After ten years with the band, violinist Meri Tadic and the popular folk metal band Eluveitie are planning an amicable split to coincide with the end of 2013. Continue reading
It looks like another Paganfest contender has entered the scene. Scottish blackened folk metal band Cnoc An Tursa recently released their debut album The Giants Of Auld in the UK (don’t worry, it’s coming to North America in late March), and it is quite an introduction to the band. Let’s just say that if ever there were an album I would want to die in a valiant battle on a lush green hill, it would be this one. I can’t imagine a video for a The Giants Of Auld song that wouldn’t involve at least a dozen swords.
There is a stark contrast between Alan Buchan’s harsh, almost Chrigel Glanzmann-esque vocals and the pleasant melodious tunes on The Giants Of Auld. For the most part, the contrast works wonderfully, but some songs (looking at you, “Culloden Moor”) probably could have benefited from a softer touch. “The Spellbound Knight” is one of my favorites — it’s like soothing balm on my flesh after the first half of the album rocked my face off. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely appreciate the relentlessness of the first few tracks, especially “Bannockburn,” but I’ve grown accustomed to the dramatically intoned interludes and clean vocal breaks of folk metal bands past. This is, for the record, a problem with me, NOT Cnoc An Tursa. Cnoc An Tursa are fantastic, and I am a pansy.
Once you are steeled to the brutality of The Giants Of Auld, you will love it. The whole album is highly emotional and evocative, full of songs that paint pictures even if the lyrics are not necessarily clear (try NOT to imagine a blizzard while listening to “Winter – A Dirge,” with its windy background “ah”s and blustery driving beat). While I almost hope that Cnoc An Tursa’s future holds a little more folk, The Giants Of Auld is an extremely satisfying debut and I’d hardly complain if the band continued in their current style. Keep an eye out for these fellas in the coming months — I can see them making it big on both sides of the pond. (7.5 / 10)
Eluveitie has confirmed that vocalist/hurdy-gurdyist/flautist Anna Murphy will miss their upcoming tour with Sabaton to recover from an ongoing health problem. Muprhy fell ill suddenly during Eluveitie’s South American tour and was forced to fly back to Switzerland, where she has remained in recovery since. The band, which has kept mum on the exact nature of Murphy’s illness, made the following official statement earlier today:
Anna Murphy, who has fallen ill last December and has already been forced to leave our recent South American tour, will unfortunately not be able to join us for the upcoming run with Sabaton. She is currently in the midst of a several month long treatment and is not able to play shows in the coming weeks. While these are sad news and we will miss Anna sorely during this tour, we will do our very best to still put on the show our fans deserve – Anna needs some time to fully recover, and is already eager to rejoin us as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding, and for all the nice messages Anna has been receiving in the past weeks!
I’m going to be sad when it’s like, 2041 and lists with titles like this will no longer make sense. In the meantime…
Ensiferum took their time with this one, and it shows. 2012 didn’t see a whole lot of folk metal releases, but the few I got to hear were pretty great.
Grave Digger have proven that they are still relevant after 32 years in the scene. Clash Of The Gods sounds like it was ripped straight out of the ’80s, and brand new all at the same time.
I was more excited than anyone I knew for Christian Mistress’s sophomore album, and it did not disappoint. Possession is fantastic from start to finish, and losing it in a hard drive crash was a low point in this otherwise great year.
You knew it was coming. The Chinese Democracy of Finnish melodeath, Time I was hyped to the extreme and mostly delivered on its awesomeness. Forget about how the album was supposedly so complex that there are hundreds of track sper song and crashed Jari’s computer — it is an enjoyable album to listen to, and that’s all that mattered.
2012 was the year that I fully explored my stoner side (I discovered Red Fang and Dozer in late 2011). Dismal Hollow came along in January, which couldn’t have been a better time. If I had gotten it on tape, the magnetic strip would have been WAY worn out by now.
Hearing Now And Forever made me extra excited about the upcoming Doro/Sister Sin North American tour! I only discovered the band this year, but I fell in love immediately.
Thrash will never die, not as long as Overkill are still holding down the fort. The Electric Age is proof that Overkill haven’t lost a bit of their edge, and when I saw them live in May, it’s clear that they can still command a crowd too.
I’m going to catch so much shit for putting Helvetios over The Electric Age, I almost don’t want to say anything. I loved the album as a folk metal fan, and I loved the concept as a history nerd.
Metal Underground’s review of Stalingrad calls it an “instant classic” and “just the breath of fresh air required to jump start the band’s career,” and I wholeheartedly agree. As a bonus, I saw Accept in September and, while I loved Swallow The Sun and Kreator as well, they stole the show.
Silverthorn is power metal at its finest. New singer Tommy Karevik sounds a lot like Khan, but by the end of the album, you can see his own style shine through. Silverthorn fits right in with their older albums, and shows that Kamelot haven’t missed a beat.
I pretty much ran out of good things to say about Red Horse when I reviewed the album in October. Holy shit, this album is so great. Consistent, brutal awesomeness was hard to come by this year, but Early Graves delivered it in spades.
It’s rare to find a band with absolutely no lulls (and I do not count their ’90s troubles as a “lull,” per se) over a decades-long career, yet here we have Testament. How can one band put out so many amazing albums? Dark Roots Of Earth was not only wildly successful with fans and critics, it also charted higher than any other Testament album (but is #1 in our hearts) and for good reason — it is everything a thrash album should be. Thank you, Testament, for staying inspired, brutal, and brilliant over all these years!
