that make fans uncomfortable and force them out of that safe zone. Their albums are never formulaic and I really appreciate their bravery and daring, and willingness to shake things up. A great album.

Wasn’t that fun? Now, this next Top 5 may be a little unorthodox, but I’m a music lover. I love all music, even- SHOCK HORROR!- that which is not metal. So here are my 5 Top Non-Metal releases of the year!

HIM- Tears on Tape

HIM are one of my favourite bands- okay, you can shoot me if you want- because they do what they do incredibly well and without apologies. Tears on Tape is one of their best albums to date and it’s surprisingly heavy in parts- you can see that Ville Valo really worships a few gothic and doom metal bands in the songs on this record!

AFI- Burials

I was thoroughly mortified by Crash Love. Like, irrevocably mortified. AFI are a band I have loved since I was 12 and whilst Burials is definitely no closer to what they used to be than Crash Love or even Decemberunderground, it manages to make up for it in atmosphere and a healthy dose of gloom. Davey Havok’s voice hasn’t sounded this good in a long time, and neither has Jade Puget’s playing. Welcome back, boys!

David Bowie- The Next Day

David Bowie is the king and I worship him. Seriously, though, The Next Day is a welcome return by the Thin White Duke, 10 years after his last release, and it is an unusual, almost-awkward slice of musical bliss. This album shows more energy and enthusiasm for making beautiful music- to get pretentious, for making auditory art- than bands half his age.

Little Mix- Salute

I love Little Mix, I don’t even care. They were put together on that Christmas-number-one machine that is The X Factor, sure, but they actually work ridiculously well together as a group and they contribute to the writing of their songs to boot. Their second album, Salute, is indeed a salute to the sassy, R’n’B flavoured pop of the nineties. It works, it’s ludicrously catchy, and I love it.

Lorde- Pure Heroine

I hated Lorde the first time I heard her. Her lyrics are stupid and non-sensical (see: Tennis Court), the kind of faux-intellectualism loved by the stylish hipster crews that are the current ‘in’ crowd. She’s a clever girl with some fierce ideas, though, and by GOD did this album get under my skin after a while and now I can’t get enough of it and I’m sorry.

Okay, I’ll get back to the metal now. Rounding up my 2013 retrospective is a look at five of the most important events of the year. These are my Top 5 Highs and Lows of 2013.

Randy Blythe is acquitted

Of course, the story most people will remember this year is that Randy Blythe was acquitted of all charges on the 5th of March this year. Blythe had been facing jail after 19 year old Daniel Nosek died after being pushed from the stage at a Lamb of God show in Prague in 2010. Whilst the courts agreed that Blythe was morally responsible for Nosek’s death, they did not find him guilty of any criminal liability.

Emperor Reform for 2014 Festival Season

Yes, my friends. Legendary black metal outfit Emperor officially announced a reunion for a series of special performances, including Wacken’s 25th anniversary, BOA 2014 and Hellfest 2014. I have my ticket to Bloodstock and I can’t fucking wait, because Emperor are the bee’s proverbial knees. Oh yes.

Cathedral Call it Quits

30th April 2013 was a sad, sad day in the world of doom metal, as protectors of the groove Cathedral called it a day on the release of their tenth studio album, The Last Spire. After waving the flag for crushing, gloomy, often psychedelic doom for twenty-one years, Lee Dorrian, Brian Dixon, Gaz Jennings and Scott Carlson took their final bows. Their legacy lives on.

Joey Jordison Slipknot Shock

In a rather bizarre turn of events, the 12th of December saw the shock announcement of Joey Jordison’s departure from his ‘main’ band of 18 years for ‘personal reasons’. The plot however thickens as it has been revealed in the last 24 hours that Jordison himself had no idea of his apparent departure. Will we ever know what’s going on? Will this cause a duel to the death between Corey Taylor and Joey Jordison before Mick Thompson steps in and holds them apart by the scruff of their necks whilst the rest of the band talks sense into them? Who knows?

Black Sabbath Top Charts

Yeah, if producing an album as impressive as 13 wasn’t enough, Black Sabbath also went and topped the UK Album Charts with it. Their first offering in 18 years managed the rare feat of placing top in the mainstream charts, and how often does a bunch of hairy, lairy old metalheads do something like that? Keep going, boys.

So that was 2013. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to in 2014, but my highlight will most certainly be Bloodstock 2014. I shall see you there! To all Valkyrian readers- I wish you a Happy New Year and have a good one!

Interview with Týr

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 23rd October 2013 by vmteam

Perhaps one of the greatest folkish/Nordic/younameit line-ups aside from the European spectacle of Heidenfest graced The Garage this past Saturday evening: behemoths Finntroll were joined by Metal Blade’s Týr, who are touring their latest album, and were supported by Iceland’s Skálmöld for an evening of sweltering debauchery and a raucous good time.

A long time fan of Týr himself, Jon caught up with Týr before the gig as the crowds started to swell up Holloway Road.

Absent for most of Týr’s interview was lyrical mastermind and mythology nerd Heri Joensen, who popped in his head for a few questions before ducking out, but Jon sat down with bassist (and comedian) Gunnar Thomsen, lead guitarist Terji Skibenaes, and new recruit drummer Amon Djurhuus.

