FOLKODIA – Odes From the Past

FOLKODIA – Odes From the Past








Origin: Various
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Metal Viking Metal
Label: Self Released
Year: 2008

Folkodia is a new project formed in 2007, containing many musicians from different countries, including Greece, something like Folkearth (actually many members are common in both bands). So, someone could ask if there are any differences between the two bands. Well, there are and for my taste I prefer Folkodia.

The basic composers are Simon Müller from Excelsis and Loki (also in Folkearth), while all the lyrics are written mainly by Marios Koutsoukos. Their music is epic folk Viking metal, with more folk elements than Folkearth. Some songs are more quiet / acoustic and others Viking black. Flutes, violins and other traditional instruments are everywhere, accompanying heavy or acoustic guitars in a medieval / Viking orgy. Especially the violins are enchanting fitting perfectly to the music. There many male singers with different types of vocals, while in the female ones Hildr Valkyrie gives again an excellent performance. The music ranges from heavy metal, black/death and doom to acoustic songs, all of them in their epic folkest versions. Even though it definitely has an underground sound and some “technical” problems the compositions are really nice. After all, in this Viking genre what counts most is this barbarian warrior atmosphere, instead of perfect skills or professional vocals…

If you liked Folkearth, you should invest on Folkodia; you won’t be let down. If you have never heard any of them you should expect epic Viking folk black metal with many “ballads”. The cd is self-released, but it is worldwide distributed by Stygian Crypt Productions, so it’s not that hard to find. You can get a taste of their music and find more info at the following links.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Folkodia @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ARKONA – От Сердца к Небу

ARKONA – Ot Serdtsa K Nebu








Origin: Russia
Genre: Folk Pagan Metal
Label: Napalm Records SoundAge Productions
Year: 2007

Arkona is the most successful Russian pagan black metal band. Leaded by the charismatic front-woman Masha “Scream” they have released 4 full-length albums from 2004 and most of their gigs are sold out. Many guest musicians from the metal and folk scene participate in their albums and their popularity both in Russia and abroad couldn’t be unnoticed, so they signed in Napalm Records for their future releases.

“Ot Serdtsa K Nebu – From the Heart to the Skies” is their fourth album and the last released by SoundAge Productions. It’s a great mixture of pagan black metal and traditional folk Russian music. Mascha’s amazing vocals are the band’s trademark. She has one of the best screams in the genre, while her clean folk vocals are simply perfect. The way she sings in both styles is unique and especially her “ethnic” vocals are like coming from another age, perfectly fitting with the archaic traditional atmosphere of their music. This album has a more folk acoustic approach. Many songs have only acoustic traditional instruments performed by skilled guest folk musicians from Russia, and the ones with guitars follow folk scales and tunes. The structures of the songs are very complex and very hard to define. Don’t expect the typical pagan black metal songs. Actually “Ot Serdtsa K Nebu – From the Heart to the Skies” must be seen as a concept album; like a big track. All the lyrics are in Russian and they speak about pagan ancient Slavic traditions and myths.

The production of the album is excellent and the quality of the music at very high levels. Unlike their previous albums this time they don’t search for catchy refrains, but they experiment more with the essence of their pagan folk music’s roots. The album is released in a normal jewel case cd and in a great digibook with a 28-page booklet! The artwork of the album is by Kris Verwimp and the result is excellent as always. This is a must have of the genre, that I am sure all of their fans already bought. If you don’t know Arkona (don’t confuse them with the Polish raw black metal band, or other bands with the same name) and want to listen to them you can follow the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://arkona-russia.com
Arkona @ Facebook
Arkona @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

THYRFING – Hels Vite

THYRFING – Hels Vite








Origin: Sweden
Genre: Epic Black Metal Viking Metal
Label: Regain Records
Year: 2008

The anticipation in listening to a new Thyrfing album is always great for me! Thyrfing’s “Valdr Galga” was actually the first album of Viking black metal I’ve ever listened to it and it really dragged me to this genre. So together with “Urkraft” these two are in my favourites! “Vansinnesvisor” in 2002 and “Farsotstider” in 2005 were less Viking oriented (good albums, but I didn’t like them like their predecessors) and now comes this new album, the 6th in the long band’s history.

