On this day in 1917, Finland declared its independence from Soviet Russia. Let’s celebrate by jamming out to our favorite Finnish bands! Continue reading
American folkhead ladies, our prayers have been answered. Finntroll, along with Blackguard and Metsatöll, will embark on a month-long tour of the United States and Canada starting this November. Last month, a post on Finntroll’s Facebook page alluded to an upcoming U.S. tour, and today the dates have been confirmed. They are as follows:
4 Springfield, VA Empire
5 New York, NY Stage 48
9 Worcester, MA The Palladium
10 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
11 Cleveland, OH Peabodys
13 Joliet, IL Mojoes
14 Minneapolis, MN Station 4
15 Winnipeg, MB The Zoo
16 Regina, SK Exchange
17 Calgary, AB The Republik
18 Edmonton, AB The Pawn Shop
20 Vancouver, BC The Red Room
21 Seattle, WA El Corazon
22 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
24 Anaheim, CA The Grove
26 Las Vegas, NV LVCS
27 Tempe, AZ Rocky Point Cantina
29 Salt Lake City, UT The Venue
30 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
1 Lawrence, KS Granda Theater
2 Dallas, TX Trees
3 San Antonio, TX Backstage Live
4 Houston, TX Scout Bar
6 Tampa, FL Orpheum Theater
7 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
8 Louisville, KY Diamonds Bar and Grill
9 Baltimore, MD Soundstage
Start the countdown!
When all else in my life is in shambles, I can always count on Finntroll to pick me up. Their commitment to a darker variety of folk metal while maintaining a light humppa undertone has served them well and gotten me out of many a funk. Folk metal is to Finntroll as red carpet fashion is to Halle Berry — you can safely expect greatness, but when greatness happens, you’re still blown away. Blodsvept is no exception to the “Finntroll is great” rule, and is so far the most exciting album I’ve heard all year.
If you’ve heard a few Finntroll albums, you know how they generally go. The opening tracks are quasi-grim, there’s a bouncy track somewhere in the middle, and the end is pretty and mellow. Blodsvept follows this winning formula to a tee, and the excellent songwriting keeps it from feeling like it’s all been done before. The only differences here is that the bouncy song is now two songs in a row (“Två Ormar” and “Fanskapsfylld,” which no doubt will be the mandatory “link arms and dance in circles” songs on all future setlists), and they’re closer to the end of the album than usual. There’s a dark carnival-esque feel to Blodsvept that I suspect they might have wanted to flesh out in Nifelvind but didn’t get a chance to (go back and listen to “Ur Bergets Rot” if you don’t know what I’m talking about). At any rate, I’m glad to hear more of it here, even if I had to wait a couple of years first.
How does one write a review of an album without lulls? I’m running out of nice things to say. Blodsvept is perfect from start to finish, and trying to badmouth it for the sake of a “fair and balanced” review is an exercise in futility. Finntroll has continued to age like a fine wine since Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns’s arrival and Jan “Katla” Jämsen’s return. It is entirely too early for me to want more, but I do. Sadly though, you can’t rush greatness, and if the next album is even half as good as Blodsvept, it’ll be worth the wait. (10 / 10)
The album art and track list for Finntroll’s newest album, Blodsvept, is finally here! Blodsvept‘s cover art, as usual, was drawn and painted by Finntroll guitarist Samuli “Skrymer” Ponsimaa and is extraordinarily and appropriately creepy.
Blodsvept, Finntroll’s sixth album, was recorded in during late 2011 and will be released on March 25 in Europe and March 26 in North America. The track listing is as follows:
2. Ett Folk Förbannat
3. När Jättar Marschera
5. Rösets Kung
6. Skövlarens Död
9. Två Ormar
HearEvil’s one-year anniversary is on December 21, 2012, the day the world is totally not going to end. Of course, the apocalypse is metal as hell, so I still wanted to write about it, but I didn’t want to mar our anniversary celebrations with all that “end of days” talk.
Sinning feels so fine, you’re running out of time
It’s always one hell of a party, when Ragnarok rolls around
Ragnarok n’ roll, Ragnarok n’ roll
It’s time to trash the planet, Ragnarok battleground
GWAR are always good for a good time, to the point that they make the end of the world sound like a weenie roast. Ragnarok n’ roll indeed!
As the sun fades from the sky
This ancient earth prepares to die
Here at the end of all time
A slow demise so saturnine
What I love most about “Dying Earth” is how mellow and laid-back the apocalypse sounds. I guess it’s perfectly appropriate for a song about impending doom to be doomy though. Either way, I love it. It’ll chill me right out when the shit hits the fan.
On through the dead of night
With the four horsemen ride
Or choose your fate and die!
Classic Metallica can not be beat, except by classic Megadeth. I’ve always liked Megadeth’s “Mechanix” much better, but “Mechanix” isn’t about the apocalypse, so…
And then there were none
The world starts to burn
The world powers learn
That Satan’s work is done
The subject of fiery satanic death seems a little black metal these days, but way back in the days, thrashers used to write songs about Satan too. “And Then There Were None” is a relic of a strange time, an oldie but goodie.
The Northern wind brings snow and ice
Humans starve and freeze
The Fimbulwinter has arrived
And soon the world will cease to be
It’s epic, it’s Viking, it’s Amon Amarth! Honestly, I had trouble picking just ONE song about the apocalypse out of these guys’ catalog. I picked this one because it’s mid-December and I’m sweating my ass off in a long-sleeved shirt. Save me, Fimbulwinter!
Nature shows her powers
Her revenge will be cruel
Now it’s time to pacify our deeds against her
And hope we still have some time, but…
“Gods On Fire” is incredibly cheesy and maudlin, but it’s probably the most realistic one on the list. No biblical references or Fimbulwinters here, just harsh truth — the environment sucks because we polluted it, and now Mother Nature’s pissed and we’re all gonna die. This one might as well have been written by scientists. Brutal.
