Folk Metal...More accurately depicted as Cultural Roots Metal. One of the few genres out there that has elements of almost every
sub-genre out there built into it. Among the vast expanses of folk metal albums in existence, I have chosen a select few with clenched teeth and a foaming mug to share with you. This was extremely difficult as there are literally hundreds of other albums and many of them by the same artists! But I digress, in an effort to try and show you a more diverse view of Folk Metal I have Five to start with! These albums are powerful and creative pieces of modern metal music that need to be heard! These albums are unique in their own way but I promise you that you will enjoy them and will become that much closer to being an accomplished Folk Metaller! So saddle up, blow your horns, and draw your blades as we go on our epic journey into the land of Folk Metal!!!
1. Ensiferum - Victory Songs
Hailing from the great Finland, Ensiferum is one of the most well-known and versatile folk metal bands. While not having an active fiddle/violin player like many other bands, they make use of their key section in similar fashion and by installing clips of themselves playing folk instruments such as the Finnish Cantele. In the early days when the godlike Jari Maenpaa was in the band, a lot of the music was shaped by his melancholy and fast modes of playing. They stayed true to a certain motif which was more reminiscent of darker folk metal...But still managing to keep it bouncy and fun. As the sound progressed and the lineup changed multiple times...Ensiferum finally broke out of their mold and soared to new heights with the release of Victory Songs. From beautiful and ominous intros to full and massive sing-a-long chorus' this album is a solid heavy hitting Folk Metal album. With unforgettable lyrics, clever vocal work, Amazing melodies, Victory Songs will get you singing and raising your horns in a matter of minutes!
In one word: Anthemic
Top Songs: Victory Song, Wanderer
2. Eluveitie - Helvetios
Eluveitie is a bit of a ground breaker when it comes to discovering new aspects of music. Majority of their albums are monumental
in getting people to delve further into the well of Folk Metal. But this album in particular is special. One moment you have a Gothenburg-esque Melodic Death Metal riff followed by lovely pieces with the Hurdy-Gurdy and violin. It's all about delivery. And as far as the sound goes, this album has a very ancient and deep feel to it. With spoken sections of Gaulish dialects and crushing rhythm, every song on Helvetios displays a fashion of song writing (except for the ambient intro/interlude/outro) which showcases all members. Now that being said, the Slipknot of folk metal sporting 8 members has never failed to impress with its creation of its magical melodies. With an array of Celtic instruments, atmospheric symphonies, heavy-ass guitars, and tight vocal sections, this album displays all of the members talent and majesty! Tasty!
In one word: Primal
Top Song: Alesia, Luxtos
3. Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja
Sometimes when you are in the middle of a mead-hazed war with your blood drenched axe in one hand and your Ipod in the other...you need to step back, chill out and listen to some Blackened Folk Metal. The boys in this quintet are famous for their massively complex and long arrangements that can span anywhere from 6-35 minutes. Even though they have such long and intricate songs, the listener still finds themselves captivated by the imagery that Moonsorrow depicts. The neat thing about Kivenkantaja is that it has all of our beloved Moonsorrow aspects but still finds time to deliver your typical black metal wall of sound!
So Kvlt! Now lets not forget the beautiful pieces which are centered around an Accordion sounding tones. Some really neat Finnish/Swedish melodies are usedto create almost ambient and foreboding feelings. This album is recommended above all of Moonsorrows other albums because it displays the bands versatility in creation of their sound. Give her a listen!
In one word: Deep
Top Songs: Rauniulla, Matkan Lopussa
4. Finntroll - Nattfodd
Oh look! Another Finnish Folk Metal band! Humppa Metal would be more accurate actually. This well known band draws upon the ancient powers of the mighty troll king "Rivfader" and old polka-esque Finnish folk music to bring you an awesome combo of badass metal! Their jigs are unmatched with their bumpy Humppa melodies all the way to Vreths menacing low end vocals. Finntroll has been around since before there was even a Folk Metal genre. You may not understand the Swedo-Finnish lyrics but you will definitely feel the angry, dancey, and fast paced emotions this albums puts out.
In one word: Bumpy
Top Songs: Trollhammaren, Ellytres
5. Korpiklaani - Karkelo
Just so you can get a taste of what folk metal can do. I have decided to present you with Korpiklaani! This band is a riot, especially live. Their subtle punk infused metal highlighted by a river of booze is fantastic to bounce around to and get rowdy! Karkelos key points of interest are the Alcohol themed lyrics and the cool violin/accordion accents. If you have a hankering for happy metal, buy this album. Its positive vibes and drinking anthems will put you in a good mood...or a drunken stupor. The vocals are a bit of an acquired taste as Jonnes voice has been butchered by years of drinking and smoking. But it definitely adds to the Drinking Metal motif they are so famous for! Party Hardy!
In one word: Wasted
Top Songs: Vodka, Juodaan Viinaa
Well there ye have it comrades. If you give these albums an honest and open minded listen, you will find the door to the Folk Metal world swung wide open! But in order to fully appreciate the majesty of it you need to explore all of its facets. The term "Folk Metal" is very vague. This massive genre has captivated me to the point where Ihave been listening to it religiously for seven years and am still discovering new bands all the time. It absorbs hundreds of different genres, cultures, styles, vibes, and instruments and will continue to do so as history and culture develop.
My virtual door is always open to those who want to share in the glory! Send me a message in the EMTV Contact Section and I will gladly and mirthfully enlighten you in the ways of Folk Metal! Hundreds of recommendations await you in your pursuit of victory!
-Stay strong, stay true, and drink all their mead!!!