First of all there are some line-up changes, since two of the oldest members Thomas Väänänen and Henrik Svegsjö left the band, something that made me worry… But all my worries disappeared when I listened to the album. I would say that Thyrfing continue the previous album, in their new darker side, but with a return to their Viking roots! Of course don’t expect the majestic symphonic Viking songs with the epic choir refrains, but a slower, dark, deep and mature approach. The vocals of newcomer Jens Rydén are simply amazing, fitting perfectly with the band and they sound like he was always in Thyrfing. All of the songs are long (there are only 7 tracks with a total duration of more than 52 minutes) at mid-tempo with very heavy and full guitars, which have a more rhythmic role. The accompanying keyboards in the background help the band build the darker epic melodic atmosphere of the songs, making the sound more solid and complete. The compositions have a lot of work and despite their variety the outcome is like one big song. There are acoustic guitars, few clean vocals and choirs, some more quiet and some more bombastic songs, but they are all unified under “Hels Vite” dominant epic dark atmosphere.

Overall, I believe that this album is the best of Thyrfing’s new “era” and one very good sample of “professional” epic dark viking metal. It will be released in the end of October by Regain Records. Till then you can check some samples in their official pages.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.thyrfing.com
Thyrfing @ Facebook
Thyrfing @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

THEUDHO – Cult of Wuotan

THEUDHO – Cult of Wuotan








Origin: Belgium
Genre: Epic Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Det Germanske Folket
Year: 2008

Theudho is an epic pagan black metal band from Belgium formed back in 2002. In 2004 they released their first cd “Treachery”, in 2006 the cd “The Völsunga Saga” and now in 2008 they return with their third album “Cult of Wuotan”. While their debut was a little unbalanced, with some good songs and some indifferent, their sophomore effort was much better, still searching though for an identity. This new album however, takes them to the next step…

The sound of the band is much more solid and all the songs sound powerful. The compositions are improved and the melodies are based on the guitar lines accompanied by some keyboards, other times in the background and sometimes in a more leading role. It’s mainly mid-tempo with rhythmic epic riffing and very melodic guitars, while some acoustic instruments make their appearance here and there. The vocals are black/death with a very epic emotion. There are also some atmospheric male and female recitations especially in the beginning of the songs and some female vocals in a few songs. The songwriting is really great, making the album interesting from the beginning to the end, keeping it all the time at the same quality.

The impressive artwork is by the master Kris Verwimp, adding a lot to the total value of this album, at least for those who care… So if you are into pagan black metal and you are searching for a typical band of this genre, without any surprises or experiments, but at a very good level, you should give Theudho a try.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.theudho.com
Theudho @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

BATTLELORE – The Last Alliance

BATTLELORE - The Last Alliance








Origin: Finland
Genre: Epic Metal Symphonic Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2008

The Finnish epic symphonic metallers are back with their fifth work. Battlelore have their own style of epic Gothic metal, with many symphonic elements and female vocals combined with black-death male ones. They follow the same “recipe” in all their works and it seems we shouldn’t expect anything different from them.

I believe that “The Last Alliance” is their best work so far. It’s not only the obvious improvements in their production and technical skills, but the much more interesting compositions. They manage to blend much better the more tranquil parts with the death metal growls and the result is much more solid. Female vocals have the lead role in the melodies of the songs, while there is usually a “conversation” with the “harsh” ones. Kaisa Jouhki’s voice is very fairytale-like and is perfect for the band’s image and thematology. Keyboards are widely used together with rhythmic guitars, adding to this contradiction of softer and harder parts. The lyrics are about fantasy tales and the orchestration and sound of the album is suitable for the feelings they want to create to the listener, especially in their more melodic parts, that are the band’s strong card.

