Furor Gallico - Songs of the Earth 01When I hear someone mention a band with nearly as many active members in its ranks as the starting lineup of a baseball team, I immediately think of that one band from Des Moines (which is, honestly, the worst kind of buzzkill). There is always the risk of biting off more than you can chew when trying to incorporate so many musicians/instruments into an album, not to mention trying to balance everything on the stage. To be successful, song structures and performances need to be top notch, and memorability is key in keeping all the layers of instrumentation from becoming stale.

Italian-based Furor Gallico have three good things going for them: 1) they didn’t name themselves after a knot that 12 year old boys tie to impress/horrify their mothers following the annual Boy Scout Jamboree, 2) they can play the shit out of instruments like the Celtic harp, tin whistle, low whistle, piano, and bouzouki, and 3) these dudes have a knack for writing and playing this folk-laden style of metal. Taking their name from the term coined by the Romans to describe the blood-thirsty nature of the Celtic warriors, this octet cracks open the cocoon cast by their Furor Gallico debut and opens their wings to explore a greater range of folk and power in their sophomore release, Songs from the Earth.

Furor Gallico did a great job of mixing a structure of Eluveitie and Ensiferum with the upbeat-feel of Korpiklaani and the subtleties of Blind Guardian folkery. While Furor Gallico was a great release, Songs from the Earth produces even more substance and uniqueness as it delves deeper into its Celtic influence. “The Song of the Earth” is a concise representation of the album’s heaviness and Eluveitie-an character as it tin-whistles its way into a heavy, melodic riff fronted by death growls reminiscent of Amon Amarth. “Nemàin’s Breath” ups the ante with a massive drum intro and a catchy, Celtic “groove” that precedes heavy riffs, beautiful violin passages, and an outro of fast-paced, Korpiklanni-inspired majesty. “Wild Jig of Beltraine” has a similar midsection of acoustic guitars, violins, and whistles; however, it also incorporates some memorable gang chants and clean vocals that give additional sweetness to the mid-paced guitars and drums. While not overly unique next to material from acts like Ensiferum, Eluveitie, and the folkier numbers of Nightwish, this is some pretty good shit.

Furor Gallico - Songs of the Earth 02

“Squass” and “Diluvio” are the standout tracks on Songs from the Earth. Not because they’re the best tracks on the album, but definitely unique ones. Like many of the other ditties on Songs from the Earth, “Squass” alternates between speedy folk gallops and slow interludes, but it stands out like a sore thumb as it dabbles in some jazzy bass licks before joining the ranks of Korpiklaani’s “Happy Little Boozer.” Conversely, “Diluvio” is a quasi-ballad that’s completely dependent on the arsenal of instruments in the band to provide its strong chorus and more Celt-isms than you could shake a sword at. Personally, “Steam Over the Mountain” rubs me in all the right ways. Nothing is better than a groove-filled riff tinged with thrash and a folking (yep, I did it again) chorus that brings to mind something Samael would have written for their Reign of Light album.

Not the best or worst production in the world, Songs from the Earth is what you would expect from a folk group like Furor Gallico. Musically, it’s also something you would expect from a band in this segment. But they do it well and play their hearts out. If you’re into this sort of thing, I highly recommend this nearly 50-minute trip into Celtic-inspired Italian folk metal. If Songs from the Earth is any indication of what Furor Gallico are capable of, I’m excited to see where they go from here.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Label: Scarlet Records
Websites: FurorGallicoOfficial | Facebook.com/FurorGallico
Release Dates: EU: 2015.03.02 | NA: 03.03.2015

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  • Feytalist

    The basic idea I get is “nothing terribly unique but nonetheless pretty good”. Which is basically all one can ask for in folk metal.

    Listening to some samples, their folk bits are pretty well done, they’ve got some decently heavy riffing and the lead vocals aren’t ear-bleedingly bad. Which is a win in my book.

    Actually, the vocals remind me quite a lot of Haggard (another band whose members can’t all fit in a single elevator). Come to think of it, this band is basically Italian folky Haggard. Which is awesome.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Nice! Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check out Haggard.

      • Wilhelm

        They have mostly exceptional material and a new one coming out this year.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Very cool. Maybe I will be able to get that album…

          I think there is much more going on in Haggard than Furor Gallico but I definitely see the similarity. Thanks!

      • Eppur si muove was a personal obsession of mine a few years ago. And awaking the gods is a great live performance.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I’m so fucking mad at myself for not knowing about this band!

      • Martin Knap

        Du you guys know Cales? It’s folk metal but with a proggy and doomy edge.

      • Martin Knap

        Do you guys know Cales? it’s a folk metal band but with a proggy & doom edge.

        • I do not know them, I see they have six full-lengths out, which one would you recommend?

          • Martin Knap

            I think The Pass in Time is very good and Savage Blood as well – these are the more proggy ones. The new albums are heavier.

          • Thanks, I will check them out!

