Folk metal discoveries – part two Aleksandra Chmiel 25/01/2015 Articles In my last article from the „folk metal discoveries” series I’ve introduced to you some of my favourites. Many of them noticed increased interest in their music after this publication, so I want to show you a few bands, which deserve some attention again. This time the geographical diversity is slightly larger, as we’d go from Japan to Colombia. The first one today is Ithilien, hailing from Brussels. Their name probably sounds familiar to Tolkien fans, as it comes straight from Lord of The Rings. However, the bands lyrics are not about Tolkien’s works – they are original, written by the band members. Ithilien released their first long-playing album in 2013 and I, after listening to it, was left with a rather positive impression. I’m not a big fan of this particular kind of vocal, but definitely there would be people who’d enjoy it. There are many death metal influences in Ithilien’s sound – which is not surprising, as nearly every other folk metal band takes some influences from death or black metal. The bands is making quite a big progress – recently, the band played at Cernunnos Fest, along with such stars as Moonsorrow, Cruachan and Svartsot. In their music guys from Ithilien use real instruments, such as hurdy gurdy and bagpipes – which is a definite plus, because most newly created bands seem to be stuck with the synths only. I highly recommend listening to some of their tunes! Second band comes from Daugavpils, Latvia. I have to say that I don’t remember listening to any latvian folk metal bands – even if, they must have been boring enough for me to forgot easily. After finding Varang Nord on one of the russian social media webstes I’ve decided to give those Latvians a try. The band was previously known as Balagury, and played music very similar to the earlier Arkona’s works, sticking to the typical Slavic lyrics. Nowadays, after the name change, they switched to more scandinavian tunes. Nevertheless, as 1/3 of Latvia’s population speaks russian, it’s not surprising that Varang Nord uses it in their songs. They may sound a bit cliche, but they are worth at least some minutes of attention, especially because Latvia does not have many viking metal bands to show off with. Attention please – now it’s the time for celtic Bellfast straight from… Japan! When I listened to them for the first time, I was pretty much sure that they are Brits. Playing european folk music seems to be a piece of cake for those Asian guys, as they are very good at it. Of course, there is that typical japanese accent present in their songs, but it does not worsen their quality in any way. They are definitely not worse than native speakers, when it comes to celtic songs. Very pleasing to the ear. They play metal mixed with typical celtic melodies, and their vocal technique reminds me very much of earlier Elvenking‚s works. There’s plenty of bands who mix folk with black or death metal – Bellfast is not one of them, which is an absolute advantage. If you’re tired of all those growls and low guitar sounds – this may be the band for you! Now I will return to Europe and head to the west from our country. Rouen is a small town in France and there, after a fifth cold beer, in the heat of 2011’s summer some folk metal enthusiasts decided to start their own band. The band’s name and lyrics are taken from the works of british writer, David Gemmell. Epic battles, mighty heroes, fantastic worlds – what kind of music would those things fit better into, if not folk metal? Not a long time ago – in october 2014 – the band released their first LP, Deathwalker. They say that they were surprised with how far they went. Snaga was the first song from them that I’ve heard and was pleased with. Each song is slightly different, and that speaks in their favor. Slow ballad? Fast, heavy tunes? Drenai is here to serve you that. They may not include many various instruments in their music, however, those who enjoy simplicity and not chaos (such as random pipes, drums or flutes) will surely enjoy their sounds. Horde Thor may be known to some more avid folk metal explorers – after a longer while spent on YouTube it is easy to get to them. I was quite shocked with the fact that their track Viktoria has got the most views on YouTube (nearly 20k!), while I, personally, think it’s definitely not their best. Many of their less known songs, which have one or two thousands of views, sound better – at least for me. Horde Thor is a typical melodic folk metal band, with a popular, growling type of vocal present in almost every of their tracks – which made me think about Amon Amarth. The band is not really new, as they exist from 2002 – however, they play with the current name and team since 2007 only. So many years on the stage and so few fans – surely we can talk about a wasted potential here. Make a change and give a chance to at least one of their tracks – and there are plenty to choose from, as the band already released two EPs, demo, single and two long-playing albums. Finland is well-known for its most popular folk metal bands. It definitely is hard to get popular, when being in shadow of such stars Ensiferum, Finntroll or Korpiklaani. If it’s hard for finnish musicians, what should the germans say? The case of Kultasiipi is quite interesting, as they are a german band playing… finnish songs. Inspired by Timo Rautiainen’s works – he recorded two albums in german language, being finnish himself – members of Kultasiipi decided to make something similar. Since 2006 they are active on the folk metal stage and they already have a nice achievement in form of two released albums, Metsola and Matkalla. Their music can be found on YouTube and Reverbantion – an it’s worth searching for, as their music is light and pleasing to the ear, with low male vocal and melodic, female choirs. What is interesting, Kultasiipi uses an instrument which is not very popular amongst such bands – a harp. And it’s all for today – next article from this series will be published very soon. If you have any suggestions, or you think that some band deserves to be promoted on our website, feel free to message us at email@example.com (in polish, english, or russian). What were your favorites from today’s article?