This time there has been much more work on the composition of the songs and the result is more even than in their previous albums, that there were some interesting parts and some “fillers”. So if you like epic symphonic metal with Gothic and death metal touches, Battlelore is a great suggestion and “The Last Alliance” the best album to start exploring their music.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.battlelore.net
Battlelore @ Facebook
Battlelore @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

EXULTET – Constantinopolis (Demo)

EXULTET - Constantinopolis








Origin: Italy
Genre: Folk Black Metal
Label: Self Released
Year: 2008

Exultet is a two men’s band from Sicily, Italy. Farz formed the band in 2003 and next year Argoth was added as permanent drum player. In 2004 they self-released their first full-length demo “Urbs Felix”, presenting a folk black metal album, with Arabian and oriental atmosphere. In 2006 the second demo “Requiem of a Dream” was released, but it contained older (symphonic black metal) material from 2001-2003, with a much different sound from the band’s style.

Now in 2008 their new demo “Constantinopolis” is available. It is a mini-CD continuing the style of “Urbs Felix”. So it is again epic melodic black metal, with many oriental touches and instruments. It deals with the conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottomans and all the lyrics are in Italian. It’s like a mixture of Melechesh and Summoning, with a demo production (that can be improved, but it’s ok). The melodies and the compositions are really great, if you like this combination of eastern scales in the riffs and synths, while the vocals are a bit in the background and they are “blackish” most of the time. The only “negative” is that the demo contains just 5 songs (including an intro and an outro) lasting only 24 minutes.

If the band improves the production in the future and if they are able to compose at this level a full album, I believe they can really make a great debut. The demo is limited to 300 pieces and you can listen to the band and contact them at their myspace page.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Exultet @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

QUADRIVIUM – Adversus

QUADRIVIUM – Adversus








Origin: Norway
Genre: Avant-garde Metal Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Soulseller Records
Year: 2008

Quadrivium is a new band from Norway formed in 2005. Their 3 members are also active with other groups like Ragnarok, Vidsyn, Myrkgrav, Sworn so they are quite experienced and skilled musicians, something obvious in the quality of this impressive debut. “Adversus” is their first full length, after the “Origo” EP in 2006. Even though it was composed in 2006, it’s just in Summer 2008 that Soulseller Records finally released it.

Talking about their music, Quadrivium play avant-garde symphonic black metal and their atmosphere reminds a lot of Arcturus’ “La Masquerade Infernale”. They use a lot of melodic keys while the excellent vocals of Lars Jensen vary from clean to black screams. Actually the synths dominate the songs and together with the vocals create this unique “insane” atmosphere of madness. The sound is very full and all of the songs are more than interesting. There are slower and faster parts in the album, but they never become too extreme. After all it’s the amazing melodies of the compositions that characterize the sound of Quadrivium!

Overall it’s a really good effort and I recommend this album to all fans of avant-garde black metal and to everyone who likes symphonic melodic black metal. The production and the skill of the musicians is much above average and I believe that a great new band can be born here, especially if they manage to create a more personal sound, staying at the same quality level. You can check them at their myspace page.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Quadrivium @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

MÖRKER – Höstmakter

MÖRKER – Höstmakter








Origin: Sweden
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Year: 2008

After their debut EP “Den Sista Utfärden” in 2005 playing pagan black metal in the vein of Dimmu Borgir’s first works and their first full-length “Skuggornas Rike” in 2006, where they had a more personal sound, Mörker (Darkness in English) return with their new album “Höstmakter”.

Their sound of this Swedish band has evolved a lot compared to their previous works. They are still in the general category of pagan black metal, but there are many differences. Their music is much more mainstream, more melodic and with a great technical skills’ improvement. Guitars have the lead role in the songs with many changes, rhythmic parts, melodic parts, acoustic parts, etc. and even some solos! The vocals have an “evil” tone and the lyrics in their native language deal with the Swedish nature, darkness, autumn and winter… Some of the songs have also a more epic mood, especially in the melodies of the guitars. Another great element in the band’s sound is the very clever use of synths (especially of piano), that completes the songs adding up to their melody.

It is obvious that this time the composition took more time and effort and the songs have a much more personal sound. The production is also much better and the band has a crystal clear and powerful sound, while the cd is released by Northern Silence both in jewel case and in a wonderful A5 digipak. Fans of the genre should check them without hesitation.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.morker.se
Mörker @ Myspace
Mörker @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews