Neofolk

Kati Rán – Sála Review

Kati Rán – Sála Review

“Neofolk is a special style of art. It encompasses the achingly simple to portray stunning complexity. Everything is done with earnest emotion, and often the onus is on the artist not to simply entertain, but to transport the listener, through time, through places, and through very states of being. When I first learned of Kati Rán and her debut full-length release Sála, I was heartened by a single line in its promo copy: “Recorded in a barn in Húsafell, Iceland”—and I didn’t read further.” Barn razing.

Suldusk – Anthesis Review

Suldusk – Anthesis Review

“Way back in early 2020, Suldusk played the last show I attended before fun was canceled. I was introduced by the non-suspiciously departed Emya‘s excellent TYMHM piece on one-woman debut Lunar Falls. This sort of black metal-inflected atmospheric folk is incredibly My Thing, as you can tell from where Helga landed on my list last year. So Suldusk were a pretty important fixture for me, particularly in the tough early pandemic months. The whole thing has that slight air of unreality you get with memories from around then. Now they’re back—finally—with a full band and signed to Napalm, so the stakes are high for Anthesis.” Dusk throne.

Thragedium – Lisboa Depois De Morta Review

Thragedium – Lisboa Depois De Morta Review

“Neofolk and heavy metal differ in many ways, but their unparalleled emotional intensity and outsiderness link the ethos of the two genres inextricably. The advent of Wardruna heralded a cultural explosion of Nordic neofolk, and the thrums of Heilung, Forndom, and Gealdýr have long resonated with metalheads worldwide. Viking-age music is understandably popular in the metal community, but neofolk is larger than the Vikings. Portugal’s Thragedium lives within the uncanny trench of neofolk and metal and plays neofolk that couldn’t be further from the usual Viking vibrations popular with metalheads.” Fvnerary fvlk.

1476 – In Exile Review

1476 – In Exile Review

“Well, 1476’s In Exile is certainly more than I bargained for. Having dropped my previous promo for this week because I had suspicions about the political leanings of its members (that it was bollocks made this a happy development), I picked up 1476 on a whim. And it’s a lot. Of many things. A lot of music, clocking in at over an hour. A lot of styles and influences—the accompanying blurb describes In Exile as “wonderfully all over the place”; the latter part of that statement isn’t wrong but the adverb, we’ll see.” Leatherface and open space.

Ofdrykkja – After the Storm Review

Ofdrykkja – After the Storm Review

“Since its inception in 2012, Ofdrykkja seems to have been labeled as atmoblack. That was just about accurate for 2014 debut, A Life Worth Losing, although even then there were indications that these Swedes had designs on something grander. That proved to be the case, as the band’s sound has continued to grow and evolve through Irrfärd (2017) and Gryningsvisor (2019), with black metal largely abandoned on the latter, save for some occasional, harsher vocals (see “Wither” and “As the Northern Wind Cries”), in favor of exploratory post-rock and Scandinavian neo-folk.” I, voiddrifter.

Ols – Pustkowia Review

Ols – Pustkowia Review

It’s been too long since I’ve happened upon some neofolk. Grabbing those folk albums that aren’t all that cheery and reviewing them is one of the best parts of writing here, and some of my favorite discoveries have been neofolk—including all of my albums of the year to date, for that matter. So I was thrilled to discover Pustkowia, the third full-length release from Poland’s Anna Maria Olchawa, the sole member of the project Ols.” Ols lang syne.

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.

This Is Oblivion – This Is Oblivion Review

This Is Oblivion – This Is Oblivion Review

This Is Oblivion is a duo consisting of New York-based vocalist/violinist Lulu Black and her partner The Number Twelve Looks Like You / So Hideous drummer Michael Kadnar, taking influence from acts like Chelsea Wolfe, Swans, and Body Void in a Gothic blend of industrial noise and neofolk, accomplished through minimalist instrumentation. Relying on repetitive melody, doom percussion, and Black’s accomplished and varied vocal performance, This Is Oblivion is greater than the sum of its parts in its emphasis on evocation, ritualism, and summoning.” Enjoy of deep Oblivion.