On the light of the last dying star
Serpents crawl closer
All five branches, cursed from the start
And roots are torn to pieces right before my dying breath
Another Finnish band makes the list — is anyone surprised? You all know I’m a sucker for folk metal, and that this is one of my favorites from Unsung Heroes. “Burning Leaves” sounds so cheery, you’d never even know it was about the end of time.
Molten fire flies through the sky
Burning high, eclipse of the sun
Blackened skies, rites of the night
The days in darkness in 2012
Here we go, getting specific… “Three Days In Darkness” is about the (absolutely 100% fake) Mayan “prophecy” (the prophecy is fake, Mayans both past and present never believed in it) that the world will end (it definitely will not) in 2012. The three days of darkness are supposed to (but definitely will not!) begin tomorrow, so hold on to your asses and more importantly, blast this song because it rules!
Denna natt allt ta slut (Tonight everything ends)
Denna natt vi alla fria stå (Tonight we all stand free)
Så splittras bergen, så brytas himmelen (So shatter the mountains, so crumple the heavens)
Allt som bliva kvar äro eld, stoft, oct rök (All that’s left shall be flame, ash, and smoke)
Of all the songs on this apocalypse playlist, “Den Sista Runans Dans” sounds the dreariest. I love it. Each word is dripping with death, and the marching beat makes me feel like I’m steadily progressing toward my doom. The dour mood is understandable, considering the fact that “Den Sista Runans Dans” is on Visor Om Slutet, which was partly inspired by and dedicated to fallen guitarist Teemu “Somnium” Raimoranta.
An old oak shakes and its wisdom too
Waves are eager to feed
Gods fall as men, so do men
The children of Loke the same
“Inferno” perfectly embodies the hectic scrambling mess that I imagine any real apocalypse would be. That’s not to say that the song itself isn’t tight and cohesive, it’s just…slightly off. Rhythmic changes and strange chord progressions add to the semi-frightful tone of the song, aaaaand I’m running out of adjectives. Just give it a listen, and try not to die.
After almost a month of tireless work in the studio and a few technical hiccups, folk metal legends Finntroll have finally completed work on their newest (and still untitled) album. Their newest Facebook status update reflects their collective relief:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Finntroll album! Now we’re gonna crack open a couple of beers, listen to the damn thing and relax. 14h days has finally paid off!”
Aaaaand for the hell of it, here’s the official video for “Solsagan,” better known as fanservice.flv. Enjoy!
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?
Get ready, folk metal fiends! Finntroll have announced plans to return to the studio sometime in November to record the follow-up to the fan favorite Nifelvind, according to the band’s official website. This album, which for obvious reasons doesn’t have a name yet, will be Finntroll’s sixth full-length and the third featuring lead singer Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns. The band will record at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, Finland. “So far we have pretty much half of the material ready for the upcoming album,” said lead guitarist Mikael “Routa” Karlbom in an official statement. “We are very excited about new material and we believe fans will be too when they get their hands on this new stuff.”
At the moment, there’s not too much additional information on the album, but it’s still pretty early on. If you’re anything like me, you’re dying to know more but for now you’ll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned!
Back when I was but a wee folk metal fan, I always wondered why the bands rarely wrote lyrics in their own language. I and my nerd friends loved non-English lyrics, but at some point the North American market was explained to me and I quietly accepted the ubiquity of plain old boring English lyrics. Still, I had a soft spot in my heart for bands like Finntroll and Arkona, whose vocalists sang in their native language. It added another layer of exoticness to their sound.
Not only do SatanaKozel, a folk metal band from Karelia (birthplace of my favorite pie), write all their lyrics in Russian — damned near all the information you can find about them is in Russian too! Their name is Russian for “SatanGoat” and they belong to an independent Russian label called SoundAge. SatanaKozel was founded in 2003 by drummer Nickolay Kuskov and guitar/vocalist Vasiliy Kozlov. The next year, the band recorded their first demo with the help of a few temporary musicians. In 2011, seven years and two full-length albums later, the current lineup formed.
If you like bands like Trollfest and Diablo Swing Orchestra, you’ll have a blast listening to SatanaKozel. I hate to compare them to Korpiklaani because I feel like I compare every folk metal band to Korpiklaani, so I will say that SatanaKozel’s music would make the perfect soundtrack to a mead-soaked rager. Listen to “Podopri Gore” — you won’t be able to keep yourself from dancing!
Official MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/satanakozel
I know what you’re all thinking — what new and exciting New York City thrash and/or death metal band is She-Wolf going to write about today? Well, my loyal readers, I’m not as predictable as you may think!
Today I’m here to talk to you all about Nordheim, a delightful folk metal band from — of all places — Canada. Scandinavia holds a near-monopoly on good folk metal, so a lot of people (myself included) have a tendency to sleep on talented bands from outside northern Europe. That said, cold weather environments really do seem to produce the best metal, no matter what side of the Atlantic you’re on.
Nordheim got their start in Partout, Québec in 2006, and released an untitled three-song demo in 2009. The band’s influences are many (think basically every band that’s ever been on a Paganfest roster), but their sound still manages to be unique, despite the saturation of the folk metal market. Their debut full-length album, titled Lost In The North, was released in late 2010 and received mixed but mostly positive reviews.
If you like Korpiklaani and Finntroll, especially albums from the first halves of their respective careers, you’ll love Nordheim. They are lots of fun, even if they don’t go the traditional folk metal route and shoehorn in a whole bunch of weird instruments.
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nordheim/230922264635?sk=info
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/nordheimband