Archive for Folk music

Eluveitie – Evocation II: Pantheon

Posted in CD, Folk with tags , , on 12th August 2017 by izaforestspirit

Eluveitie

Evocation II: Pantheon

Released 18th August 2017

Folk/Acoustic

Released via Nuclear Blast

Eluveitie - Evocation II: Pantheon

Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie are back with a new female singer and a new album. Now for those who have been following the band for some time, the name ‘Evocation’ will be familiar because the band has already released one album under that moniker back in 2009. What we have here is part two of that concept – ‘Evocation II: Pantheon’, which offers more acoustic folk tunes. So, for those who enjoyed the first ‘Evocation’ album, you’re in for a treat. If, like me, you prefer the more metal-oriented works such as ‘Slania’ then you might have a hard time adjusting to the lack of metal elements on here.

That’s not the only thing that makes this album stand out. Another feature I’ve noticed is the distinct lack of male vocals on here. As much I appreciate Fabienne Erni’s melodious vocal talents, I actually miss the dual vocal configuration with their frontman Chrigel Glanzmann’s harsh semi-growls providing a sharp contrast. Then again, that would make it more metal-sounding, which is clearly is not the aim here. No, this is definitely a folk album with tin whistles, acoustic guitars, bagpipes,harps etc. being the order of the day.

Epona caught my attention, as one of the catchiest songs on here. So catchy in fact that it makes you want to get up, dance and possibly even sing along. I honestly have no idea what the lyrics mean but that chorus has been stuck in my head for several days now! There’s quite a few purely instrumental tracks on here too, all bearing that distinctive Celtic feel to them due to the tin whistles and harps. Lvgvs sounds like Eluveitie’s rendition of the Breton drinking song ‘Son ar chistr’. And what a great job they did on it. Yet there’s more to ‘Evocation II’ than just drinking songs and catchy folk tunes; there are a few more sombre songs on here as well such as the Cernvnnos, and the beautiful Artio which really shows off Erni’s vocal talents. Then there is Cavtrix which includes some rather creepy-sounding war chants and drumming as if to mimic the eve of a battle. Last but not least I want mention Ogmios, which sounds like a new, re-lyricized acoustic version of one of the tracks from their earlier albums.

In summary, the clue is in the name – ‘Evocation II: Pantheon’ is a logical continuation of where the first ‘Evocation’ album left off. It’s all folk music with not even the slightest hint of metal. So if you enjoyed the first ‘Evocation’ album then you’re bound to like this. Personally I liked some of songs but after listening through to all eighteen tracks of acoustic folk, I really missed the sounds of an electric guitar and harsh growling. Good work Eluveitie! How about a metal album next time?

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the project visit:

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

http://www.meandthatman.com/

Ben Parcell – Expectations

Posted in CD, Folk, Pop Punk with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 5th September 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Ben Parcell
Expectations

Released 14th September 2013
Acoustic/Folk/Pop Punk
Released via By The Sea Records

Since becoming a solo act, Ben Parcell has gained a relative amount of fame through the East riding area and beyond for his soul-fuelled songwriting, distinctive voice and hard working attitude. Ben has clocked over 250 shows around the UK, playing both gigs and festivals. Taking influence from a wide range of different acts and genres such as Frank Turner, The Beatles and Green Day, Ben has established his own sound whilst staying true to his roots.

Opening up the album is the title track, Expectations, which proves to be a gentle yet honest song filled with emotive lyrics as well as distinctive accompaniment of piano. Out Of Here has a different sound all together, with a new pulse added to it by the use of percussion while the lyrics and vocals a certain tension to the music that rings out with all the strength of church bells minus the inducement of headaches. The use of guitar has a slight jig to it, blending in elements that are hard to explain. Gracie Falls‘ vocals inject a docile but rare touch into the song.

Forget The Pain has a misty, Stygian atmosphere that is reflected gracefully through each note and dances seductively with the lyrics. Given the darkish sound of the song, would it be safe to classify this as doom folk? Painted By Numbers is the upbeat number that appeared on Ben‘s EP of the same name (the review of which can be found here). The backing vocals, as provided by Edwina Hayes, adds a pillar of strength to the song while Ben‘s vocals and guitar work laid the foundations. I Don’t Need You continues with the upbeat tempo though the lyrics and vocals leave a trail of dusk and solemn feelings in their wake – A contrast that clearly works well for Ben. The piano medleys add a handsome sound to the song, keeping it fresh yet gloaming.

