Archive for Folk Metal

Ensiferum’s Acoustic tour comes to Europe this December

Posted in Metal, 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/

 

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Primordial reveal new album title

Posted in Metal, 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 CD, Metal 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 Metal, 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 CD, Folk, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 25th June 2017 by mickbirchy

 

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, Metal with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2017 by mickbirchy

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 CD, Metal 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