Jon: Ok, introductory question: tell us something interesting about yourself!

Gunnar: I’m a plumber?

Jon: Everyone knows you’re a plumber!

Gunnar: And a diver!

Terji: Only perverted things come into my mind… I hate driving cars!

Amon: I can actually play the harmonica! 

Jon: Is the harmonica going to be on any Týr records then?

Amon: No way! Never ever! 

Jon: Gunnar, I saw you wearing a Trollfest t-shirt the other day; they’ve covered Toxic by Britney Spears. Aside from the new covers of Iron Maiden and Pantera on Valkyrja, out of any genre, what would you cover?

Gunnar: I would probably cover a Deep Purple song – I would never go so low as to do Britney Spears!

Terji: Pop song? I thought about it the other day! Chicago, It’s Hard to Say I’m Sorry – it will just be me in a one man show.

Jon: You went for a quite a power metal vibe in Valkyrja; Liv Kristine, singer from Leaves’ Eyes, joined you in ballad Lay of Our Love – have you thought about collaborating with any other musicians?

Terji: No, I don’t think we’re going to do that. 

Jon: I know you don’t align yourself with the folk metal scene, but a lot of bands use unconventional instruments- maybe not harmonicas, but accordions, violins…

Gunnar: Yeah, that’s never gonna happen – an orchestra, maybe… that could be something!

Terji: No violins though… 

Jon: I know Valkyrja has just been released, but have you started doing work on the new album?

Terji: Only demos so far.

Gunnar: They sound amazing, absolutely brilliant! 

Jon: Do you have a concept that it might focus on?

Terji: No, we don’t know yet…

Gunnar: We’ll do a cover track by The Bee Gees maybe… we’ll put a nail in our balls and- (quiet, high-pitched wails) 

Jon: That could be your stage performance next tour… Now – you cover modern issues; for example, your anti-racism song Shadow of the Swastika. Do you think any cultural values from Norse mythology are still relevant today?

Gunnar: That’s what Heri does with lyrics – he takes old situations and compares them to new situations because they’re quite similar. So it kinda draws a line between the two.

Jon: Do you like singing about modern issues or would you prefer to stick to singing only about mythology?

Gunnar: If it was up to me, we’d sing songs about cars and planes!

Terji: Sex, drugs and rock and roll! 

Jon: I think Shadow of the Swastika was a good response to the criticism you faced from people under the misconception you were a right-wing band.

Gunnar: Yeah, that whole thing came totally behind our backs. 

Jon: So from the new album, what’s your personal favourite – you know my favourite is Lady of the Slain, which I believe you wrote, Terji!

Terji: Yes I did! Mine is Another Fallen Brother.

Gunnar: It’s difficult to say, Valkyrja is my favourite- maybe because I wrote that! No, it’s difficult to say. I like the whole album.

Terji: Mare of My Night!

Gunnar: Mare of My Night is my favourite, yeah! 

Jon: That was so embarrassing to listen to… just listening to the lyrics…

Terji: Did you blush?

Jon: I did! Listening to it on my own I thought ‘you can’t say that, Heri!

Gunnar: Good! I think that’s where we should go! Getting brutally honest!

Amon: I think Mare of My Night is my favourite, too. I love playing it live- it’s a pretty cool live song. 

Jon: (Mathias from Finntroll is lounging on the sofa in the background behind Terji) What’s your favourite song, Mathias

Mathias: What favourite? No, I do know the songs! I listen to it every day! Uh, probably Mare of My Night, too.

Jon: Are there any songs you recorded but couldn’t use for Valkyrja?

Gunnar: This was what we had. We never actually record more songs than needed.

Jon: So Amon, have you ever been on tour before?

Amon: Yep, I’ve been on tour with Týr two times before – this is my third – and with Heljareyga (Heri Joensen’s side-project) also. It’s going good.

Gunnar: We bully him a bit – we’ve tried to break him in (whip crack sound)

Terji: Gunnar thinks we bully him, but we actually bully Gunnar!

Gunnar: I’m used to it!

Jon: I know a lot of fans were upset Kári (Streymoy, previous drummer) left, but the fans that have met you have said you’re cool, Amon – you’ve got our support! Can you teach us to say something in Faroese?

Terji: Spina. Spin-hora. Sperm whore. 

Jon: Would that help me to pick up a guy at a bar?

Gunnar: That would probably work on me!

Jon: Wow – next question! I’ve been listening to you since I was fifteen – so five years now. And I have to Admit that when I first started listening to you, I hated you!

Terji: Usually people do!

Jon: And now I run the UK fanpage on Facebook- funny how things change. When did you first realise you were getting noticed? I know Valkyrja is having great success in the charts and with critics alike.

Terji: Probably since after By the Light of the Northern Star was released. 

Jon: I know a lot of places in South America are crazy about anything Nordic-themed, do you find you have a good reception there as well?

Terji: Yeah, a lot! (Gunnar says ‘No’) Gunnar’s never on Facebook; he doesn’t know!

(Heri Joensen wanders over from the corner) 

Jon: Do you want to tell us about any lyrics you’re working on?

Heri: Uh, well Terji and I have talked about some stuff, and that’s all that’s happened so far. I don’t think we should mention it yet…

Terji: No, not yet.