Carol and I worked together to generate what we believe to be a fairly uncontroversial and HIGHLY accurate list. Feel free to prove us wrong in the comments section below!
If you go to a lot of shows — say, at least 50 a year — there are certain trends that you’ll begin to notice. They’re not stereotypes, and they’re not necessarily bad, they just are what they are. The first time I was ever directly called out for being the odd one out was at an Overkill show, during which a man came up to me and said something along the lines of “Wow, they’re aren’t too many of you guys here!” Dumbstruck, I asked him what he meant — turned out he was referring to women. Relieved that he wasn’t a massive racist like I immediately assumed, I took a look around myself and saw that he was right. The venue was pretty large, and I counted about ten women out of about 75 people in the immediate vicinity. Perhaps you and I might agree that old school thrash rules. What about the rest of the sisterhood? Where the hell are they?
Answer: folk metal shows.
Here’s what I mean. In case you haven’t noticed, Turisas recently announced a headlining tour. Turisas is a great band that I’ve seen a bunch of times, so why is it that my only friends reacting to the news happen to be ladies?
I’ve been to doom shows, power metal shows, NWOBHM, thrash, death, symphonic, prog, and everything in-between, and folk metal shows are the only shows at which the ratio of dudes to chicks even approaches 1:1. As an equal-opportunity metal lover, I’m baffled by the gender divide. It’d be easy to say something handwavey like “Well, folk metal is softer, so it’s easier on our tender lady-eardrums,” but then how do you explain Eluveitie? Finntroll? Arkona?
Okay, I’ll concede the possible presence of an eye candy factor in the case of Finntroll and Turisas. Matthias “Vreth” Lillmåns in particular is extremely popular among my folk metal-loving friends, and Mathias “Warlord” Nygård made #5 on my list of hottest metal guys ever. That said, hot guys are ubiquitous across subgenres, and if you’re paying good money to go to shows just to see hot guys, you’d be better off going to sausage-festy death/thrash shows — at least there, you’ll have more options.
As for Arkona, it’s a common misconception that women are predisposed to liking bands with lady vocals (see: Nightwish, Epica, etc.). Even if it were true (and don’t think for a second that it’s not preposterous), how many folk metal acts can you name with a female lead vocalist, keeping in mind that symphonic ones don’t count? Aside from Arkona, Cruachan and Battlelore come to mind for me most easily, and while my lips are sealed about my OWN opinion of the latter two, I can’t say I’ve ever met a die-hard fan of either.
The truth is, I don’t really know why we’re so wild about folk metal, other than the empirical fact that folk metal owns. Even though my first exposure to metal was thrash, folk ended up being my true gateway into the metal scene. I liked it because it was something different, and the only metal I’d heard back then was radio stuff, Cannibal Corpse (bleh), and Iron Maiden (I prefer Priest, wanna fight about it?). People of all genders like exciting new things though! What is it about folk metal that latches onto the female brain and worms its way in?
Recently HearEvil.com caught up with Anna Murphy (Hurdy Gurdy) from the folk metal band Eluveitie to tak about all that’s going on with Eluveite, as well as her solo projects and what’s next for Eluveite. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that it was a decade ago that Eluveitie started setting the folk metal world on fire, but alas — the band is celebrating their 10th anniversary by releasing a 2-CD Digipak bundle called The Early Years. Among other exciting tidbits of the band’s history (including their first full-length album Spirit), the collection will contain a re-recorded version of Vên, Eluveitie’s debut EP. “We had a lot of fun putting those songs on tape again — some of which we have been playing live to this day and that have developed together with us over all these years,” stated frontman and founder Chrigel Glanzmann. The Early Years comes out on August 28th through Nuclear Blast Records.
In case you forgot how awesome Eluveitie have been since the very beginning, check out their very first music video, “Of Fire, Wind & Wisdom” (from the album Spirirt).
Being an American folk metal fan is pretty rough. Every year, you wait anxiously to see some 5-band combination of your favorites (which somehow never includes your FAVORITE favorites — *cough* Týr *cough*) to tour the US. Sometimes they don’t come to your city, and sometimes they don’t come at all. Thankfully, a few kind American folks have taken matters into their own hands and started an awesome band called Winterhymn.
Founded in 2010 by rhythm guitarist/vocalist Ulfr and lead guitarist/vocalist Draug, Winterhymn started with the intent to expand on the already on-the-rise American folk metal scene. The usual suspects (keyboards and violin) joined some time later, and the lineup was rounded out with bass and drums shortly thereafter. In October 2011, under their own management and without a record label, they released Songs For The Slain through iTunes and Amazon.
I heard this band for the first time in Turntable’s Metal Gods room, and they immediately reminded me of Eluveitie with a little added whimsy. Umbriel uses her violin sparingly (thank god!) and while none of the folk elements get overly technical or manic, the riffs are still interesting and fun. You can listen to many of the songs on their debut album in the Music section of their official website, but below is the first track I ever heard by them. It’s a good one, so check it out!
As if it wasn’t good enough news that Paganfest, a much-celebrated folk/Viking metal fest, is coming back to the United States after passing the US over in 2011, Turisas has put the icing on the cake by announcing that they will headline Paganfest 2012! Turisas has been at the forefront of folk metal for almost a decade and participated in the first North American Paganfest tour in 2008 along with Eluveitie, Týr, and Finntroll. This time around, the supporting bands will be Alestorm, Ex Deo, Arkona, and Huntress.