Tag Archives: Folk Metal

New Releases – 6th April 2018

Time for another merciless whittling-down of the day’s new releases and reissues.

Winterfylleth – The Hallowing Of Heirdom

Now on a new label, Spinefarm, the UK black metal faves have decided to go completely acoustic for their latest album. After the slightly-disappointing The Dark Hereafter it’s a welcome change of tack. And if you know the band’s catalogue you’ll know that if any band can pull this off, they can. I’ve only listened to a brief snippet and it sounded great, reminding me of Ulver’s brilliant Kveldssanger. Get the 2CD version if you want maximum tuneage.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Memories In Rock II

The World’s Greatest Guitarist continues milking his recent return to rock with this third, yes third, live release. There is a (fairly average) new song here at least, and the Jap version also includes the two “new” songs that they released digitally last year. The DVD seems to be just interviews and docs rather than the live set. I kinda want it as a memento for seeing them last year but it seems pretty surplus to requirements at the moment.

And that’s the lot for me today. There is also the hotly-tipped Feast Of Water from Messa but that’s not really up my street. But I mention it for all the doom-botherers out there because I am a benevolent HMOverlord. Give us some chat in the comments about what you’re buying or not buying today.

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Buying Round-Up: February/March 2018

I’ve been back into doing the weekly New Release posts for a while now so I thought it was time to catch up with some of the stuff I’ve actually been buying. Here’s the music I’ve picked up over the last couple of months.

Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins

Napalm Death – Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs

I’ll start with this week’s new releases. As predicted a couple of day’s ago, I bought the new Primordial and Napalm Death albums. Both sets look cool, the Primordial CD is a big thick mediabook with bonus rehearsal, demo type stuff and the two songs they did for the One And All, Together, For Home compilation from a few years back. The Napalm Death one is a comp with minging artwork. Just bought them yesterday while I was through in Stirling, so haven’t had a chance to listen yet.

Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short and They Often See Dreams About The Spring

The new Drudkh album proved to be difficult to find in my usual haunts but EvaOverload kept me amused by kindly buying me their previous album A Furrow Cut Short. Excellent, sweeping black metal. And happily, I finally managed to find a copy of the newest album when I was in Stirling.

Judas Priest – Firepower

This was an inevitable purchase and a surprisingly enjoyable one. I went for the digibook edition with the embossed cover. It’s a way better album than I was expecting from them, a definite end-of-year contender with lot of truly excellent tunes and a fantastic production. If it turns out to be their last hurrah then they’re going out all guns blazing.

Autopsy – Puncturing The Grotesque

This is the newest mini-album from death metal giants Autopsy. I thought their last mini-album Skull Grinder was brilliant so I’ve wanted to get this one since it was released. Like the previous release, this is ace, basement-dwelling filth. No one does mini-albums/EPs like these guys.

Sleep – Dopesmoker

I’ve been wanting to pick up the Southern Lord reissue of Sleep’s Dopesmoker for a while but it’s always been too bloody expensive. For while HMV were pricing the CD at £25! Haha fuck off! And the vinyl has been even more expensive than that. But a few weeks back I saw it in Fopp for £15 and took the bait. I’ve been listening to it ever since… and I’m still waiting for it to finish.

Sacrilege – Within The Prophecy

I’ve been after this since buying the Relapse reissue of their debut album and then reading Darkthrone’s Fenriz recommending this, their second album. Handily, it’s now been reissued by Hammerheart Records with some bonus tracks added. It’s good stuff: weighty, crusty thrash with a big helping of doom and Tam Simpson’s brilliant voice. Anyone that’s been enjoying the recent Memoriam albums should be looking into this.

Skyclad – Reissues

The classic Skyclad albums, newly reissued by Noise Records. No tracks here I don’t have already but fandom, remastering and liner notes were enough for me to want these. But the exciting story is that these albums have been very hard to find for too long and now people have a chance to discover this superb, important and underrated band.

Kreator – Coma Of Souls

Another Noise Records reissue. I bought this a couple of weeks ago. One of Kreator’s classic albums reissued with bonus tracks, remaster and liner notes. There are three later albums that have just received the same treatment too but I decided to just stick with this one and update my old CD copy.

W.A.S.P. – Live Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)

Well, this is the dog’s bollocks. 12″ single with a rare live version of the classic tune taken from the same Long Beach Arena recordings that spawned Live… In The Raw (but not used in the final album). Totally fucking awesome. Wanted this forever so having it in my collection now makes me feel complete.

Bert Jansch – A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1)

Shirley Collins – The Ballad Of Shirley Collins

Folk overload! Two new(ish) releases from Earth Recordings. The Jansch box set compiles his first three studio albums and the Bert And John album he made with John Renbourn. Got about half of the music here already but it’s phenomenal, seminal stuff and a pleasing sonic upgrade on my old CDs. Would have liked the original album covers in the booklet somewhere though, that seems like a big omission. The Ballad Of Shirley Collins is a joint soundtrack/documentary CD/DVD set with a beautiful booklet. The film is very interesting and moving but I wanted a bit more of Shirley’s story outside of the current album and her adventures in the US with Alan Lomax. But it’s a great doc and highly recommended. Not listened to the soundtrack yet but I’ve read great things and I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into it.

And, throw in the Tribulation album and that’s about my lot for Feb/Mar. Very pleased with this lot and liking how 2018 is shaping up so far. Let me know what you think and tell me what you’ve been buying.

New Releases – 30th March 2018

My new release sense is tingling…

Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins

One of the most exciting releases of the year so far and a big fat must-buy except… I’m hearing that it’s not all that great. Some reviews really laying into it. But then I’ve also heard some folk say it’s a bit of a grower. Guess I’ll just buy it anyway and make my own mind up.