Heri: Turn the microphone off!

Terji: Our manager will kill us…

Gunnar: No, it’s about big elephants in Africa, and the situation with the pelican that flies off and mates with the flamingos. It’s very disturbing.

Jon: I think you’re going to have to write that now! (Heri tries to run away; Jon pull him back) Stay here – there’s another one! I know a lot of my friends are starting to form bands and write lyrics about their English heritage. Do you encourage that, and how can people who are interested in that best go about interacting with, or writing about, something personal to them

Heri: I think that in the Faroes at least we have a very direct connection with our heritage, so when I started to write lyrics I didn’t have to dig very deep to find anything, and there was no artificial angle to it. I can imagine if you grew up in England that

Jon: It would be more about learning what you know from history lessons

Heri: Yeah exactly. You have to be into that sort of thing to know anything about it, but still I would encourage anyone to do it. I like it when music sounds like where it comes from and also has mythological subjects related to a band’s heritage, if you’re into that kind of thing. So when everything isn’t so internationalised.

Jon: I must say though I love the new African animal direction you’re taking, and Terji was also telling me about wanting to cover musical theatre…

Heri: I’m now officially out of the band!

Amon: Elephants in Chicago!

Terji: That’s the new album title!

Jon: Recently, fanclubs have grown amazingly for Týr. After your gig in York, I started the UK fanpage from a computer in my hostel. Now I’ve seen the Italian fanclub, the Polish fanclub, and of course the US fanclub getting lots of likes on their pages… What can fans do to help you guys?

Terji: I think talk to the local promoters… When they see more people asking for us, then it will most likely happen

Gunnar: And spread the word!

Terji: And hello to Týr Fans in the UK! Thank you for everything!

Gunnar: Rock on!

Amon: Thanks – come to our show!

Týr online:

http://www.tyr.fo
http://facebook.com/tyrband

 

Finntroll w/Support @ The Garage, London

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21st October 2013 by vmteam

Týr, Skálmöld and Finntroll
The Garage, London
6th October 2013

I first started listening to Finntroll when I was 15. My mum took me to a Heidenfest show for my 16th birthday, and I guess you can say that was my slow descent into the underworld of folk metal.

The line-up tonight is one I’ve been excited about for a long time, and one that personally I think fits very nicely together: Skálmöld from Iceland with their melodic, relentless chug you can bounce around to singing in ancient Icelandic poetic metre; Týr showcasing their new venture Valkyrja, an album-worth of fast, genre defying metal; and the legendary Finntroll, revered in folk metal circles from Mexico to Australia. Their new album Blodsvept was released in March this year, and it follows on from the dark-carnival Danny Elfman-cum-black metal Nifelvind. Blodsvept is no less eclectic: surprise kazoos and banjos mix in with brutal guitars and lead troll Vreth’s rich vocals. Always ready for a party when these guys are involved, I prepared myself for mayhem.

From seeing them again on this tour, Skálmöld, who open for us, receives a warm welcome from the audience. Despite only having 30 minutes, the band makes a distinct and explosive impression. Featuring mostly songs from their new album Börn Loka (Children of Loki), Skálmöld  open with the grinding and dark Fenrisúlfur, before keyboard anthem Gleipnir thunders out to a rapturous reception. The much more synthetically folky song, Kvaðning, and the only song from 2011 debut album “Baldur”, ends their stay on stage- and the crowd are left gasping and chanting for more. [4/5]

“Are you ready for Týr?” Skálmöld lead singer Björgvin screams. ‘Ready’ is a brilliant understatement; Týr is arguably my favourite band of the evening, and since seeing them in York, I’ve waited for them to tour again anxiously. The lights dim after a few moments, and their set begins slowly, the red haze overhead throbbing until the clash of the mighty crowd-pleaser Hold the Heathen Hammer High leads to the band striding on stage. The setlist has changed very little over the tour; however, Heathen Hammer and scream-along Valkyrja single Blood of Heroes have remained constant, one after the other whipping up the crowd. I may have nudged lead singer Heri Joensen into performing my favourite track off the new album live, and being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t disappoint- and even manages to make Lady of the Slain better than it is on the album, galloping along with neck-breaking speed, and providing my favourite track that evening- even with the prog-metal magic of Sinklars Vísa. An acquired taste for some, Týr have been consistently good every time I’ve seen them, and with this performance at The Garage they cement themselves as a must-see. [5/5]

After a half-hour wait at the bar, pressed arse-to-chest with strangers like sardines in a net, I break free and run to the front as the Blodsvept starts, the crowd surging forward as the all-too familiar forms of Finntroll– steampunk-clad and pointy-eared- take the stage and bear down over us in glee. After a punchy start, dressed to impress and lapping up the energy, they begin Nifelvind opener Solsagan, evil to the core. The combination of songs from all of Finntroll’s manifestations smash the misconception that Finntroll is just a ‘fun’ gimmick band. They switch alternatively between crunching black metal dug up from the darkest depths of the earth and jumpy dance favourites like En Mäktig Här, famous for steel-pan snyths, and the jig-inducing Under Bergets Rot. Finntroll leave no room to catch a break, and a few songs in the room is stifling, with smiles plastered on drenched faces. Catching sight of flashes of bare chest, Vreth refers to those in the middle fondly as ‘those naked guys’, before calling for an even bigger moshpit. At their last UK gig, Finntroll made sure some oldies were on the list- and they seemed surprised at how much their back catalogue was appreciated. Knowing that we like them, Svartberg makes a comeback with much arm waving and swaying, and Jaktens Tid itself with its added joking is forever a firm favourite, starting snakes of conga lines around the venue.

