Just when I thought 2011 was a banner year for metal, I think 2012 might be equal to or better in terms of both quality music and sheer volume of albums released. It surely was not a dull moment if you ask me; it seemed like I was listening to at least a couple new albums each week. Interestingly, I can probably look at half my list and tell you that some of these albums, I had no idea were coming. They completely snuck on me or I never expected them like Kreator…a band I nearly forgot about came out with a killer album. The band at #15 I never knew existed until just a few weeks ago and I am still impressed with them. There are definitely some surprises on my list this year. Some of these bands have been around for years and I am only now getting into them. I hope you had a great 2012 in metal! Here are my Top 15 albums of 2012.
Tags: A Band of Orcs, A Eulogy for the Damned, Adding Heads to the Pile, Baroness, Biker, Clockwork Angels, Dark Roots of Earth, Eluveitie, Ensiferum, Equilibrium, God Forbid, Helvetios, House of Gold and Bones Part I, jeff loomis, Kill Devil Hill, Kreator, metal, Orange Goblin, Overkill, Paradise Lost, Phantom Antichrist, Plains of Oblivion, Rock, Rush, Six Feet Under, sludge, Stone Sour, Testament, The Electric Age, Thrash, Top 15 of 2012, Tragic Idol, Undead, Unsung Heroes, Yellow and Green
This is the part of my Top 100 favorite albums list that seems to be fluid. I have moved these bands around several times trying to make sense of how they can be lumped so closely together despite the generation gap. I guess I love these albums for different reasons. Perhaps they mean something different to me from two dissimilar time periods even if I don’t really listen to some of these older albums much today. Either way, they made an impression on me either at 38 or 13. Strangely, it was harder to place these albums in the 60, 50, and 40 range than it was to select my top 20 albums of all time. This all-time list is an ongoing effort started by our friends at The History of Metal page on facebook. Each day we list another album until we get to the end. Below is my next list of five as we near our way to the mid-point and follow-up to #1 several weeks down the road.
Looks like George Lynch and Co. (Dokken) took the poll last week with %100 of the votes. Good choice guys!
Ahhh, folk metal. An idea that looks insane on paper. Mix folk instruments and melodies with intense and brash metal music, umm, yeah, sure. But when put into practice folk metal is one of the most unorthodox and fun sub-genres of metal. The melodies meld great with the crushing guitars, the diverse set of instruments add a new level of dynamic, and the often common themes of history, battles, and Lord of the Rings kinda stuff fits in perfectly with many of metal’s lyrical themes.
Here are 4 very diverse folk metal bands to go head to head for the Metal State of Mind Folk Metal Battle Trophy™. Give a listen to the songs, which I picked as my favorite from each band, but other songs you may know of can also hold sway (ie. vote for the band, not the song ;) ), and then cast your vote. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
These Finnish booze hounds are the most cheerful of all the different folk metal bands out there. That happy energy really shows in their songs as they sing about drinking booze, being a farmer, and winning battles. Their music is almost always as playful as it is heavy and if it doesn’t put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step, well, you just need to lighten up a bit.
I also find it amazing that as much as the band seems to be always liquored up they are able to maintain a nearly annual album release schedule where each record is consistently a solid listen.
While the band themselves don’t acknowledge the folk metal label preferring to call themselves ‘heathen metal’, their music is still laden with a diverse set of folk melodies, themes, and sounds and instruments. Their music has some in common with later era Bathory where he went and pretty much created Viking metal, but they take that concept and run a million more miles with it creating some of the best music that the whole realm of metal has to offer. Moonsorrow is also one of the few metal bands that can write multiple songs that surpass the 30 minute mark and keep me completely engaged from start to finish.
Probably the most popular of all the folk metal bands, Eluveitie take the Gothenburg sound and add a diverse line-up of folk instruments to it, including the goofy sounding and looking hurdy gurdy. One thing the band does that I find quite unique and interesting is they often use the Gaulish language (a dead Celtic language) in their song which ties right in with their themes which revolve around the Gauls and the Gaulish War. I also appreciate the fact that they keep their music diverse and not focus on the heavy 24/7 by adding beautiful and mellow sections and interludes to their albums. They even released an ‘acoustic’ album that is well worth checking out.
If a bunch of trolls were to start up a metal band they’d sound like Finntroll. While very aggressive and brutal the music is also delightfully playful and mischievous, just like trolls. From album to album Finntroll just keeps getting better and better with their latest, Nifelvind, being one the best folk metal albums ever released. It’s also worth noting that founding member and keyboardist Henri Sorvali is also the founding member and guitarist of Moonsorrow. He’s some kind of folk metal genius.
We are at the time of year to reflect upon at what albums really made an impression on me – it’s time for the mid-year best of list. We are half way through a pretty amazing year as far as metal is concerned. Quite a few veteran bands out there released some stellar music…with one New Jersey band topping my list so far. One thing I love about blogging with fellow metalheads is that we all love metal equally, but definitely have a fondness for different subgenres. Both Matt’s and Mark’s lists are great and unique and give me something to listen to…some of that stuff I haven’t heard yet. I hope I can offer the same in return. Here is my Top 5 list for mid-year 2012.
For some reason, I seem to highly enjoy songs not sung in a language I speak. I think it may be the fact that I let the music put its own meaning behind the words that are being sung and I allow myself to make my own interpretation of the song without the writers words, only his/her emotions, hinting me in the direction of their intended meaning. Such is the case with such bands as Moonsorrow (who sing in Finnish) which make images of ancient battles being fought on the icy plains and frozen mountains of Scandinavia dance in my mind, or Finntroll‘s singing in the Swedish language, which will always be a silly sounding language to me thanks to the Swedish Chef, which brings thoughts of drunken trolls marauding through the countryside leaving mischievous destruction in their wake, or even Korpiklaani‘s upbeat use of the Finnish language(ya, I like Scandinavian bands) which make me think of a bunch of medieval farmers and woodworkers hanging out at the pub and enjoying a few pints of beer or mead and singing and dancing. Other than maybe a couple of liner notes in the CD booklet, I’m pretty much in the dark on the themes and meanings of the lyrics of said bands, and I am quite happy letting my imagination override the areas I am ignorant in. Now, onto Eluveitie‘s Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion.
Eluveitie is a special band to me. They were my entry point into the realm of Folk Metal and I couldn’t be more grateful for them opening up a huge musical realm for me to discover. The first album I heard by them, Slania, is a Folk Metal masterpiece and its follow-up, Everything Remains (As It Never Was) was no sloucher either. Needless to say that upon hearing that their new album was to be released my anticipation and expectations went sky-high. Like many albums I over-hype, often times, in the end I am let down. So, you may be wondering if Helvetios lived up to the hype I built up for it in my head. Let’s say I wasn’t let down in the slightest.
Check out the new video from Celtic metal powerhouse Eluveitie (pronounced el-vay-TI, if you were curious) for the song “A Rose For Epona” which is off their upcoming album Helvetios (releases Feb. 10 in Europe, Feb. 28 Worldwide).
I think I’ve stated more than enough how excited I am for this album and this excellent video just raised the level. Anna Murphy has really stepped up in her vocal skills and it’s great to see the band using them to their full potential. While this song is more straightforward and more ‘accessible’ than the bulk of their material, I still find it to be an excellent song that I can not stop listening to, it’s filled to the brim with power and heart. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Folk metal superstars Eluveitie have released two full songs for a nice taste of what’s to come from their upcoming new album Helvetios. The forthcoming album is set to be released Feb. 10, 2012 in Europe and Feb. 28, 2012 in the USA. Eluveitie will be touring in the States in Jan. and Feb. with Children of Bodom and they will be touring Europe headlining the Paganfest in March and April(balls, no Milan dates :( Probably in the future though) with other bands such as Primordial, Heidevolk, and Sólstafir(who, funny enough was just recommended to me and I’m listening to as I write this post, awesome band!!), on select dates Korpiklaani and Equilibrium will be making appearances on the tour. You can check out the tour dates here.
Check out the new music after the jump!! Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!
Folk metal giants Eluveitie have just wrapped up all production on their forthcoming record Helvetios. On their blog they stated:
We can finally say “it’s done”! The final mastering has been finished during the last week, and yesterday already a first prelistening-session for invited press representatives has taken place at Nuclear Blast’s offices in Donzdorf, Germany. We believe it’s our best work yet, and it seems we’re not the only ones!
Along with finishing the album Eluveitie have also finished recording two music videos to support the album. They used the same director they worked with when recording the video for “Thousandfold”, Grupa13(who has also worked with Polish band Behemoth on their latest, wonderfully made videos).
Expect to see both the new album and videos sometime in early 2012.
Holy folk, how did I let this bit of news pass me by, well better late than never. Swiss folk metal masters Eluveitie are currently in Newsound Studios in Switzerland in the process of recording the follow-up to last years excellent Everything Remains(As it Never Was). The album is going to be called Helvetios, which I guess is a reference in someway to “Helvetia”, which is the Gualish word for the region that Eluveitie are from. The album is expected to be released in early 2012 and cannot come soon enough, definitely one of my highest anticipated releases of next year.
To tide the fans over Eluveitie has released an ongoing series of behind-the-scenes and interview videos called Elu T.V. You can watch them here. The episodes so far are well made and pretty interesting, check em out.
Here’s a video of Eluveitie teaching the Gualish language to their American audience, enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!