Napalm Death – Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs

Here’s a generous bumper collection of rarities from the Brummie legends. Two discs of B-Sides, bonus tracks, split tracks, unreleased stuff. Looks like an awesome set and I’ve not got any of this stuff… get in mah shopping basket.

Deathrow – Reissues

The reactivated Noise Records keep pumping out interesting reissues. This time it’s some albums that I’ve wanted to check out for ages but have been hard to find. The first three albums from German thrashers Deathrow: Riders Of Doom (aka Satan’s Gift), Raging Steel and Deception Ignored. Definitely from the more obscure end of the label’s roster so kudos to them from bringing these albums back. I do love me some German thrash so these will do nicely. Thanks!

And, in case you’re in Europe and wondering where the new Pestilence album Hadeon got to, it’s out today! Get involved.

That’s the lot for today. Hope you all have an awesome Easter weekend and let me know in the comments what good music you’re after today.

Skyclad – The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth (Review)

Skyclad – The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth (1991)

The departure of Martin Walkyier from superb UK thrashers Sabbat was a major disappointment but the talented frontman wasted no time, forming a new band Skyclad with members of Satan and Pariah. Their 1991 debut album The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth had plenty of the Ye Olde thrash Martin was known for but innovated with its incorporation of folk elements. And lo, a new genre – folk metal – started right here.

Martin delivers his caustic rants on social justice and ecological doom with raging charisma, backed by Steve Ramsey’s powerful and deft guitar work. There are huge thrash hooks in songs like The Cradle Will Fall (I am human!) and gothic closer Terminus but the band’s dark, dense Euro thrash does get fatiguing at times and the album is at its creative best during its folkier moments. The Widdershins Jig is a jaunty highlight (with a riff surely inspired by children’s TV show The Riddlers), Moongleam and Meadowsweet is beautifully lush (with gorgeous guest guitar from Sting’s Dominic Miller) and dramatic bursts of violin liven up thrashers like Sky Beneath My Feet and Our Dying Island.

The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth’s combination of labyrinthine thrash and pagan textures has proved remarkably durable over the years. More notable and eclectic offerings were to come, as Skyclad followed their prolific, fiddle-mad muse to become one of the most unique and influential British metal bands of the 90s. But the debut has a uniquely apocalyptic appeal that still makes it a go-to in the band’s impressive discography. Not a perfect debut but an attention-grabbing and adventurous one.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

[Skyclad – The Widdershins Jig]

Primordial Announce New Album ‘Exile Amongst The Ruins’

Here’s some exciting news for fans of Primordial. The Irish pagan metallers have announced that their new album Exile Amongst The Ruins will be released on 30th March 2018. And to accompany the announcement they have also released a new song and video entitled Stolen Years.

The album is available to pre-order via Metal Blade in the usual array of formats. Details are a bit sketchy as yet but it looks like the double CD version or the inevitable big deluxe vinyl box thingy are the editions to go for if you want bonus tracks.

As far as the new song goes, it strikes me more like a good deep album cut than a single. It’s a bit of an odd (brave?) choice in that respect and I like the atmosphere and aching quality. And they went all Wanted Dead Or Alive with the video too! It’s the type of song that sounds like it’ll take a few listens but I’m going to hold off from watching or listening any more until the album comes out. I’m looking forward to this album a lot and I like it all to be fresh when I finally get it.

Formicarius – Black Mass Ritual (Review)

The last time I encountered the UK’s Formicarius was back in December when they contributed a track Lake of the Dead to the excellent compilation Speed Kills VII. Back then I called them “very promising” and I’m glad to report that, with Black Mass Ritual, they have delivered on that promise and then some.

Formicarius go medievil on your ass with their debut album, dishing out Cradle of Filth-style symphonic metal with power metal exuberance. The whirling atmosphere, rib-cracking riffs and exotic solos sound like Mustaine and Friedman jamming with Emperor, the potent speed metal velocity, galloping bass and catchy choruses bring to mind early Helloween and there’s a folky bent to the riffs and instrumentation that reminds me of the classic Skyclad albums.

All the performances are outstanding, from Lord Saunders’ articulate Abbath-esque croak to Morath’s grand and eloquent keyboard embellishments and solos (check out the excellent outro piano on Overlord, a standout moment). The songwriting is also uniformly excellent. An overly jaunty riff in Abhorrent Feast of Minds is the only thing close to a mis-step and it’s soon forgiven as Master of Past and Present closes the album on a dark, dramatic high.

It’s a fantastic debut: rampaging, grand black metal with a healthy dose of epic tradition and fearless creativity. In a year where I’ve been mainly knocked out by death metal albums, Formicarius have struck a decisive blow for black metal. And they’ve done it with an album that is all kinds of metal fun for all kinds of metal fans. The Black Mass Ritual begins on July 21st, don’t miss out.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

Song of the Week: Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Live)

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Here’s a rousing track from Primordial’s new live album Gods to the Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015). I always feel like live shows are defined by the inclusion of new tracks. My memories of live performances usually revolve around the new songs that were played. For better or worse, bands seem to put extra welly into the new stuff: meaning that brilliant new songs make for an unforgettable show but weak ones will likely mar my recollections, no matter how classics-laden the show might have been. The former is definitely the case with Primordial. Four of the eleven songs here are taken from their last album Where Greater Men Have Fallen and here’s an amazing version of the title track: a burly and martial take that surpasses the studio version. Alan Nemtheanga proves himself, once again, the consummate metal frontman, and the band’s chemistry and the skill of their arrangements are even more evident in the live setting: every instrument occupying a unique space to create a massive wall of sound. Primordial, over twenty years into their career, sound like they’re determined to remain impassioned and vital until the bitter end.

[To hear the Song of the Week, click track three on the YouTube screen below. And then listen to the whole thing, you won’t regret it]