Archive for Folk Metal

Forn Kadr – Mystic Arcane Lands

Posted in Review with tags , , on 21st October 2020 by izaforestspirit

Forn Kadr
Mystic Arcane Lands
Released 9th June 2020
Atmospheric Folk Metal/ Atmospheric Black Metal
Self-Released

‘Mystic Arcane Lands’ is the new EP from British atmospheric black metal duo Forn Kaldr. The band was formed in 2017 by guitarist/drummer Kaldr and bassist Robin Green. Their music is instrumental and it is influenced by nature, mythologies and bands such as Amon Amarth and Caladan Brood. All their releases are available from their Bandcamp page.

Atmospheric and melodic are the key words that come to mind when listening to this album. I actually had some trouble telling the first two songs apart. They sound so alike that had it not been for me checking the Bandcamp page, I would have assumed that this was one very long song. The title track stands out due to the ambient-style keyboard intro. The intro and some of the guitar patterns reminded me of the Australian post-black metal artist Calea Dreaming, whose work I reviewed last year. The song is well structured offering a varied pace with each instrument contributing to the atmosphere, especially the guitars. If there was a soundtrack for a walk in the woods on a cold autumn night, this would be it. The keyboard mimics the sound of raindrops falling, a calm moment before stormy weather resumes. Then the seasons change in the aptly named The Last Breath of Winter. No keyboards, the drums remain in the background and all the focus is on the atmospheric guitar passages.

In all honesty, there is not much in the vein of black metal on here. Only the final, bonus track A Forgotten Age has a black metal tinge to it due to the raw guitar riffs. It has the right kind of eerie atmosphere to it as well.

Overall, ‘Mystic Arcane Lands’ is for some those who enjoy atmospheric metal. If you are fan of black metal instrumentals, then there is a chance that you might like it too. I found it relaxing and suitable on an autumn evening at home but not particularly memorable or stimulating.

7/10
Iza Raittila

Interview with Sami Hinkka [Ensiferum]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 20th July 2020 by Nico Davidson

Ensiferum, are perhaps one Finland’s greatest musicial exports, with an ever evolving sound. With the new album out, Nico sat down and had an email-based chat with the band’s bassist, Sami.

Nico: Thalassic is an interesting name for the new album. Given the definition of the word, and based on the track listing, it’s obvious that there is a sea or oceanic theme in the album.  How did it come about to have this theme as opposed to other themes?

Sami: Hi! I’m actually very happy with the album title because as a word it sounds like it’s matching well with the bands name and it sums up the theme of the album. Sea or water felt like a good and “wide” enough because every culture have mythologies and legends that are linked to sea so I knew that there would be more than enough good stories to draw inspiration from.

N: How does the new album differ from previous releases?

S: The composing process went as it usually goes with this band: slowly. Of course the new member Pekka Montin gave a totally new ”tool” for us with his incredible voice and naturally we arranged songs that we made the most of it. Obviously the lyrical theme makes this different kind of album compared to old albums.

For the production team we had one new and one old member: we had the honor to get Janne Joutsenniemi to produce and record and Jens Bogren to mix the album and we are very happy with the result.

N: What was the writing process for the new album like? Did you have an idea of what you wanted to the new album to sound like before writing it?

S: Usually we have raw idea how a new album should sound like but it always depends how the songs are progressing because we always have lots of songs under work and naturally we can’t finish them all so once we have enough songs to record an album, then it’s time to book a studio. This is very cool way because then we always have raw material to work with.

N: Some fans have commented that the singles you’ve released from the album so far, especially Rum, Women, Victory, have a pirate metal sound to them. Would you describe the new album as such?

S: Heh, to be honest I never thought that someone would think this song as a pirate song! It tells about the brave men of Royal Navy and the daily rum dose they used to get. I have no idea what ”a pirate metal” -sound is, I guess Alestorm’ish? And I find our sound to be completely different but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

N: In your own opinion, which song would you say defines Ensiferum?

S: We have such a wide musical horizon so this is really hard. Maybe “Victory Song” has many Ensiferum’s main elements so if I would need to represent the band with one song, I might choose that one.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film, which one would it be and why?

S: Hmmm, I’m sorry I can’t come up with any movie that has such a terrible soundtrack that it would need to be changed.

N: Thalassic is obviously out now. Have you made a start on new music or are you taking a break from writing before you start thinking about the next album?

S: Because of COVID-19 chaos there are no tours coming up in a long time so we will start working with some new material soon.

N: Do you think you’ll follow any other themes in the future with upcoming albums?

