Folkheim is an epic “ethnic” black metal band from Santiago Chile. They were born back in 2003 and the following year they released the demo “Touched be Thy Undisturbed Essence“. In 2006 their first official work, the EP “Pachakuti” was out as an independent release. Six more years passed until Folkheim decide in the summer of 2012 to release their debut album “Mapu Ñi Tiam” via the Chilean label Australis Records.
I am really astonished by the beauty and quality of this album! It is for sure one of the best works I’ve listened to in 2012. Maybe it’s only my personal taste, but Folkheim offer me exactly what I like most in this music: wonderful melodic black metal of epic nature, blended with local folklore elements and unique traditional instruments. “Mapu Ñi Tiam” contains 7 songs plus 3 bonus tracks (2 of them come from their first demo), so its total duration is over 54 minutes. The band has a very good production, especially for a debut album, with a solid, balanced sound. The “main” album has 2 short instrumental tracks (intro and outro), so there are actually 5 songs left! Their music is epic metal moving from mid to fast tempo, with black metal elements and ethnic folk touches. Beautiful synths, epic riffs and melodic lead guitars combined with traditional instruments like trutruca, charango, zampoña and ukelele give Folkheim a very personal sound and a unique atmosphere. Their music changes from epic metal, to pagan black metal and from tribal folk to symphonic majestic black metal! Their vocal range is also variable and except for the dominant pagan black metal screams, they add some amazing epic clean male vocals and choirs, as well as some unusual traditional style singing. Everything is combined perfectly and the band managed to compose 5 real masterpieces, each one with it’s own distinctive identity! The 3 bonus songs are not at the same level, they are not bad at all, but I could live without them in this album. Lyrics are in their native language, except for the 3 bonus tracks, where they sing in English.
Chile is for sure an uncommon origin for bands of the genre, but I must admit that “Mapu Ñi Tiam” is for me the best work in this style from South America! If you are into epic folk melodic black metal, you can’t miss it. At least listen to it in the band’s official pages, following the links below. Apart from the brilliant music “Mapu Ñi Tiam” is released in a wonderful 6-panel digipak with amazing artwork and a 16-page booklet with all the lyrics. Australis Records will also release this summer a new re-recorded version of Folkheim’s EP “Pachakuti” including as bonus the demo “Touched be Thy Undisturbed Essence” and some live songs. Can’t wait!