Andraste is a new folk metal band from Manchester, England. They were formed by Coll and Jorund in 2008. Soon more musicians joined them, until the band got a full line-up. After two demos “Andraste” in 2009 and “Realm of the Supernatural” in 2010, the band felt ready to self-release its debut full-length album “The Secret Valley” in the end of 2011.
One thing is for sure: Andraste is not the typical folk metal band! After many listenings, I changed my initial opinion and I finally found their music very good! They need though to improve their sound and vocals, since they both can keep away listeners who won’t give them more than one chance; their music deserves something much better. Anyway, let’s take things from start. Andraste play folk metal using custom electric mandolin and mandola as well as other traditional instruments like melodeon, whistles, violins and cello and they are very good at all of them! Their music isn’t too extreme, most of their vocals though are brutal black death metal screams. They also use clean vocals, but those are the ones that need much more work, since they sound almost out of tune. Their compositions are deeply influenced by British / Celtic folk music and most of them are quite melodic with many beautiful moments and some fresh original ideas. Even if you can spot many bands that influenced them, they actually don’t remind any of them, something very important. They have a quite underground approach in their music and their production sounds like a live recording of a group of friends, which is both good and bad. It adds to the naturalness of the traditional instruments, but it “drowns” their orchestrations. Their lyrics deal with epic, pagan and historical themes, or as the band says they “take inspiration from stories, history and music from all over the British Isles and Europe, but especially from the Celtic and Viking North“.
Andraste is an interesting group that many fans of folk metal might enjoy if they give them a listen. Of course the band needs a lot of work, but the most important thing is that their music is nice. I don’t know if they improve their production in the future, but if they do, they seem capable of something really good. “The Secret Valley” includes 10 songs, lasting for over 43 minutes and is released by the band in a digipak edition with a 12-page booklet. The best way to listen to their music is to visit their official pages below, where you can also find details on how to buy the album.