Monday Metal Madness: Folk Yeah!
Posted by RiffRaff
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.