Folk

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai is a “single-entity” project shrouded in mystery. Its secretive mastermind Trevenial offers twelve tracks influenced by folk music across the globe, equally evocative and primitive. With ties to England (mastered by Orgone Studios’ owner Jaime Gomez Arellano) and Finland (produced by Jaani Peuhu), and featuring a classical orchestra and world music artists, as well as a vast array of guests, from notable acts like HIM, Sisters of Mercy, Swallow the Sun, and The Rasmus, Sunir is a debut loaded with potential and questions in equal measure.” It takes a global village.

Serpentent – Mother of Light Review

Serpentent – Mother of Light Review

“If all you want is raw riffs, skull-crushing rhythms, or dissonant aggression, you’ve come to the wrong place. Serpentent’s debut full-length Mother of Light flirts casually with distorted guitars and heavier percussion, but there’s no metal to be found here. The brainchild of Seattle multi-instrumentalist Anne K. O’Neill, Serpentent plays minimalist dark folk music built around O’Neill’s emotive vocals and acoustic guitars. Spring 2022 has set a high bar for folky non-metal around these parts, with Urferd releasing an intricate slab of Nordic folk and Darkher continuing to set the standard for introspective doom. Mother of Light doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights, but it’s a pleasant surprise in a crowded genre.” Snake charming.

Theigns & Thralls – Theigns & Thralls Review

Theigns & Thralls – Theigns & Thralls Review

Theigns & Thralls—incidentally, very much how AMG Industries’ editors regard their relationship with the rest of the writing staff—is the brainchild of Skyclad vocalist Kevin Ridley. Formed originally as an outlet for some of Ridley’s back catalog and other material, it quickly mutated into something much more as the pandemic put an end to Skyclad‘s touring plans. Seemingly formed of five principal members, Theigns & Thralls‘ eponymous debut features contributions from some twenty-five musicians.” Many fingers, small pie.

Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled Review

Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled Review

“When Mystras‘ first outing, Castles Conquered and Reclaimed, dropped last year I expressed some surprise that Ayloss had the capacity to write and release another record, alongside the epic Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum split, never mind something of the scope of Mystras. Castles paired raw, harsh black metal with traditional medieval folk to offer a scathing and emotive assessment of the poverty, oppression and injustice suffered by medieval European peasants and the sacrifices made to fight back. Scroll forward a year and Mystras is back with their sophomore effort.” Unfathomable productivity.

Musk Ox – Inheritance Review

Musk Ox – Inheritance Review

Musk Ox are three guys with acoustic string instruments playing folk music: not exactly a new idea. But their pedigree as composers and musicians is impeccable. Musk Ox‘s previous album, 2014’s Woodfall, was great. Cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne’s solo record Worlds Within was one of my favorites last year, while guitarist Nathanael Larochette and violinist Evan Runge play in The Night Watch and released the excellent An Embarrassment of Riches the year before. Fortunately, Inheritance fully lives up to all this promise.” Dichotomy and musk.

Neptunian Maximalism – Éons [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Neptunian Maximalism – Éons [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“Consisting of core members Guillaume Cazalet, Jean Jacques Duerinckx, Sebastien Schmidt, and Pierre Arese, alongside a massive entourage of musicians, Neptunian Maximalism (or NNMM) utilize a range of influences, genres, and instruments both traditional and contemporary, to create their second full-length and crowning achievement Éons. While it’s unclear if it is indeed metal, that matters little. It’s an immensely sprawling release, a two-hour-plus release over three discs, and its content is just as challenging.” MOAR to score.

The Devil’s Trade – The Call of the Iron Peak

The Devil’s Trade – The Call of the Iron Peak

“This album couldn’t have come at a better time, nor could it have come at a worse time. As dark and defeated as any piece of music I sampled these two years writing for this blog, The Devil’s Trade‘s Season of Mist debut The Call of the Iron Peak simultaneously captures the disillusioned despair and troubled spirit of our world and drags me down below that threshold towards a core of utter emptiness sourced from the very soul of sole songwriter Dávid Makó.” Iron sharpens despair.

Mystras – Castles Conquered and Reclaimed Review

Mystras – Castles Conquered and Reclaimed Review

Castles Conquered and Reclaimed is the first release from Mystras, another outing from Ayloss of Spectral Lore fame. Following the epic Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum split, which only dropped in March, I for one did not expect to see anything else from Ayloss in 2020, and certainly nothing of the scope and scale of this latest project.” Siege the day.

Bell Witch/Aerial Ruin – Stygian Bough Volume I Review

Bell Witch/Aerial Ruin – Stygian Bough Volume I Review

“Dylan Desmond and Jesse Shreibman’s decision to make official their partnership with Erik Moggridge, the man in Aerial Ruin‘s one-man dark folk band, made sense. Moggridge’s guest vocals on Mirror Reaper conveyed grief and loss on a frequency that Bell Witch couldn’t have reached alone. Stygian Bough Volume I pries those mournful dimensions wide in a symbiotic give-and-take quite unlike anything either act has produced before.” Witch in flight.