S: We haven’t talked about this yet so it’s too early to say. I like working this way with my power metal band Metal De Facto, our every album has a different theme. I don’t know will we continue doing this with Ensiferum but at least we did it once.

Ensiferum’s new album, Thallasic is out now!

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/

New Ensiferum album coming this summer

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report, Uncategorized with tags , , on 29th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been three years after their last studio effort ‘Two Paths’. Now the Finnish folk metallers are back with a new album called ‘Thalassic’. Here is an official statement from the band regarding the lyrical themes:

“The idea of it started to brew in my mind when I was doing interviews for ‘Two Paths‘ and many journalists asked if it was a theme album, and I noticed that I was answering all the time that because of the way we compose it’s almost impossible to make a theme album. This really started to piss me off and the decision was made: the next album would have a theme. At that time, we already had a few songs almost ready for the next album, and I started to listen to the demos much more from the feeling aspect instead of analyzing them musically. For some reason, all of them took me to a seashore, and the theme was found: something related to sea or water. So I started to read about history, myths and legend around the world that had something to do with the theme, but even though all of the lyrics are obviously inspired by this, I tried my best to keep Ensiferum‘s heroic mentality in them. In the end, there were too many ideas for lyrics, because I didn’t set myself any boundaries – like all stories would have to be Nordic, etc, and one of my favourite songs on the album tells about Andromeda from Greek mythology. I can’t promise that this way of lyric-writing will be the future of Ensiferum, but at least we did this once.”

You see the cover art and track-listing below:

1. Seafarer’s Dream
2. Rum, Women, Victory
3. Andromeda
4. The Defence of the Sampo
5. Run from the Crushing Tide
6. For Sirens
7. One with the Sea
8. Midsummer Magic
9. Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III)
10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track)
11. I’ll Stay by Your Side (Bonus Track)

‘Thalassic’ will hit the shops in both physical and digital formats on 10th July 2020 via Metal Blade Records.

In the meantime you can check out their new lyric video for ‘Rum, Women, Victory’

For further information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum

https://ensiferum.com/

Metsatöll Live Stream Concert this weekend

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 20th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

The music and entertainment industry has been hit hard in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. With thousands of people stuck at home and all events being cancelled or rescheduled, musicians are trying to find other means to reach their audience. In the absence of concerts many have switched to live streaming shows online.

Estonian folk metallers Metsatöll have recently announced one such event. They have teamed up with  RGB Baltics to host live stream show “Party Time During The Plague” today (20.03.2020) and tomorrow (21.03.2020) via their official media channels.

You can tune in to the stream on the following the times:

Image may contain: 3 people, possible text that says 'Tallinn 1:00 AM SAT London 11:00 PM FRI Moscow 2:00 AM SAT Berlin 12:00 AM SAT Budapest 12:00 SAT Paris 12:00 AM SAT Rome 12:00 AM SAT Toronto 7:00 PM FRI New York 7:00PM FRI Dallas 6:00 PM FRI San Francisco FRI Seattle 4:00 PM FRI Vancouver 4:00 FRI Tokyo 8:00 AM SAT Melbourne 10:00 AM SAT Sao Paulo 8:00 PM FRI Santiago 8:00 PM FRI This Friday / Saturday Free Live Stream Concert "Party Time During The Plague"'

The stream is free to watch but if you wish to make a donation to support the band and their crew you can send it via PayPal to pood@metsatoll.ee

You can catch the live stream at:

https://www.facebook.com/Metsatoll/
https://www.facebook.com/events/656446718515539/?active_tab=about

https://www.youtube.com/user/MetsatollOfficial

Marko Hietala – Pyre of the Black Heart

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 19th January 2020 by Mickelrath

Marko Hietala

Pyre of the Black Heart

Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock

Released: 24th January 2020

via Nuclear Blast Records

I have never claimed to be the biggest fan of Nightwish. However, I have always appreciated the vocal talents of Marko Hietala. He’s a spectacular singer and musician. So, imagine my surprise to find out that he’s releasing his debut solo album this year. Pyre of the Black Heart is a pretty mixed bag of material. I guess he wanted to throw a bunch of different styles at the wall to see what stuck. The album is a mix of prog-rock, heavy metal and some clear folk inspiration here and there. It feels quite personal and hits pretty hard.

Right from the opening track “Stones” Marko shows everything that he’s trying to do on the album. You can really feel that forceful presence that has made him such a fantastic performer over the years. The tone of his vocals is damn-near perfect and really hit you in the gut. Songs like “The Voice of My Father” and “I Dream” grab your attention and the emotion just took hold of me when I was listening. The production is simply outstanding with every part of the arrangement shining. The bombastic bass and drums, with the heavy electric guitar, is really gut-busting and coupled with Marko’s pure intense vocal performance really made this a larger than life album. Even the quieter, acoustic sections hit hard due to the purity and richness of the production.

