Archive for the ‘folk metal’ Category

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Recent Listening

October 13, 2009

I lost almost all of my entire music stash recently because my computer chucked a hissy fit. So I quickly set about getting more music. Thanks to a friend I got 30GB worth of mostly metal that I mostly haven’t heard before.

So here’s a few recommendations!

Band names are on the left, albums on the right separated by commas.

Sculptured – The Spear of the Lily is Aureoled
Sculptured are a side project of some of the members of Agalloch, who are a brilliant avantgarde folk metal band. With Sculptured, there is still a focus on creating atmosphere, but there is a greater emphasis on riffs and melody. Vocal duties are shared between Don Anderson and Brian Yager. The clean vocals are probably my favourite thing about Spear, particularly on Almond Beauty and Her Silence. I also enjoyed the use of brass instruments on their albums, although I know that some people find this awkward. They have released two other full-lengths and Embodiment: Collapsing under the weight of God is quite good also. The other, Apollo Ends, is a more progressive affair, but I found I couldn’t really get into it.

Tyr – By The Light of The Northern Star
Here’s a band I’ve been meaning to listen to for a very long time. They are now one of my favourites. I can’t really find fault with Northern Star, it is the sort of album that appeals to me on all levels. Strong melodies, excellent clean vocals, solid drum work and, of course, the songs are about vikings! Another reason to love this album is that it is consistently good, there aren’t really any standouts or let-downs to be found. You can always tell an album is good when people ask what your favourite song is and you answer them differently each time. This is probably Tyr’s best effort.

Insomnium – Since the Day it All Came Down
Insomnium are a Finnish melodic death metal band who have somehow gone under my radar for a long time. Now I’ve listened to them I think they’re absolutely genius. Since the Day it All Came Down starts off with the very moody Nocturne, and although the rest of the album isn’t quite so sombre there’s definitely some clever utilisations of atmosphere. I have yet to pick up their release from this year, but Above the Weeping World and In the Halls of Awaiting are also excellent albums. Insomnium are as close to melodic death perfection as I think anyone will get.

Mastodon – Crack the Skye
I’ve heard exceedingly little of Mastodon’s earlier work, but I’ve heard enough to know that their 2009 album is very different. It’s also very good. Taking influence from progressive and psychedelic rock spanning decades, this progressive/sludge metal mix is practically a masterpiece of it’s genre. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but it is one of my favourite albums this year and I’m in awe of The Czar, although each song is brilliant in it’s own right. The vocals were pleasantly surprising, the riffs are cleverly implemented and there’s some really great drum work. There were also fairly few solos for a progressive album, and I found this worked in their favour, as I wasn’t bogged down by the band trying too hard to impress. The solos that are present are fitting and work well within the songs. As I mentioned, this is one of my favourite albums of the year and something I strongly recommend everyone to listen to.

Silent Stream of Godless Elegy – Relic Dances
A Folk/Doom Metal mix with yet another take on the ‘Beauty & the Beast’ dual vocals trend. Gotta say, I’m very impressed by the vocalists. I can’t be bothered finding their names, but the woman’s vocals fit the folk aspects of the music perfectly and the guttural growls of the male are among my favourite harsh vocals now. Although I’m not really a fan of Doom Metal, from the opening few seconds of ‘Look’ I was completely and utterly hooked. Definitely worth a listen.

Lifelover – Konkurs, Pulver
Lifelover are a depressive rock/black metal band who surprised me a bit when I first listened to them. Particularly with the opening track of Pulver which ends with a fun little twist. The Erotik album is good too, but Pulver and Konkurs are better.

SuidAkrA – Signs for the Fallen, Emprise to Avalon
Melodic death metal with Celtic influences? Nice! It was actually quite hard picking my favourite albums for them, as they’re fairly consistent in terms of quality. I also really liked Lupine Essence and The Arcanum, but I’m sure I’ll listen through them again and really enjoy Lays From Afar or Auld Lang Syne. All around a decent band, but only really recommended for melodeath fans looking for something a bit different from all the In Flames and At The Gates wannabes (inluding modern In Flames OH SNAP).

Korpiklaani – Karkelo
The only two songs in English are drinking songs. Or should that be Engrish? Regardless, it’s a fun folk metal album and the title appropriately means ‘Party’. Favourite song from this one is Bring Us Pints of Beer, which is a really hearty song and demands to be sung along with.

Nekrogoblikon – Goblin Island
Goblin-themed fun. A little weird, and the vocals sounds a bit awkward, but they’re good for a laugh. Their cover of the Power Rangers Theme is fantastic. Some of the stranger things about the album include Goblin Chistmas Armageddon Part II which almost sounds like a pop song, and the final track, Resonance, which is techno.

And that’s it for now. I may add some more to the list later, but these are enough for now.

-Vyperchild

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