          • Martin Knap

            you can get the feeling of Cales’ music when you listen to the Volk Tektosag, which is a pretty foot stompig song, and when you listen to Moravian Highland, which is a really dreamy one.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Yeah. They have some decent stuff.

          • Martin Knap

            I recently listened to almost everything Blackie from Cales put out, starting from a “proto-blackmetal” band Crux, then Root, blackmetal band Entrails (not the Swedish band; check out the track Serpent Seed on Youtube, that’s some kick ass stuff) and Cales + his new blackmetal stuff he put out under the name Blackosh. I really like his – if it merits to be called in this elevated manner – musical vision.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Nice! I guess I won’t be getting an work done today with all this stuff I need to listen to…

          • Martin Knap

            Haha. You need to check out Root’s album The Book (for some old school thrashy dark music check out Hell’s Symphony), I think Blackie really had a hand in it musically.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Yeah, I’m liking it so far! Thanks man!

          • Martin Knap

            That’s great, I think they are shamefully underrated – or maybe not underrated – everybody likes them – but under-recognized. Maybe they are not super consistent in what the’ve put out; but The Book and Hell Symphony are a safe bet.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Under-recognized indeed. I’m definitely digging The Book.

    • Wilhelm

      From the first paragraph of this review, I immediately thought of Haggard, and listening to them It reminded me of a more folk metal Haggard.

      • That’s is so totally ironic! Just YESTERDAY I was listening to Haggard’s ‘Awaking the Centuries’ and that made me wonder what ever happened to those guys, so I was on Wikipedia reading about them. In case anyone is interested, their last album was from 2008, but they’ve been inactive since.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Checking out “Awaking the Centuries” live, it’s awesome! Metal Archives lists them as “active,” so there’s hope yet…but all of this down time will be good for combing their discography.

          • Wilhelm

            Is that the Live In Mexico version? If so that is a fake live album, as it had studio overdubs and stuff thrown in…Haggard even apologized to the fans for this.

          • Is that so? I had no idea about this,

            Still, Awaking the Centuries was the album they got out before the Live in Mexico one that was Awaking the Gods.

            For the record, I’ve seen them play once in support of Tales of Ithiria and it was a really nice performance even when it wasn’t the full band. From what I’ve heard when they perform with the full orchestra it’s been very impressive too.

          • Wilhelm
          • Thanks, I guessed that it could have been something like that. The place where they recorded that is not really that big and not usually a music venue. And the language barrier didn’t help, I’m sure.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Really? Gotta respect them for the apology though. And the one I saw was at Wacken in 2007, I think.

        • OzanCan

          I have just checked the Wikipedia entry, it is said that the next album is going to be about Grimm Brothers… 7-8 years too damn long but I guess worth the wait m/
          I hope they are recording or processing to record it now?? I dunno…

          • Wilhelm

            Let’s hope

        • From what I remember, the only original remaining member is Nasseri, in these years there has been a revolving door of other musicians and soprano singers. But they have been constantly touring so in that sense the band remains active, and I guess it will stay that way as long as Nasseri keeps the name.

  • Jukka Alanen

    Pretty good so far (currently half way through the album). Not sure if there’s something wrong with the drums, they are getting on my ears (and nerves). I’m currently listening with my plugs in the office so that may have something to do with the problem. Maybe I’ll have to try this at home. :)

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, nothing spectacular about the production here so I feel ya on the ear hurting thing. But it could be worse.

  • Roquentin

    Their music makes me feel giddy. Loving it so far. “Squass” is awesome!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, it’s a fun one :)

  • Doomdeathrosh

    I saw you mention Eluveitie, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, Amon Amarth, Nightwish and “Happy Little Boozer”…..and then I went Hey! Nice Pick!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Not a bad bunch of names to toss around. And I fucking love “Happy Little Boozer.”

      • Doomdeathrosh

        which is what excited me in the first place.

      • OzanCan

        Once, my fiance and I were drunk and sang “Happy Little Boozer” so out loud xD
        We were terrible but that was a funny night :[]

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I won’t even have alcohol in the house but somehow I immediately get drunk when that song is played.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    So am I the only person who finds the concept of Italian celtic folk metal kind of odd?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Nope. You’re not. It is odd.

  • I’ve had a chance to hear this from start to finish and I can honestly say, Im not impressed. As others have said “nothing terribly unique”, but I wouldnt even go as far as to say “pretty good”. The best I could say is “inoffensive”.

    Although not exactly the same style of music, but Ive been really enjoying the new Ensiferum. Its got that folky/Renaissance fair feel to it, but its way more cohesive and addicting. I think if this gets reviewed here, its a solid 4/5. Very good album!

    • Kryopsis

      I definitely agree with you on this, this is just Eluveitie approach to Folk Metal all over again. Forcing a hurdy-gurdy into a track is not a valid substitute for actual song composition. No offense meant to Dr. A. N. Grier, this is probably the first time I ever disagreed with his picks.

      • Sounds like you and I have similar tastes in music. Check out the new Ensiferum. Id like to hear your thoughts! :)