His use of poetic license suits this music well. The weary and emotional language used kept me engaged throughout. It’s almost like dark-twisted lullabies in the quieter sections. The heavier moments it feels like dark prog-rock epics of the past. The passion and conviction that this album presents certainly delivers, with Marko giving his all with his commanding and forceful voice. It gives the words a great sense of urgency and left me speechless at times.

I think if you like rock or metal music of any sort you’ll like something here. It’s progressive rock without the fluff, folk-rock without going overboard, heavy metal with more complexity and almost has a stoner rock vibe to the riff. I think the only thing that most people wouldn’t like about the album is that it moves a little slow. There aren’t many songs with a lot of vibrant energy, the one exception being “Runner of the Railways” which definitely rocks. It’s definitely an album that takes some time to digest. I mean, it’s not a power metal or thrash metal record. So, if you’re looking for something with a lot of fast-paced, in your face metal, then this isn’t for you. However, I think there’s enough energy and heaviness that most rock and metal fans will be impressed.

Overall, a solid album from a man that has earned his place in the annals of heavy metal history. If you’re in the mood for something powerful and captivating, then this might be right up your ally.

8/10

Mick Birchall

Iza’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again. Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. 2019 was a eventful year for alternative music. There was a lot of new material that caught my attention which made selecting a top 10 much more difficult than last year. After much deliberation I have narrowed it down to the following albums:

1. Eluveitie – Antegnatos
Genre: Folk Metal
Eluveitie - Ategnatos
2. Children of Bodom – Hexed
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/ Power Metal
Children of Bodom - Hexed

3. The 69 Eyes – West End
Genre: Goth n’Roll/ Gothic Rock
The 69 Eyes - West End

4. Mgła – Age of Excuse
Genre: Black Metal
Mgła - Age of Excuse
5. Combichrist – One Fire
Genre: Industrial Metal/Electro-Industrial
Combichrist - One Fire - CD

6. Hocico – Artificial Extiction
Genre: Electro- Industrial/ Aggrotech
Hocico - Artificial Extinction - CD

7. Blutengel – Un:Gott
Genre: Synth-pop/Darkwave

8. Darkthrone – Old Star
Genre: Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Darkthrone - Old Star

9. Sabaton – The Great War
Genre: Power Metal
Sabaton - The Great War
10. Ad Inferna – Des Diables et Des Dieux
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Honorable mentions:
Aurelio Voltaire – She’s Glowing
Taken from the album What Are The Oddz?

God Module – Cross My Heart
Taken from the album The Unsound

Scandroid – The Writing’s On The Wall
Taken from the album The Light

The long-awaited new Rammstein album also came out this year. Sadly, despite a having handful of great songs including ‘Deutschland’, it was a little disappointing. I expected more from them after a decade of waiting.

Best live show of 2019
Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Runners up, honorable mentions go to: Behemoth live in Tampere and Blutengel live at Hellsinki Industrial.

New discoveries for 2019
Raven Said, Priest and Cygnosic

Most anticipated releases for 2020
a new albums from Helloween and Vader
Mono Inc- The Book of Fire
Celldweller – Satellites

That’s all from me. Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 15th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Infected Rain, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
14th December 2019

My last gig of 2019! Mid December; still over a week until the holidays start. This is the time of the year when most people are getting ready for the festive season. It is rare to find any decent gigs on at this point in the year. Sometimes you might get lucky though…As soon as I found out that Eluveitie were in town I decided to go. I’ve seen Eluveitie once before, oddly enough at the same venue four years ago. They have had some line-up changes since then and they released one of the best albums I have heard this year.

The show was sold out and the venue was so packed that they had opened up the next door venue, Klubi to create extra space.

First up was a Moldavian metalcore band called Infected Rain. I’m not the biggest fan of metalcore, but I have to admit that vocalist Elena Kataraga aka Lena Scissorhands did a good job of agitating the crowd. They even succeeded in getting a mosh-pit going towards the end of their show.

Then it was Lacuna Coil’s turn. I have never seen them live before. I used to listen to some Lacuna Coil when I was younger but I lost track of them over the years. I couldn’t really get into the newer material but I was happy to hear some of the older songs such as ‘Swamped’, ‘Heaven’s A Lie and their cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ live.

Then it was time for the headliners, Eluveitie. Once again they did not disappoint. There are not many folk metal bands out there who are capable of delivering a show this good. A flawless blend of celtic folk instruments, two very different singers with melodic death metal. They played lots of songs from their latest opus ‘Ategnatos’ including ‘Rebirth’ and one of my new favourites ‘The Slumber’ along with a Swiss language version of ‘Call of The Mountains’ and ‘Inis Mona’.

