Archive for Folk Metal

Iza’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Instrumental, Metal, Rock 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, Metal 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 CD, Metal 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 Metal, 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 Alternative, CD, Folk, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 24th March 2019 by mickbirchy

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, Metal, Rock 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 Metal, 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