Lest I die an early death from heat exhaustion, I leave before what I’m sure is Trollhammaren evidently shutting the place down. I consider myself now a Finntroll veteran, but this is a gig I will fondly remember as being one of their best. The crowd was ecstatic for all bands, and funnily enough for an easily-annoyed bastard, the pit was a fun, sweaty, elating experience. [4/5]

If you’re looking for a good time when this assortment of mythological creatures and long-departed warriors trample through the UK, you’d better go and see them. And if you’re staunchly ‘too cool’ for dress-ups, heroics or swords and sorcery, you’re missing out on an awesome time.

Jon Geirson

Interview with Gunnar H Thomsen [Týr]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 22nd August 2013 by Nico Davidson

Týr hail from the ancient Faroe Islands, which are steeped in Viking mythology and history – The kind of stuff that makes up the lyrical basis for Týr‘s music. With the release of the band’s seventh studio album, Valkyrja just around the corner, Nico has a chat with Týr bassist Gunnar Thomsen.

Nico: Valkyrja is Týr‘s seventh studio album. How will it differ from previous releases?

Gunnar: It’s not that different from the others. Just much better, and more up beat tempo and dedicated to women.

Nico: The concept of Valkyrja is loosely based around an unnamed warrior attempting to impress a Valkyrie so he gain entry to either Folkvang (Freya‘s hall) or Valhalla (Odin‘s hall). What inspired you to write the story around this?

Gunnar: Usually whatever is on Heri‘s mind at the time, so in this case, life and women. He has had this concept for sometime now.

Nico: Obviously the Valkyries will be playing a role in the story concept that will be running through Valkyrja, will any other figures from Norse mythology be making an appearance in the lyrics/story line?

GunnarHeri always likes to put the Norse mythology into the lyrics, so there is other figures to in the story line. He also likes to use mythology with current themes today, as in the case of the previous album, The Lay of Thrym. This time it is about woman.

Nico: Aside from the aforementioned story concept, are there any other lyrical themes that will be appearing throughout the new album?

Gunnar: No themes as such but every song on the album has its own tale to present.

Nico: You collaborated with Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine on the track The Lay Of Our Love. How did this collaboration come about and do you feel it will open up Týr‘s music to fans of Leaves’ Eyes who may have not listened to Týr yet?

GunnarHeri suggested the idea to present her on one of the songs, course she has a wonderful voice and originally we intended to have more guest appearance on the album, but we decided that one was enough. Of course we hope to get more listeners, for Týr, but this is not why we asked Liv Kristine. Mainly just admiration for music.

Nico: Describe the new album in five words or less.

Gunnar: Fucking awesome!

Nico: Kári left Týr before the recording process for Valkyrja began. How has this affected Týr‘s overall sound and the sound of the new album?

Gunnar: Of course this affected the drum sound a lot but it also created a new and interesting atmosphere in the music. We will always miss Kári, and best wishes for his health.

Nico: Speaking of the recording process for Valkyrja, you enlisted George Kollias as drummer for the recording process. What was it like to work with one of metal’s most accomplished drummers?

Gunnar: He was absolutely astonishing to work with and he has a exceptional ear for music, and a lot of great ideas for how to put it together. He has a great personality.

Nico: Týr are set to return to the UK in October as support to Finntroll. Will this run of UK dates be in support of the new album or will you be returning to the UK later to support the new album?

Gunnar: This will be to support the new album but we hope to get more tours in England and plans are already being discussed for 2014.

Nico: While we’re on the topic of touring, following Týr‘s sold-out headline show in York last year at the Jorvik Viking Festival, are looking forward to playing the UK again?

Gunnar: YES! We are always looking forward to play in UK. We don’t do it as often as we would like and we love you Brits.

Nico: If could you meet any figure from the Viking Age, who would it be and why?

Gunnar: Of course Týr, the god of war. “Who else”?

Nico: If you were trapped on an island and could only listen to only one album until you were rescued, which one would it be and why?

GunnarPeace of Mind by Iron Maiden. And why? its the best album in this world.

Nico: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Gunnar: Looking forward to see you all on the UK dates. We are looking forward to present the new album. Thank you for your support. we hail you Brits. Hail to the hammer!

Týr online:

http://facebook.com/tyrband

Týr announce European tour with Skalmold and Finntroll

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Viking metallers Týr have announced a European tour with Skáldmöld and Finntroll. The announcement was made on the band’s official Facebook page.

Tour dates are as follow:

06.09.13 Fri NO Haugesund Byscenen
07.09.13 Sat tba
08.09.13 Sun DK Aarhus Voxhall
09.09.13 Mon D Hamburg Markthalle
10.09.13 Tue D Nürnberg Hirsch
11.09.13 Wed PL Wroclaw Alibi
12.09.13 Thu PL Krakow Kwadrat
13.09.13 Fri HU Budapest Club 202
14.09.13 Sat RO Brasov Rockstadt
15.09.13 Sun RO Bukarest Silver Church
16.09.13 Mon travel
17.09.13 Tue HRV Zagreb Mochvara
18.09.13 Wed AT Wien Szene
19.09.13 Thu CZ Prag Nova Chmelnice
20.09.13 Fri tba
21.09.13 Sat D Bochum Matrix
22.09.13 Sun D Augsburg Kantine
23.09.13 Mon AT Wörgl Komma
24.09.13 Tue IT Milano R´n´R Arena
25.09.13 Wed CH Pratteln Z7
26.09.13 Thu D Aschaffenburg Colos-Saal
27.09.13 Fri D Speyer Halle 101
28.09.13 Sat D Jena F-Haus
29.09.13 Sun BE Brugge Factor
30.09.13 Mon UK Norwich Waterfront
01.10.13 Tue UK Glasgow Classic Grand
02.10.13 Wed UK Manchester NQ Live
03.10.13 Thu IE Dublin The Pint
04.10.13 Fri UK Bilston Robin 2
05.10.13 Sat UK London The Garage
06.10.13 Sun FR Lille Le Splendid
07.10.13 Mon tba
08.10.13 Tue FR Strasbourg La Laiterie
09.10.13 Wed FR Lyon La Salle Du Kao
10.10.13 Thu CH Geneve L´Usine
11.10.13 Fri FR Istres L´Usine
12.10.13 Sat NO Skien 1001 Watt Festival (Headlining)*
13.10.13 Sun ES Madrid Rockkitchen/Caracol
14.10.13 Mon FR Toulouse Le Bikini

*Finntroll and Skalmold will not be playing.

Týr are also working on their next album, which is currently untitled. The album will feature Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine on the track; The Lay of our Love. The album’s release date is yet to be announced but will be released via Metal Blade Records. The album will also feature legendary metal drummer George Kollibus on drums following the departure of Kari from Týr.

Tyr online:

http://www.tyr.fo/
https://www.facebook.com/tyrband
http://twitter.com/tyrband

 

Keep Of Kalessin confirmed to tour Europe with Finntroll

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 16th April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Keep Of Kalessin are confirmed to head out on tour around Europe in May with Finntroll! Tour dates are as follows:

08.05.2013 DE – Berlin @ K17
09.05.2013 BE – Vosselaar @ Biebob
10.05.2013 NL – Dordrecht @ Bibelot
11.05.2013 DE – Cologne @ Live Music Hall
12.05.2013 FR – Paris @ La Machine Du Moulin Rouge
13.05.2013 UK – London @ Undeworld

Keep Of Kalessin released the new video Introspection at the Indie Recordings Label Night at the Inferno Festival this Easter, where Obsidian C announced that he will take over as vocalist.

Introspection shows the band from a more serious and mature side than before. The band also brings more of their 80’s inspiration into this track with Obsidian C. showing a lot more of his impressive solo skills.

 

Odraedir – Troll’s Cave EP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 5th February 2013 by izaforestspirit

Odraedir
Troll’s Cave EP
Released: March 2013
Pagan /Folk Metal
Self-Released

Troll’s Cave‘ is the new EP from the Czech folk metal band Odraedir. It is the follow up to their first demo ‘Pagan Forest’ which was released in 2011.

First up is the title track with what resembles a homage to Finntroll. The vocal style, guitar melodies and song structure are very similar. Just add a touch of flute and jaw harp to the guitars and keyboards and you’re in for a very catchy folk metal treat of a song! The Rise of Cernunnos has the same uplifting feel to it and it’s hard to listen to it without being tempted to dance, air-guitar, head-bang or at least sway along. Unlike the previous song however, this one features a short, melodic instrumental part half way through the track which acts as a break in the party as if to catch your breath or grab the nearest refreshment.

Last up is Campfire, a catchy instrumental featuring what appears to be a homage to Ensiferum’s ‘Lai Lai Hei’. If you’re not already dancing around in the mosh-pit, I suggest you get there soon! Then the song lives up to its namesake with the sounds of a burning fire marking the end to this delightful EP.

4/5 – a highly enjoyable EP. Thanks for cheering me up!

Iza Raittila

Interview: Jenny Green [Cryptic Age]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 5th June 2012 by markssonofjorvik

For York based Folk Metal band CRYPTIC AGE 2012 is going to be one hell of a year and a year that should see them truly emerge and blossom on to the scene. This is the year that Cryptic Age release their debut album entitled ‘Sounds Of Infinity’ and for a teaser if you visit their website you can stream the excellent new track from the album, ‘Eternity Beckons’.

If you think that is all the band have on though you’d better guess again. This year will see Cryptic Age grace the stage at both the Metalcamp Festival in Slovenia as well as the Warhorns Festival right here in York with the mighty Skyforger.

So with all that in mind, here is what keyboard player and vocalist Jenny Green had to say on all things Cryptic Age, from the new album to metalcamp with a stop off on the Isle Of Man for good measure.

With this being your debut album, were there any nerves or worries regarding the writing process?

I wouldn’t say nerves, but I think we took a step up from our EP on the quality of the songs. Sometimes we made up a really good riff really fast, but other times we changed things a lot until we thought they sounded good enough.

How do you feel the overall finished article has come out?

We are personally very happy with it. We’ve managed to accumulate a style we were still trying to find with our EP, the overall sound quality is far better than before and the songs flow together very well. And also the artwork is amazing!

Who was responsible for the artwork?

The artwork was done by two guys who make up a small company called Kogain Art. The album art was up for sale, but it was archived on the website so it was pure chance that we managed to find it.

What was the bands inspiration lyrically and musically for Sounds Of Infinity?

Well our inspiration on both musical and lyrical terms for the album came from countless places. We did stick to a few rules though, in that we wanted the album to maintain its overall folky sound which is the bread and butter, while the more symphonic, black, thrash and progressive elements are extra factors of our music that we think give us a unique style.

With the lyrics, we also had a few rules. We wanted to put more Manx Gaelic on there because of popular demand and of course we wanted them to be memorable and visual. The only difference is the sixth track Sea Invocation, which is an arrangement of a Manx traditional song.

So where does your love of folkish/gaelic styles come from?

For me it comes from my upbringing on the Isle of Man. Manx folk music I suppose sounds very similar to Irish music but still has its unique aspects. So we like to maintain a real sense of folk metal which stems from Manx folk music, which gives our sound subtle differences to possibly the more generic folk sound other bands may use. And of course I love folk metal ever since I got into Finntroll and Eluveitie. In fact it’s probably my favourite metal genre.

So part of the new album is a four parter by the same name as the album, whats it about?

Well it’s based off a Manx legend where if you put your head to the ground on top of Dalby mountain, you can hear the sounds of spirits, known as Sheean ny Feaynid. This loosely translates as ‘Sounds of Infinity’ although it also means ‘Sounds from Space’ so I personally wanted to re-capture this theme in the concept of revelation that there is so much more out there than one may first think. The story itself is something we wrote: I play a Manx woman whose husband is out at sea during a terrible storm. Unfortunately he doesn’t make it back alive and I becoming mad with grief. I then remember the legend of Sheean ny Feaynid and set out to Dalby mountain to find them. I finally reach them and then supposedly they take me up so I can be united with my husband once again. However we left the ending very ambiguous. For all we know she could have committed suicide from madness and these spirits never existed, or it could have actually happened. It’s left to the imagination of the listener.

 

Now the new album isn’t the only exciting thing going on with Cryptic Age right now, how did the Metalcamp Festival slot come about?

Well we were very surprised at this – all we did was register our band on the metalcamp website. Then there was some kind of poll as to which unsigned bands should play and we were on there. We thought nothing of it and there was no word on it for months. But then suddenly Hallam got an email from them and there we have it.

Thats amazing, so which bands on the bill are you looking forward to sharing the stage with?

Well the rest of the bands on the second stage are none we have heard of since most come from Slovakia or Croatia, however I’m looking forward to seeing the Furious Horde since they’re symphonic black metal, which I love, and of course they are a band reigning from familiar territory. We also got a message from Avven who said they were looking forward to seeing us. On the first stage there are so many bands I can’t wait to see: Epica, Finntroll, Eluveitie and Scepticflesh to name a few.

That’s going to be an excellent experience, and then you’ve also got a spot at the Warhorns Festival supporting amongst others Skyforger, so would you say 2012 is really going to be the year that boosts your musical career?

Well I never like to predict the future too much, but I can certainly say that we’ve made great progress this year and hopefully next year will be the same!

The new album from CRYPTIC AGE is out right now and you can buy it HERE!

Winterhymn – Songs For The Slain

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 2nd June 2012 by izaforestspirit

Winterhymn
Songs For The Slain
Released: October 2011
Folk Metal
Self-Released

‘Songs For The Slain’ is the debut album from the American folk metal band Winterhymn.

The violin in the opening track ‘In the Troll Forest’ adds an interesting touch to what so far sounds and (judging from the band photos) looks like America’s answer to Ensiferum. The catchy, violin-infused folk metal continues with tracks like ‘Castle Kelly’ and the somewhat Irish/Waylander-esque sounding ‘Stand Your Ground’.

Then there’s the more sombre-sounding tracks like ‘Up From The Roots’ and ‘Witch’ in which the violin has a slightly melancholic feel to it. ‘Under the Hunter’s Moon’ reverts the emphasis back to the guitars making it more metal-sounding though, as always the violins and overall catchy melody ensure that the folk elements are never too far behind. The aptly named ‘Alesong’ features what sounds like a bunch of rowdy guys drinking at a canteen complete with the catchy accordion and violin combo making this akin to a bastard child of Eluveitie and Finntroll. Yes, this is definitely a drinking song or if you’ve had too much already you’re probably stomping along to the tune!

Other highlights include ‘Blood Eagle’ which combines the sombre violins with Amon Amarth -style guitars and vocals, and ‘The Berserker’s Curse’ which features a power metal-esque guitar solo towards the end.

4/5- Winterhymn, thanks for cheering me up on a rainy day!

Iza Raittila

Barren Earth: “THE DEVIL’S RESOLVE” set to be unleashed!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 30th January 2012 by Nico Davidson

The Devil’s Resolve is the studio album from the fast-rising Finnish maestros of progressive death and doom metal, Barren Earth.

The sophomore album from the Finnish metal titans is set from release March 12th via Peaceville Records. The new album comes two years after the release of their debut The Curse of the Red River, which made a massive impact upon its release with fans and critics alike. The Devil’s Resolve is said to take the listener across musical landscapes utilising the trademark sounds of Barren Earth including brutal riffs, gloomy growls, with some extra pieces such as… No, not that… Bagpipes (Courtesy of Jaakko Lemmetty from Korpiklaani)! And if that’s not good enough for you… There will also be an appearance of Mathias Lillmåns from Finntroll who shall be providing guest vocals.

Artwork comes courtesy of renowned artist Paul Romano (Mastodon).

Tracklist

Passing of the Crimson Shadows
The Rains Begin
Vintage Warlords
As It Is Written
The Dead Exiles
Oriental Pyre
White Fields
Where All Stories End
Martyrs of Devotion (Special Edition only)
World in Haze (Special Edition only)

To pre-order the new album:

CD-http://www.burningshed.com/store/peaceville/product/261/3518/
Vinyl-http://www.burningshed.com/store/peaceville/product/261/3517/

Soulgrind – The Tuoni Pathway [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 13th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Soulgrind
Album: The Tuoni Pathway
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal/Pagan Metal

soulgrind_enter

Soulgrind are one of many bands on the Finnish metal scene, though their members have each played with other well known bands such as Nightwish and Finntroll. Soulgrind’s most recent album “The Tuoni Pathway” was released via Femme Metal Records.

“The Call of the Dancing Waters” begins the album with an atmospheric piano medley though the overdriven guitar that plays along side it ruins it slightly. The track takes a heavy turn soon after, improving upon the overdriven guitar fortunately. The vocals sound weak compared to the music, almost as if they’re not suited for the genre. The piano medleys are the one thing that stick out the most about this song.

”Rain Before The Dawn” follows after. The introduction is quite interesting, being composed of various sounds on a synth, which blend in well with the guitar riffs. The vocals are still lacking in strength which is unfortunate. The use of aggressive vocals doesn’t quite work with the music on this track in certain sections which is disappointing since they’re impressive. Musically, this song is good as the riffs are well composed. “March Butterfly” starts with a wondrous blend of piano, guitars and drums which fades into just drums and synths when the vocals first make themselves heard, dampening the energy of the song. The growls make an appearance again, fortunately, helping add a bit of energy back into the song. The female vocals sound slightly stronger as well.

The heavier styling of “Song Of Tomorrow” comes next, bringing a semi-black metal sound with it. The semi-growls are the first form of vocals to be heard, adding a touch of aggression to the song whilst the mediocre sound of the female vocals adds a subtle calmness to the song. The guitars feel like they want to be heavier and the drums seem quite soft. The piano sections are the only sections of the song that there’s no flaw with. “My Sweet Thought Of Death” gradually fades with a sound that isn’t as dark as what would be expected, considering the title of the track. The female vocals sound similar to those of Sarah Jezebel Deva’s, though not as strong. The guitar work is lacking in any form of energy, passion or technical composition, with the keyboard sections being heard more than the rest of the instrumentation.

“Tulikannel” has a raw, angsty guitar introduction, combined with harsh, violent growls. The cleaner vocals are pretty weak, for the most part and opposing the heavy instrumentation. There also seems to be a massive overuse of the double bass pedals throughout the vast majority of the track. “Among The Graves” has a symphonic heavy intro that is soon accompanied by the heavier work of the guitars and drums. The aggressive growls are powerful and rage-fuelled, while the cleaner vocals struggle to match the power of the growls. The drums are well played, very precise. The guitars certainly play some interesting parts as well.

Towards the end of the album comes “Farewell To Misery”, a bland track to begin with as the piano and symphonic sections don’t offer much excitement in their playing. The clean vocals are partially out of key, not match the music at all. The track seems very symphonic orientated with little emphasis on the guitars. The more aggressive death metal styled vocals are the only part of this song that are really worth mentioning.

The album finishes off “Vuoret La Metsanmaa”, which starts with an okay guitar section topped with the sound of thunder. The clean vocals sound very Russian in their accent, which is interesting to say the band are Finnish. The guitar section stays the same throughout the vast majority of the song, barely changing at all, leaving the listener tempted to press the stop button and on the few parts when the guitar riffs change, the track doesn’t seem to become anything special . There are some symphonic elements though these don’t improve the track that much.

To say that Soulgrind is composed of ex-members of bands such as Finntroll and Nightwish, “The Tuoni” Pathway” is a weak album with only a few highlights. Perhaps it’s the varying styles of the musicians that has made the album weak, if so, then they’ll have to seriously put their heads together and work on a way for their styles to gel together as opposed to clashing like dogs fighting over a bone.

2/5

Nico Davidson

Bloodstock Open Air 2011 [Live Review] Part Two

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 26th August 2011 by Hannah

Bands: WASP, Finntroll, Kreator and more
Location: Catton Hall, Walton-Upon-Trent
Date: 12-14th August, 2011

Onto the Ronnie James Dio Stage, then, and the line up for Friday. The first band I saw was Wolf, and just as they were the first time I saw them, they were awesome. They delivered their specific brand of classic, thrash-tinged heavy metal to the assembled crowds with gusto. A special mention must go out to their roadie, who- having hit his head during set up- was the recipient of a special dedication during the track Skull Crushed. They filled their set with both old favourites and new tidbits, hearing Full Moon Possession from their new album Legion of Bastards, as well as premiering a live version of their new track, K141 Cursed. Coroner were as expected; brutal and loud death-tinged thrash metal. I must admit, I am not such a fan of their music, and it seemed a little bland and generic to me. But they put on a good live show, showed a good level of energy, and were excellent for fans of thrash metal. Speaking of thrash, German thrash legends Kreator did not disappoint. They were definitely on form, and gave the Bay Area elite a run for their money. The German giants had the crowds eating out of their hands and absolutely baying for more, and managed to generate the biggest pit of the day so far. Playing a huge range of tunes, Kreator showed that sometimes, the oldest bands know best. What can I say about The Devin Townsend Project, plus a special appearance from Ziltoid the Omniscient? Devin was as bonkers as ever, and shared words of wisdom such as ‘if you aren’t into MMA and you say you are, then my friend, you’re just a poser’ with the enthralled crowd. A trippy guru of progressive craziness, Devin is a proper entertainer who impressed with his cosmic wall of cinematic sound. The man could easily go into business as a stand-up comedian if he ever decides to give up music. He also helped many members of the audience to discover a hidden desire to be a fire engine! Who knew? Friday headliners W.A.S.P. proved they still have it with a set that spanned decades, and provided fuel for every fan of classic metal in the arena. Young and old, male and female; I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t enjoy their set. So what if Blackie Lawless is looking a little bit fatter round the gills these days- his voice and stage presence still exudes that dangerous sex appeal that had parents quaking in their boots in the 80’s. Playing crowd pleasers like Wild Child, and even pulling up an incredibly excited fan to join them in a chorus of I Wanna Be Somebody, W.A.S.P. were the perfect way to round of the first day of the weekend.

Onto Saturday, and Gravedigger were the first band I saw that day. They were awesome, and for such a short set, they played an absolutely packed set list. They really got the crowd going, which is not easy to do at that time of the day, and whilst nursing hangovers to boot. Tarot were excellent. Nightwish veteran and frontman Marco Hietala had the attention of absolutely everyone in the arena, and it wasn’t just because of their music. Keeping the crowd utterly bewildered with comments about BBQs and tractors, as well as encouraging a chant of ‘More Cock’ in honour of sci fi writer Michael Moorcock, Tarot impressed with their particular brand of power metal. Next up was the band that I was personally most excited about of the whole line up. Finntroll were, in a word, incredible. They played a whole range of songs from their entire back catalogue, including from the days without current frontman Vreth, and absolutely treated the crowd with renditions of favourites such as Trollhammaren and Nedgang. The crowd was chanting their name before, during, and after their set, and could not stop screaming for more when their 45 minutes were up. Even though their appearance was fairly toned down, only daubing the snaking, branch-like body paint on themselves, Finntroll were all I had expected and hoped them to be. Plus, Vreth is a very attractive young Scandinavian, and his appearance is only improved by a beard. Enough about that!

Finally, we come to Sunday, and Celtic metallers Primordial delivered a set that pleased the crowd from start to finish. Playing that special brand of Celtic inspired folk metal, Primordial delivered a fantastically put together set that was altogether too short. A shame, as they were definitely on form. Hammerfall delighted the crowd with their ever-so-slightly-cheesy power metal- but to be honest, that’s all part of their charm. Frontman Joachim’s voice filled the arena with it’s powerful tones, and charmed the crowd through a selection from their entire history. From early track Hammerfall, to recent hits such as Blood Bound and Hearts on Fire, they did not disappoint, and managed to get almost everyone singing or dancing along to their fist-pumping metal. Legends of death metal Morbid Angel, surely amongst the names that drew the record number of people to Catton Hall, delivered a rattlingly brutal set of ‘extreme music for extreme people’, generating wave after wave of crazed crowd surfers, and sparking mosh pits that were actually quite shocking in their brutality, rivalling the record set by Kreator on Friday. The crowd that filled the arena was buzzing and feeding off the energy that the veterans gave out, and they definitely satiated the appetites of all those who had come seeking their brand of spine-shattering music. Sunday headliners, festival closers, and living legends, the behemoths of rock and roll that are Motorhead, were the perfect way to end the weekend. Lemmy, nearly unintelligable in his slurring Stoke drawl, delivered classic songs from all over his career in his trademark gravelly snarl, planting himself in front of his microphone with his bass guitar in hand and his cowboy hat firmly jammed onto his head. Fans from seven years old to seventy rocked out to timeless classics, including the obvious Killed By Death and Ace of Spades, and there wasn’t a head that hadn’t banged, or horns that hadn’t been raised, throughout the entire crowd. Pure adrenaline fuelling hard rock and roll, that only Motorhead can deliver. Raise your bottles of Jack and salute the Sex Legend himself, Lemmy Kilmister.

Bloodstock 2011. Three days. Four stages. Over 10,900 metal fans. An incredible weekend full of incredible performances. Same time next year?

Hannah ‘Hammi’ O’Flanagan