In summary I am glad that I decided to attend the show. I had a great time. I got to see Lacuna Coil live for the first time. Luckily the set included a few tracks which I recognized. Eluveitie were as good as they were the first time that I saw them live. It’s good to see that the line-up change has had a positive effect on the band and I hope that they will return to Finland soon.

Iza Raittila

Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Posted in Review with tags , , on 12th May 2019 by izaforestspirit

Eluveitie
Ategnatos
Released 5th April 2019
Folk Metal/ Melodic Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Eluveitie - Ategnatos

Swiss folk metal outfit Eluveitie are back and this time they recorded a metal album. It’s been two years since their folk record ‘Evocation II – Pantheon’, an album which I enjoyed but it was pure folk music. What I like the most about this band are the contrasts that are prominent in their music. The melodic folk instruments and beautiful clean vocals versus the harsher melodeath guitars and their front-man Chrigel Glanzmann’s aggressive growling. The previous album had some great folk melodies but it lacked the harsh elements. Luckily this time all the things that I like are present on the album.

There are a lot of different styles present on this record. Within the space of an hour they have managed to pack in everything from catchy sounds of bagpipes, whistles, hurdy gurdy as well as other folk instruments. What is more, the stylistic variety ranges from Fabienne Erni’s angelic singing on tracks such as Ambiramus to the aggressive, borderline death metal tracks like Worship to fulfill the blend. Most of the time these two contrasting styles work surprisingly well together, co-existing peacefully and the end result doesn’t sound like a complete cacophony. The title track and The Raven Hill are good examples of how they are able to successfully maintain a delicate balance between folk music and melodic death metal in a way that only Eluveitie can master. I’m particularly fond of the chanting parts of The Raven Hill chorus. Mr. Glanzmann and Ms. Erni did a great job with that one.

I cannot get enough of The Slumber, the song that caught my attention when I saw the lyric video. It’s one of the slower songs on here and it has a certain gloomy feel to it. That eerie chorus has been stuck in my head for several days now. The only song that I couldn’t get into on this record is Worship. I honestly cannot comprehend what they were trying to achieve with this song. It’s basically an attempt at blackened death metal with some folk instruments and chanting added as a background noise. The vocals do not seem to work too well with the music and at times it doesn’t really sound like Eluveitie at all.

In summary, ‘Ategnatos’ has its flaws but despite this it is easily Eluveitie’s best work since ‘Slania’. I really enjoyed listening to it and I will definitely tune into this album again soon.

4/5
Iza Raittila

TYR’s ‘The Tour From Hel’ starts in Europe this month

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 4th April 2019 by izaforestspirit

Faroese folk metal band Tyr will be playing several shows in Europe this month. Tomorrow (5th April 2019) marks the start of their ‘The Tour From Hel’. They will be accompanied by Heidevolk and Dalriada.

Here are the dates:

5.04 NL Rotterdam – Baroeg
6.04 DE Weinheim – Cafe Central
7.04 FR Paris – La Machine
8.04 FR Toulouse – Rex
9.04 SP Barcelona – Salamandra
10.04 FR Marseille – Jas Rod
11.04 CH Lausanne – Les Docks
12.04 DE Hannover – Musiczentrum
13.04 BE Bomal – Durbuy Rock Festival
14.04 CH Pratteln – Z7
15.04 FR Lyon – CCO
16.04 FR Colmar – Grillen
17.04 DE Essen – Turock
18.04 DE Bischofswerda – East Club
19.04 SK Banska Bystica – Tartaros
20.04 CZ Zlin – Masters Of Rock Cafe
21.04 HU Budapest – Barba Negra
22.04 AT Wien – Viper Room
23.04 DE München – Backstage
24.04 NL Nijmegen – Doornrosje
25.04 DE Hamburg – Kaiserkeller
26.04 DE Leipzig – Hellraiser
27.04 DE Lichtenfels – Ragnarök Festival

For more details visit:

http://www.tyr.fo

https://www.facebook.com/tyrband

Cellar Darling – The Spell

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 24th March 2019 by Mickelrath

Cellar Darling

The Spell

Progressive Metal , Folk-Metal, Symphonic

Released: 22nd March 2019

via Nuclear Blast Records

After being really impressed with their 2017 debut album, This Is The Sound, Cellar Darling have returned with their new record, The Spell. After that debut, I was hoping for another record and I was hoping that they would attempt something a little different. Well, they must have heard my wishes because their second record is a very different beast from the first album. The Spell is a much heavier and more progressive album than This Is The Sound. It feels like a lot more care and attention to detail was put into this album. I mean they improve on their sound in every way conceivable here. There is also an audiobook of the album, which offers more context for all of the songs and where the lead vocalist Anna Murphy adds another layer to this album’s meaning.