Undertow sails down a similar route to that of the opening and title track Expectations but some interesting changes of course throughout its journey whereas Jetsam a stable and silky campaign from beginning to end – A perfect chill out song. Stay In Touch is another song from Ben‘s Painted By Numbers EP and makes for easy and pleasant listening, though the pace picks up ever so slightly after the introduction. Too Late To Say Goodbye also appeared on Painted By Numbers, capturing the sobering and reflective side of Ben‘s music. The last song to feature on the album from Painted By Numbers is Love Song, which rings out with emotional lyrics and soul-filled music.

The album finishes up with Light At The End Of The Tunnel. The guitar passages whistle out a partially majestic sound, underlying the subtle emotional tones in Ben‘s voice. The organ sounds summon up a thoughtful, somber sound that makes the song almost infused with doom-flavoured elements which are eventually added by the grave use of Black Sabbath-based electric guitars.

Since his career began as an acoustic act, Ben Parcell has slowly become one of the well known musicians of East Yorkshire’s acoustic and folk scene and Expectations is a testament to Ben‘s talent and is one of the most important albums in the East Yorkshire’s folk scene – If not, the UK’s. Blending influences and elements from different genres and musicians, Expectations also clearly shows an evolution in Ben‘s sound and style.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ben Parcell online:

http://www.benparcell.com
http://benparcell.blogspot.com
http://gplus.to/benparcell
http://benparcell.bigcartel.com
http://benparcell.bandcamp.com
http://www.twitter.com/benparcell
http://www.reverbnation.com/benparcell
http://www.myspace.com/benparcell
http://www.soundcloud.com/benparcell

Interview with Erik Grawsiö (Månegarm)

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 4th July 2013 by izaforestspirit

 photo group2-scaled_zps2190a9fe.jpg

The Swedish Viking black metal group Månegarm is one of the most unique and diverse bands in the scene. Iza caught up with their singer Erik Grawsiö to discuss the new album Legions of the North, Viking mythology, line-up changes and movie soundtracks.

Iza: Hi Erik!

Erik Grawsiö: Hello!

I: I’ve read that Månegarm refers to a wolf in Norse mythology that swallows the moon at Ragnarok. Could you explain why you chose that particular name and what it means to you as a band?

E: Yes, that’s right! We had another name when we first started up the band but after only 1-2 months we changed to Månegarm. Jonas was the one who found it and we all thought that it was a better name for the band (than the earlier name) especially since we sang in Swedish about the Norse mythology. The wolf for me is a powerful animal that stands for strength, pride and wisdom. “ It’s better to live one day as a WOLF (originally: lion) than a thousand years as a lamb”.

I: Your music is an interesting mix of styles ranging from black metal, Viking metal with some folk and pagan influences. Which of these styles would you say represents Månegarm‘s music the best?

E: I don’t know really… When people ask I usually just say that we play “metal” or Rock n’ roll. We’re definitely more of a metal band than a folk band but I think that Månegarm‘s music is represented by all of these styles that you mentioned. The diversity and mixture is the strength of Månegarm I think.


I
: What are your thoughts on the tag ‘Viking metal’? Does the genre exist in your opinion? Should it exist?

E: We don’t care much for tags and labels at all. When we started playing this kind of “metal” there were no Viking or pagan or Viking/folk metal; it was just us and a couple of other bands that played the kind of music that we enjoyed playing. This is no problem for us though and if these tags/labels help people get a better picture of a band or categorizing bands, then it is fine by me. The problem nowadays is maybe that there are like thousands of sub-genres/labels and that just makes it all confusing. Let’s put it this way; people can call our music what the f**k they want as long as they like it!!

I: Are there any bands in the Swedish metal scene that interest you? If so, which ones and why?

E: No.

I: Let’s talk a bit about the new album Legions of The North. Was there any specific inspiration for this album or any particular themes that you wanted to portray?

