Equilibrium

Finntroll – Vredesvävd Review

Finntroll – Vredesvävd Review

Finntroll‘s role in the development of modern folk metal cannot be understated. Re-visiting classics like Jakens tid and Nattfödd often leads me to wonder how these guys managed to rip off my favorite folk albums before they were written. The unabashed and upfront nature of their folk qualities changed the game. That said, it’s amazing that Finntroll are still relevant. 21 years into the game, the newer blood in the genre reasonably should have surpassed them by now.” Troll down memory lane.

Ensiferum – Thalassic Review

Ensiferum – Thalassic Review

“Try as they might though, Ensiferum‘s glory days seemingly sailed on without them after From Afar. 2017’s Two Paths aptly laid out the options before the band: death or glory. Without righting the ship fast, the hallowed melofolk act would scuttle all hope of escaping brand and exile. So they did the one thing guaranteed to sell nowadays: write some pirate metal.” Used YARR dealership.

Ancient Bards – Origine – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review

Ancient Bards – Origine – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review

“When it comes to my favorite metal guilty pleasures of the past decade, Ancient Bards’ first two records have locked down a pretty sweet slot. Arriving at a time when even the first wave of Rhapsody imitators were beginning to lose relevance, the Bards fully embraced the irony of their “Ancient” moniker, injecting a well-worn formula with Power Quest-levels of sugar-coated melodies and the invigorating folk overtures of Equilibrium to formulate something that was fully cheesy, yet fully fresh.” Bards, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

Battlesoul – Sunward and Starward Review

Battlesoul – Sunward and Starward Review

“When I was first exploring metal’s myriad subgenres, I figured out what I like to hear in folk metal in record time. My favorites the style has to offer are those of the fast, infectiously catchy variety; acts like the early incarnations of Ensiferum and Equilibrium make up my personal top tier, plodding mid-paced and accordion-based stuff fills out the bottom tier, and any band in the mid-tier is merely forgettable. Battlesoul falls into this mid-tier, but it’s certainly not due to mediocre songwriting chops.” Tiers of the dragon.

Serenity in Murder – The Eclipse [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Serenity in Murder – The Eclipse [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

“There’s a special little subcategory of my year-end list this year that I’m tentatively dubbing “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Finnish!” With much of that country’s melodeath old guard either disbanded, commercialized, or in an ongoing slump, it makes sense that other countries are picking up the slack. And one of the finest examples of the faux-Finn sound you’ll hear this year comes straight from Japan.” Japan to the rescue.

Obscurity – Streitmacht Review

Obscurity – Streitmacht Review

“What’s in a name? For Obscurity, an awful lot. Two decades of hammering away in their Viking forges have produced an armory’s worth of albums, but none particularly sharp. Their Amon Amarth-worship has suffered steep decline since 2010’s Tenkterra, but eighth entry Streitmacht is girding itself for a long raid up the coast.” Gone coasting.

Black Messiah – Walls of Vanaheim Review

Black Messiah – Walls of Vanaheim Review

“Holy shit, Black Messiah. This is one of those little bands that I found in the mid-00’s while first delving into the metal underground that, though kinda cool in their unorthodox approach, I inevitably forgot about in the wash of better bands. Yet I instantly remembered these Germans once I saw their seventh album Walls of Vanaheim  in the promo bay, their blend of epic folk metal, pagan black metal and power metal rushing back in a wave of nostalgia and phantom headaches triggered by memories of awful production. I snagged it without hesitation for old times’ sake, and sure enough, this was the same Black Messiah I had listened to casually in my teenage years, warts and all.” Viking roars and pagan warts.

Equilibrium – Armageddon Review

Equilibrium – Armageddon Review

It’s hard not to be in the mood for some folk metal when I wake up every morning surrounded by towering pine trees and solar-eclipsed mountains. The birds chirping incessantly, the sun patiently ascending the treetops, and the gentle breeze carrying the sweet smell of dew-tickled pine needles. These are the surroundings that make folk metal. And what better way to take in this lush atmosphere than with a new Equilibrium release? Sure, there are bands better suited for my morning cup of coffee, but these Ensiferum and Finntroll worshipers have been delivering quality folk metal for close to fifteen years. 2016 finds them in a dark mood—a mood altogether surprising to a band known for being folking fun. So what happens when the band unleashes Armageddon on its fans? Is it too late to shut this off before the trees catch fire?

Suidakra – Realms of Odoric Review

Suidakra – Realms of Odoric Review

“As pointed out by our highly esteemed El Cuervo, Suidakra is perhaps one of the most productive bands on the planet. Including this year’s Realms of Odoric, the band has dished out twelve albums in nearly twenty years (including an early-career period where the band was releasing an album a year).” With so much productivity, are these guys the anti-Necrophagist?