Folk metal discoveries – part one Aleksandra Chmiel 26/12/2014 Articles Every fan of folk metal knows such bands as Eluveitie, Korpiklaani or Ensiferum. Most of us also know Turisas, Finntroll, and a lot more. Those, who are the most popular and have a lot of albums in their discography, usually get the most of our attention. We have to remember, however, that no one gains their popularity in a week or two. Sometimes, it takes a dozen of years. Although plenty of people think that popularity equals quality, this is not quite true. A band can have barely thousand of views on YouTube, but still make great music. That’s why I decided to start a new series of promotional articles, to help new and underrated bands. In today’s article I will introduce to you groups that have not earned their fame and popularity yet, but are surely worth your attention. The first band that I will introduce to you today is called Helsott. The band comes from a rather unusual country – the United States. Most of folk metal bands come from Europe, as they usually feel connected to and inspired by history of their lands, when making music. How does it work with Helsott? The name of the band itself is a Teutonic name for fatal illness. Helsott members like their music to be brutal, but also melodic. Being a fusion of thrash, death and pagan metal, Helsott is probably one of the best of its kind in the US and absolutely deserves some more attention. Sometimes there is a lot more death metal in their music, than pagan/folk, but still – it is totally worth it to get to know their music. People, who like Svartsot and TrollfesT, will probably like their music too. Second one on my list is finnish black/folk metal band Vorna. They exist for quite a long time now, but somehow still did not get proper popularity. Anyone who gives up on them without listening, misses a lot. True Finnish metal spirit is clearly present intheir every track, and they have a lot of them to choose from – the band has already released two demos and one full album. Although Vorna reminds me of Moonsorrow a lot, they have something new and fresh in their music – and that’s why I recommend listening to them to every fan of folk metal. Their music is really catchy and stays in your head for more than five minutes, leaving you craving for more. They shared most of their songs on Spotify, so you can listen to them for free. In 2014 they started cooperation with Northern Solitude Entertainment – maybe this will open them the way to greater fame? Third band is related to aforementioned Vorna and it goes by the name of Thyrien. It is a band coming from southern Finland, too. Thyrien and Vorna played together many times. They reminded me of Kivimetsän Druidi a bit, and I think that people who enjoy that band would like Thyrien too. Another thing that came to my mind was „folk version of Children of Bodom”, so those who like Alexi Laiho’s band may like Thyrien too. Even though I’m not a fan of death metal myself, I was quickly charmed by Thyrien’s music. Even their growling is nice – I liked it, because despite of the used technique, you can understand what the song is about. Although their lyrics may be a bit typical – scandinavian mythology is a standard inspiration for most of the folk metal bands, they match the music with great, interesting story out of a single music track. It’s been almost ten years since Thyrien started playing and yet, they are not known to most of folk metal fans – which is a pity, as they are really good at what they do. Fourth one has made its way to my favorites list very quickly – French Yrzen, found in 2006 under the name of Moonwrath, is not a new one. However, it has not earned international fame yet. They released only one album – called Fimmrot – yet, but they plan on releasing a new one in late 2015/early 2016. Their music is a pleasant mix of many types of metal. There are tasty pieces of music for melodeath fans, but people who prefer slower, calm music will find something for themselves. They play clear and without all that chaos that is present in most bands that play folk mixed with death metal. Everything is nice and melodic – even the growl, which is not too harsh (that is unfortunately an issue in many bands’ music). Members of Yrzen themselves do not think of their band as of folk or pagan metal one – it’s more like death metal with folk influences for them, and I think it’s an accurate description. Fifth one, Winter’s Wake comes from Staten Island, New York. I am usually sceptical, when it comes to American viking metal, as you know – the Vikings do not have much in common with the US. They are pretty much just starting, but since I’ve discovered them on facebook I am really amazed. People who enjoy epic instrumentals, such as game and movie soundtracks, will surely enjoy their tracks. They are surprisingly good at what they do – while listening to their tracks you can almost feel like it was some movie’s soundtrack. The tempo, melody and atmosphere of a single track changes multiple times, to better represent the story told to us through the song lyrics. Instead of folk instruments we can hear more orchestral sounds, which – in my opinion – fits their music very good. Sixth, and the last one for today is also from another continent and it’s Trobar, from Canada. The band was found in 2009 and since then has released an EP and a full-lenght album. They are a bit typical in their sound, on the other hand I can say they they fit into the „folk metal” genre very well. There are not many folk instruments present in their music, but the flute parts recompensate us the lack of other instruments. French language, in which they sing their medieval-influenced songs is not very common in folk metal, and it’s one of the factors that makes Trobar unique. Instead of having only male growl, in Trobar’s songs you can also hear melodic female voice, which is nice change from all those heavy, male-only bands. Never does their tracks sound boring or repetitive – which is probably the main advantage of this band. Their first album, Charivari, includes enough unique tracks for the listener to not get bored after just two of them. As for a beginning band, Trobar does surprisingly good and I hope they will keep playing on a high level! It’s everything I had for today – however, more new and young bands will be presented on our website soon, with a series of new articles about folk metal discoveries that you can make while wandering all around the Internet.