This album is just a tonne of fun from the first few notes. Immediately hitting you with those sharp tones and sweet melodies that were present on the last release. The production on this album real super slick and everything feels really tight with all of the instrumentation standing out and playing its part. When it all comes in together, it just sounds so grandiose. This sound can only be described as progressive rock with enchanted whimsy thrown in. The beautiful compositions with excellent sound mixing give the album an other-worldly vibe to, what would be, just another progressive folk-metal album. Then you have the immense vocals of Anna Murphy. She just has an amazing presence on this album, it really is a star-making performance. It baffles me how she isn’t usually brought up in the discussion of the best female rock-vocalists by the fan community. She has so much range both, in vocal technique and in, emotional presentation.

There is a really nice variety of musical styles presented here. From eerie and atmospheric to heavy and “in-your-face”. The Spell will captivate and entrance listeners. I immediately wanted to put it on again and again as this album rewards repeated listens as there is a lot you can miss on your first play-through. There are just so many subtle little things in the music that you only catch on repeated listens. I would say the songs that are really worth your time on this album are “Burn” with its excellent riffs and exciting chorus, “Love” & “Love Pt II” also “Death” & Death Pt II” both of these two-part songs make for excellent companion pieces and really show the strength of Cellar Darling’s songwriting abilities. Also, my personal favourite on the record is the haunting ballad “Sleep” which reminds me of those old progressive tunes where the music sounds like random instrumentation but it really perfectly calculated musicianship.

Yep, I would definitely say this is worth your time. I really didn’t know how they were going to follow up that first album but I truly wasn’t expecting this. The Spell is one of those perfect records to accompany your imagination. It’s enjoyable and enriched with wonderful lyrical content. This one gets a big thumbs up from me.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Alestorm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bootyard Bandits, Skálmöld, Alestorm
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
3rd March 2019

Alestorm… It’s been a while. Nine years to be exact. The last time I saw these guys live was in 2010 when they supported Sabaton. I was also at their show at Wacken Open Air in 2008. They have always been one of those bands that I enjoy watching live but I have never actually listened to any of their albums in full. I might play the odd song or video but that is all. They are a party band that is fun to watch live while enjoying a nice cold beer. This was their first headlining show in Finland and it was sold out.

First up was a British band called Bootyard Bandits. These guys clearly like all things Wild West ranging from cowboy hats, country music to banjos. I’m not sure how to describe their style – “comedy country rock?”, hard rock…They were definitely fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the heavy metal banjo solo featuring a cover of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and other hard rock classics. 4/5

Next up was an Icelandic Viking folk metal band called Skálmöld. Their show was a bit more serious but still good. They sound like a mixture of Týr and Falkenbach. All their songs are in their native Icelandic. Good vocals and some of the songs were catchy but I could have done without the Týr-style progressive guitar parts. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. When Alestorm took to the stage I found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit. The crowd really went wild during the show. There was everything from the usual head-banging, air guitar to rowing inside the mosh-pit during one of the slow songs. The Scottish pirates played some new material including ‘Mexico’ along with some old hits such as ‘‘Keelhauled’, Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, ‘Drink’ and a cover of ‘Wolves of The Sea’. 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time and I enjoyed all of the performances. Bootyard Bandits were better than I expected. Skálmöld had a few memorable moments. Alestorm were entertaining as always. Pirate metal is fun to watch, just do not take it too seriously.

Iza Raittila

More details about the new TYR album

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 18th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s been six years since their previous effort ‘Valkyrja’… Now the Faroese progressive folk metal band TYR have announced that their new album will be called ‘Hel’ and it is scheduled to be released on 8th March 2019 via Metal Blade Records.

You can see the cover-art and tracklisting below:

1. Gates of Hel
2. All Heroes Fall
3. Ragnars Kvæði
4. Garmr
5. Sunset Shore
6. Downhill Drunk
7. Empire of the North
8. Far from the Worries of the World
9. King of Time
10. Fire and Flame
11. Against the Gods
12. Songs of War
13. Alvur Kongur

In the meantime here is a preview of one of the new tracks:

For more information go to:

http://www.tyr.fo

https://www.facebook.com/tyrband

Ensiferum’s Acoustic tour comes to Europe this December

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 22nd October 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum have announced that they will be playing a series of acoustic shows in Europe this December. Here is more details about this special tour from their bassist Sami Hinkka:

“Just to tell you guys a bit more about the whole idea of these acoustic gigs. Ensiferum has always had acoustic elements and also whole acoustic songs on the albums but those have been impossible to add to traditional metal gigs. So we decided to create a setlist that would include songs that haven’t ever been played outside of Finland. Not just acoustic songs but also some very rare songs that we rearranged a bit to fit the acoustic atmosphere. Most of the setlist will be songs that haven’t been heard ever outside of Finland so even if you saw Ensiferum within the last years, this show will blow your mind! Partying, beer, moshpits, singalong, crowd surfing has always been a big part of Ensiferum’s metal gigs, how about this time? Fear not, it’s not going to be a ballads-only-evening, because we also include some old hit songs that went through an acoustic metamorphosis to keep the party spirit high! So see you all in the acoustic moshpit!

They will be joined by a Finnish acoustic rock band called TRIO DE FACTO.

To give you an idea of what kind of show you can expect, here is a video of one of their acoustic performances in Helsinki back in 2016:

For the full schedule check out the poster below:

For more information visit:

http://www.ensiferum.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Ensiferum/

 

Primordial reveal new album title

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 23rd February 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Irish pagan metal band Primordial have announced that their new album will be entitled ‘Exile Amongst The Ruin’.  You can see the cover-art and the track-listing below:

1. Nail Their Tongues
2. To Hell or the Hangman
3. Where Lie the Gods
4. Exile Amongst the Ruins
5. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
6. Stolen Years
7. Sunken Lungs
8. Last Call

‘Exile Amongst The Ruins’ will be out on 30th March 2018 via Metal Blade Records. There will also be a special treat in store for German fans of the band – two special album release shows on Cassiopeia, Berlin (30/03/18) and Jungle Club, Köln (31/03/18).

In addition to this the band will also be embarking on a European tour with Moonsorrow in April 2018. Here is the full schedule:

12/04/18 NL – Leeuwarden – Neushoorn
13/04/18 NL – Tilburg – 013
14/04/18 FR – Paris – Trabendo
15/04/18 BE – Brugge – Entrepot
16/04/18 UK – London – Islington Assembly Hall
17/04/18 LU – Esch-sur-Alzette – Kulturfabrik
18/04/18 CH – Pratteln – Z7
19/04/18 DE – Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
20/04/18 DE – Leipzig – Hellraiser
21/04/18 CZ – Prague – Akropolis
22/04/18 SK – Kosice – Colloseum
23/04/18 HU – Budapest – Barba Negra
24/04/18 AT – Wien – Szene
25/04/18 DE – München – Backstage
26/04/18 DE – Aschaffenburg – Colos-Saal
27/04/18 DE – Bochum – Matrix
28/04/18 DE – Hamburg – Markthalle

In the meantime enjoy their latest video:

 

For more information visit:

http://www.primordialweb.com

https://www.facebook.com/primordialofficial

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

Ex Deo announce 2018 European tour with Ensiferum

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 23rd December 2017 by izaforestspirit

The Canadian symphonic death metal band Ex Deo are due to hit the European shores again next year. This time they have teamed up with the Finnish folk metallers Ensiferum for their ‘Path To Glory’ tour starting in April 2018.

For the full schedule see the poster below:

No automatic alt text available.

For further information visit:

http://www.ensiferum.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum/

https://www.facebook.com/exdeo/

Cellar Darling – This Is The Sound

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 25th June 2017 by Mickelrath

 

Cellar Darling

This Is The Sound

Folk rock, Folk metal

Released: 30 June 2017

via Nuclear Blast Records

OK, to address the elephant in the room. I was, and still am, not a fan of Eluveitie. Never got into their music like people said I should. So, I really don’t know much of the politics or behind the scenes of why Anna Murphy, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henz decided to leave the band. Yet, that is the situation we’re in and now from those three, we now have, Cellar Darling. Their debut album is a pretty fun listen. I have to admit the sharp tones and the catchy melodies were enough to whet my appetite. Yet, when I listened more and more I found that this album has a lot to offer both in music and in the lyrics.

First off, to reiterate, This Is The Sound, sounds wonderful. The production is full of big guitars and, massive bass lines that get the blood pumping. All of the folk instrumentation sound great too. Weaving in and out so seamlessly. Everything on the album is designed to make the band seem a big a possible. So as you can imagine it’s quite an impactful album with every clash of the drums and every blast of the guitars feel larger than life.  Genuinely a good feeling to my ears when you hear a band like that. You can hear this from the first track  ‘Avalanche’. Anna Murphy’s vocals hit hard too. Her voice is powerful, but it’s not all power there are some dynamics here. The way her vocals alone manipulate the emotion, tension and intensity of the songs is a testament to her charisma as a front woman.

This album oozes with great riffs, beautiful atmosphere and infectious melodies. Yet, none of it feels overdone. It just flows very nicely and the band have great chemistry, everything just feels like it blends together really nicely. The harshness of the rock instruments provide the songs with a lot of weight. While the folk element complements the heavy sounds and really gives the music another layer. Again it never feels like it’s too much, it always has that nice balance so every element works off the other rather one. As a whole I’ve really like this album, it’s a nice pleasant listen.  I wouldn’t say it’s the most amazing thing in the world but it’s definitely been worth a listen or two.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Quinphonic Festival 4 – Birmingham, UK

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2017 by Mickelrath

Quinphonic Festival
Bands: Temperance, Serpentyne, Metaprim, Dead of Night, Fourth Circle
Venue: The Roadhouse, Birmingham, UK
Date: 16-APR-2017

 

Another year, another pilgrimage to Birmingham for Quinphonic Festival. I wasn’t able to attend the third edition of the festival in the October of last year. Yet, I was more than ready for the fourth one. This one had a stacked line-up with too. Including Italian hard-hitters, Temperance. The UK debut of, Fourth Circle. Along with three of the best live bands that the UK have to offer in Dead of Night, Serpentyne and Metaprism. A spectacular day of music lay ahead and I was pumped for the day to come. Quinphoinc Festival is all about quality over quantity. Five band all given a headline sets worth of time to show off what they can do. This allows the bands to breathe on stage and the crowd can experience what they’re actually like.

Before I talk about the actual day itself. Let me take you back to the night before, at the Barge and Barrel is Tipton for the Pre-Festival showcase night. A night that I won’t soon be forgetting. It was a great night of music featuring three fantastic UK up-and-comers. Darkest Obsidian, A Clockwork Opera and The Loved and Lost. All three bands were on top form and delivered a great performance. That really showed off their styles well. As a night it really came together with a great crowd. I really enjoyed all three acts, from the pageantry of A Clockwork Opera. To the soaring choruses of Darkest Obsidian with the finesse and energy of The Loved and Lost. It was a great night had by all and I hope to see more from all these bands sooner rather than later.
Now on to the festival itself. I got to the venue early to soak in the atmosphere. It was going to be a great day. All the bands have their own respective niche so there should have been something for every type of fan. As for myself I was looking forward to hearing something new. The only band I was really aware before going to the venue was, Temperance. So no matter the result of the day. I was going to hear something different and new for certain. Now, onto the review!

Fourth Circle

What a firecracker of an opener. This was exactly what was needed to start the day. The French band, Fourth Circle were debuting in the UK and let me say, what a way to make and entrance. The band were energetic and and fun. Their presence was in your face and and bold. Their live production great with every element of the band working outstandingly well. I have to say I was taken completely off guard by their performance. With pomp and pageantry, their music sounded huge with bombast. The music was filled with excellent hooks sinking into your head and this made their songs easy to remember. The band’s on stage chemistry really made these songs larger than life. They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and this made it easier to enjoy their set. I only had a couple of problems with their set. Firstly, their set felt a little repetitive and it got a little tedious at times. Although those hooks constantly drew me back in. The only other thing that let their set down a bit was that the crowd started to thin out throughout the set, which ruined the atmosphere a little bit. Overall I had a fantastic time watching them. I would say their UK debut was successful and I for would welcome them back anytime!

Dead of Night

Next up was British newcomers Dead of Night. This was a really good set. Even if the songs were a little bland in composition, they more than made up for it in their theatrical stage presentation. Their sound was nice and I enjoyed some of the songs. Their stage presence was exciting and their chemistry was excellent. Really giving a complete package of a show. The vocals were clear and frontwoman, Briony Featon was an exciting presence on the stage. With light up black angel wings she truly gave the band that little bit of an edge. Their music had a decent atmosphere to it and the songs felt well put together. Their music had this really slick vibe to it. More of an old school rock ’n’ roll format to the songs rather than your typical symphonic metal or power metal sound. The centrepiece of the set for me was a gorgeous ballad that invited imagination and let the band really breathe. In all honesty they really won the crowd over. I did feel that their songs were just bland on a compositional level and that let them down a bit for me. However, I will concede that they were incredibly likeable and they presented themselves really well. I thought they were pretty good and I hope they evolve and grow in the future.

Metaprism

Now for the best band of the day and no, I do not make that statement lightly. Metaprism burst on to the stage with life and excitement. They were probably the “heaviest” band of the day and I feel they were the band with the best set. Their songs were high energy and filled with awesome riffs and well executed solos. Their presence had a sense of command to them. When they were performing, the audience were definitely paying attention. Their set was really an intense atmosphere upon the venue and the contrasting duel vocals of the band really gave them that little bit of an edge. It’s like they took the European standards of this style of music and added the British elements to it to make this sound. They came across a really likable people, they were very genuine and humble on the stage as they tried to get the crowd involved more and more into the set. Their set built up and got slowly better and I was completely enthralled with their set and I immediately rushed to the merch table right after their set was over. Which I guess was a good sign. Yes, this was definitely my favourite band of the day. Everything about them was excellent, from their songs to their personalities. They were an exciting and dynamic band, and I can say for certain that I became a fan.

Serpentyne

British folk-rockers Serpentyne took to the stage with finesse and and grace. This had to be one the most interesting sets of the day. On a pure technical level they were incredible but I really couldn’t get into it. Maybe it just wasn’t my sort of music but there was just certain aspects to their performance that turned me off. However, I did like parts and ideas used in the set. The musicianship was excellent and every instrument was played to an expert level. I also really enjoyed the dancer that was in the crowd it added to the enticement of the band. The music had these really good rock n roll elements mixed with the fantastical folk music to make something truly inventive. All of the songs were character piece with stories of vikings, medieval society and fantasy characters which were rich and engrossing. This really peaked my interest. However after the energetic, high pace set from Metaprism, this set felt a little deflating. Also I felt the vocals were a bit overdone. The singing could have been toned down a little. The set ended on a over of the Game of Thrones theme tune which was really well done for what it was. I like this band but I didn’t love it. They are all incredible musicians and the performance was well done, it just may have not been my type of music.

Temperance

Now for the main event of the evening and the only band that I came to this show with any familiarity. Temperance, are one of those band that just use everything at their disposal to entertain a crowd. Their songs are catchy and their energy are infectious. Other than some tech issues with the microphone they set went down without a hitch. The band blasted through their set with great songs. Coming hot off their third album “The Earth Embraces Us All” the set was a great mixture of all three albums. The crowd was really into it as was I. I mean I put down my notepad and just watched the show. The live production was really good, although the drums were a little loud at times. Also the backing tracks they were using didn’t come through the best at times. Frontwoman, Chiara Tricarico was an engaging presence on stage as was guitarist, Marco Pastorino. You really couldn’t keep your eyes off of them. Also with the sheer technical ability of them they made an impressive show as the final band of the day. They really were the cherry on top of an excellent day.

Words by Mick Birchall
Photos by David Sarah

Finsterforst -#YØLØ

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 3rd September 2016 by izaforestspirit

Finsterforst
#YØLØ
Released 14th September 2016
Folk Metal
Released via Napalm Records

The German folk metal band from the “Dark Forest” region is back with their latest offering; a limited edition EP titled ‘#YØLØ’. This is a party album for the “dancing metal fan” featuring four covers of songs by pop, hip-hop and punk artists. Based on some of the song titles, this is fairly similar to what you might expect to see from their beer-loving, fellow countrymen Tankard. I am not too convinced about the choice of covers, but each to their own…

So let’s see what we have here — The party starts with Bottle Gods, a highly entertaining folk metal tune which made me think of Finntroll and Ensiferum for some reason. No trolls though, just a simple catchy chorus and some catchy accordion melodies accompanying the metal instruments. So far, so good…Now where’s that beer? Ah, here it comes. Not just one either but several as the bar starts to fill up and more of your friends join the party. And what better anthem for this occasion than Auf die Zwölf – a German-language track with a lot of the same atmosphere as the super-catchy opener. More accordion noise and a chorus so catchy that you want to dance and sing along to the tune even if your German is as bad as mine is.

Things start to go a bit haywire by the time we reach the title track. Folk metal and trumpets? Oh dear, clearly someone has had one beer too many. Well clearly someone did because the Hangover is immense. It’s so sad, such a great party and now everyone feels like crap. Oh look, there’s a karaoke machine over there, let’s all have a go at singing some random songs. Yeah… In all honesty the Finsterforst cover of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball is actually quite decent. They actually put some effort into the vocals and their metalized version works surprisingly well. However the same cannot be said for the Michael Jackson cover or the cringe-worthy hip-hop track. ‘Wild Rover’ is a fairly obvious song to end the party with. It’s been fun but now it’s really time to go home.

Overall, you can clearly tell that Finsterforst had lots fun recording ‘#YØLØ’. It’s clearly a party album that is not meant to be taken too seriously. The whole thing is a bit of a joke but luckily for the most part a good one.

3/5
Iza Raittila