E: No, there is no stated concept or theme that runs through the album but if I remember correctly we first had the idea of a theme which was pretty much “death” from different points of view. Even if we didn’t follow that path totally it maybe stayed in our minds on a both conscious and an unconscious level, because almost all songs came to deal with war and death in different ways, influenced by the Nordic mythology. photo Erik_zpse9c17607.jpg

I: Some of the instrumental tracks on there such as Vigverk sound like old folk songs? What are they based on?

E: Vigverk is a short instrumental piece that can be seen as an intro to the following song Sons of War. The name Vigverk comes from Eddan and can be translated into something like “great deeds” or “great achievement” in English. It is no traditional old folk song; it’s just a song that I wrote since I wanted to have some shorter acoustic tracks on the album.

I: Legions of the North is your 7th album. How do you think it compares to its predecessors, particularly the last one Nattväsen?

E: I think it sort of continues on the same path as Nattväsen but we have worked more on the arrangements and the structure of the songs and especially we have put a lot of effort on the refrains on this album. On the earlier albums (like the first 1-2 albums) our “composing strategy” was to sit down with the guitars, put a bunch of riffs together in a descent way and yep… We had a song!! That’s maybe quite charming and cool in a way but today I think that we “think” music in a better and more serious way and we try to compose “real” songs!

I: Your violin player Janne Liljekvist left the band last year before the album was completed. Has this had any effect on the recording process or the way the album turned out?

E: The biggest effect on the recording process was that the new violin player (Martin Björklund who is a friend of Jakob‘s) only needed 1.5 days in the studio to get all violin parts done instead of Janne who often needed 3-4 days… Janne didn’t write any songs in Månegarm; it’s Jonas and I who write the songs and it’s usually me that writes the melodies for guitar and violin, so him leaving didn’t have any effect on the final result I think.

I: If Månegarm could play a show anywhere in the world without any restrictions, where would you choose and why?

E: I would like our own festival; “Månegarm Open Air” or something like that. It would be cool to start off in a small scale and then turn it into the greatest festival ever!! That’s quite a dream uhh… but you said without any restrictions.

I: If you could replace the sound track to any movie with your music, which one would it be and why?

E: I know it’s a long shot but maybe some of our songs from our acoustic album Urminnes Hävd – The Forest Sessions could serve as a nice soundtrack to a scene in The Lord of the Rings. I don’t know which song would be best and I don’t know for which scene, but when I listen to that album and seeing these films I get sort of the same feelings and emotions…epic freedom, mysticism, grief, joy and emotions like that. I better call Peter Jackson right away!!

I: Do you have any final words for our readers and your fans?

E: Keep your eyes and ears open for our new album Legions of the North! You just can’t miss it, it’s a killer!!! See you all on the road!!

Månegarm online:

http://www.facebook.com/Manegarmsweden/
http://www.deaf-dumb.com/manegarm
http://www.manegarmsweden.com
http://www.myspace.com/manegarm
http://www.youtube.com/Manegarmofficial

 

Månegarm – Legions of The North

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 7th June 2013 by izaforestspirit

Månegarm
Legions of The North
Released 28th June2013
Viking Metal/ Black Metal
Released via Napalm Records

 photo legions_zps1358826a.jpg

‘Legions of The North’ is the new album from the Swedish viking metal band Månegarm. It is the follow up to their 2009 release ‘Nattväsen’.

After short, atmospheric instrumental Arise we head for the battlefields with the title track offering a good balance of guitar riffage and harsh, almost black metal style vocals. The drum patterns owe a lot to the black metal genre as well. If there ever was such a genre as “blackened viking metal”, Månegarm would be its torch-bearer. Take Eternity Awaits for instance, on one side it has these ultra catchy folk metal style guitar melodies and cheesy backing singers and then there are the frostbitten black metal vocals creeping in. Same can be said for the folk chants in Hordes of Hel. It might sound like an unusual mix, but believe me it works.

The march goes on into wintry forests as Tor Hjälpe sheds any traces of the happy folk tunes and replaces them with some grim black metal. I’m not sure what to make of the clear backing vocals though; they don’t seem to really fit the style of that song… Other noteworthy tracks include Sons of War which features some catchy rock guitar melodies and vocals that mimic war cries and Fallen which reminds me of their fellow countrymen Amon Amarth.

Overall this is album proves there is a lot more to Viking metal than fake swords, horned helmets and drinking tunes. It can be dark and powerful as well as melodic and catchy at the same time, which is a rarity these days.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Cruadalach – Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th July 2012 by izaforestspirit

Cruadalach
Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside
Released: February 2011
Folk Metal
Released via Parat Magazine

‘Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside’ is the latest EP from the Czech folk metal band Cruadalach. It was released in the same year as the band’s debut ‘Lead – Not Follow’.

Straight from the bag-pipe and war chant -infused intro ‘Agni’, you know you’re in for a folk metal album. The first track ‘Occident Sun’ offers a hybrid of melodic folk tunes and metal akin to the likes of Skyforger and Pagan Reign. This is not your typical (read Korpiklaani-style) beer-drinking party folk metal, though. Instead there’s a touch of melancholy in the songs mostly due to the violin accompanying the other instruments, which creates a sombre feeling that is audible on tracks such as ‘Pramen Epony’ or the ballad ‘Confession’.

Good thing that they have decided to incorporate bag-pipes, whistles and flutes into the music as well – all of which lighten up the mood a little. Take ‘Heavenly Forge’ for instance, it’s the first track on here with which you can picture yourself dancing or stomping your feet to. There’s something very uplifting about the overall style and speed of that particular track that makes it stand out.

3.5/5 – Not a bad effort, but if you’re new to Cruadalach I would recommend checking out their debut album first.

Iza Raittila

Ben Parcell – Painted By Numbers [2011]

Posted in Folk with tags , , , , , , on 25th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Ben Parcell
Album: Painted By Numbers
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk/Pop-Punk
Ben Parcell has been on the rise in the British acoustic scene since the recording and release of his debut album “Humble Beginnings” though he had already established a name for himself with his old band “The Trailers”. His song “The Only One” is featured on the benefit compilation ‘Unity’ by Engineer Records which features mainstream acts such as ‘The Gaslight Anthem’ ‘Fightstar’, ‘Funeral For a Friend’ and ‘Luke Pickett’. “Painted By Numbers” is his latest release.

The title track “Painted By Numbers” starts the album with a brilliantly composed guitar section with a slight use of percussion. The vocals soon follow adding a mellow sound on top of the soothing acoustic riffs. The song has a soulful flow, enchanting the listener. The backing vocals, provided by Edwina Hayes, are powerful yet subtle, adding emphasis to the lead vocals, giving the song a certain warmth in the sound. The small use of piano is unexpected and surprising but a brilliant addition to the song. “Too Late To Say Goodbye” follows after with a solemn sound in both the vocals and music. The track is slower compared to “Painted By Numbers”, capturing the essence of Ben’s talent and musical style in a deep, emotional way. The lyrics help bring a certain touch of emotion to the song as well bringing a tear to the eyes of the listener. The vocals are very distinct and strong throughout “Too Late To Say Goodbye”, helping add to its sound and masterful composition.

“Stay In Touch” picks up the pace though staying slow and steady during in the introduction. The vocals adapt well to the changed tempo, working well with the acoustic riffs. Parts of the song make the listener feel like having a small jig along to the music. The tempo changes add character to the music as well, giving it a very original edge. The EP finishes with “Love Song” which brings back the slow pace combined with awe-inspiring vocals and well-written lyrics. The calmness of the music could easily ease the listener into a relaxed state of mind. The combination of lead and backing vocals brings about a very soothing atmosphere and the use of keyboards throughout the song add a touch of brilliance.

After hearing “Painted By Numbers”, the listener will no doubt know why Ben Parcell has been doing so well. Each track is composed in such a way that it would be near enough impossible to try replicate the sound that Ben creates with his talent. “Painted By Numbers” is certainly an EP that one could listen to over and over again without growing bored of it. Even if you’re not a fan of acoustic music, this is a brilliant EP with a happy medium of pop-punk and folk music. The only downside to it is that it’s not a full-length release, though no doubt Ben will have a full-length release somewhere in the pipelines.

5/5

Nico Davidson