Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Dresden, Germany based Melodic Death/Folk/Groove Metal project Argorok. Huge thanks to Bill for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Our band name is Argorok. It’s a project that was in the making for quite a few years, initially starting out as some kind of Folk Metal project, but it died at some point. As I started recording and mixing a few years ago, I took the chance and turned it into a more Death Metal like studio project. You are still able to hear its roots, however.
How did you come up with your band name?
It was the name of a boss from The Legend of Zelda. I thought it was catchy and doesn’t give away too much about what music you actually play and hopefully gets people’s attention and curiosity.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I’m from Dresden, Saxony, Germany. We have a few established places, which are also known beyond borders in the scene, like the Skullcrusher Club. The Wave Gothic meeting in Leipzig and the Eastclub are also known places in the scene in Saxony.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
“Usurpator” is our first release.
‘Aus der Tiefe’ (Official Lyric Video)
‘Katharsis’ (Official Lyric Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Bands from different Genres I liked, like Soulfly, Amon Amarth, Orbit Culture, Subway to Sally or Equilibrium, to name a few.
What first got you into music?
I guess I liked the bands I heard and wanted to do that too, so I started playing Guitar and Bass.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Mick Gordon. He is more of a Soundtrack composer, but I absolutely love his work, especially on the new Doom games. (Alternatively, Alestorm, for shits and giggles).
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
The With Full Force festival is one I would like to play at, as it has good variety and brings a bit more attention to the metal scene in the region.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Argorok is a new project, which just started, so fingers crossed there will be lot of weird gifts to come.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Don’t let anyone dictate your music taste. If you like something that’s fine and only your business.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
The whole creative process, from writing to producing, is awesome.
What I really hate are cheap people, who don’t see the actual effort behind what you do, as it is “just music”.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Actually requiring talent and not only looks. At least for mainstream genres, that’s not that big of a deal in the metal scene luckily.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Metallica – “Black Album”
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I love collecting CD’s. But I can also see the appeal of vinyl. Nothing beats physical media (and yet here I am, releasing digital only…but some CDs are planned for the future)
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
It was one with my previous band and years ago. We were basically just a school band and not very good, but we got the chance to play at a really huge stage. Too bad it was the middle of the day and nobody was listening. But we had fun and beer was free!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Definitely some other form of creative work. Already doing that and took care about things like album cover and video production as well.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Either friends and family, or some German personalities you probably wouldn’t know 😊
What’s next for the band?
Getting our music out to people and hopefully some exposure and positive feedback. We are also thinking about a handful of shows for next year.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
(As previous #EMQs have shown, you don’t need to be British to experience the wonders of Jaffa Cakes – Rick)
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Midgard – Tales Of Kreia Sliptrick Records Release Date: 18/08/2020 Running Time: 48:36 Review By Beth Jones 7.5/10
Folk Metal! Some people love it, some might think ‘What the folk was that all about’! Personally, I love it, so am always happy to review a Folk Metal album. And next on my playlist is “Tales Of Kreia” the new release by Ukrainian Folk Metal four-piece, Midgard. Formed in 2015, this is their 3rd studio album, and they have already made a pretty decent name for themselves in the folk metal world, supporting Finnish Folk Metal giants Ensiferum at their Kiev show. This new album is written entirely in a fantasy setting and explores various themes and moods within that world.
The album opens with ‘Necromancer’, which begins in a pretty standard folk metal way, giving you a comfortably familiar feeling. This only lasts for about 20 seconds, though, then the piece is taken over by thrash-esque riffs and rhythms. Unexpected, but pretty damn good, I can tell you. It then moves through a variety of transitions of genre, exploring melody and rhythm changes aplenty! It’s very skilfully done, and a great way to open the album.
Track 2, ‘The Horde’ is introduced by traditional instrumentation, then launches into some damn fine chunky riffs, and again plays a merry dance with variations around themes and genres.
In fact, this is true throughout the album. It’s littered with skilful riffage and rhythms, and explorations in combining traditional folk instruments with the heaviness of the more metal orchestrations. It’s great to bang your head to, but doesn’t become just another jaunty Folk Metal album, as some tend to do.
Another thing to mention is the vocal style of Klym Apalov. In the main, it’s a growl. But it’s a very tuneful growl, which impressed me. We also get the odd clean vocal, too, mainly in the folky sections, which adds a bit of variety.
The track that’s most recognisably Folk Metal is ‘Dworf King’. And for all those…er… young in mind, shall we say, it starts with an interesting sound effect that is bound to have a few of you tittering behind your hand, like naughty schoolboys! This track is very much a ‘grab a flagon of ale and do an over exaggerated stompy walk round in circles dance’ tune. Nothing wrong with that, like, but I’d go for Mead!
The final track ‘Ice Spirit’ begins with spoken word set over music, in the band’s mother tongue. This gives it a kind of ‘final battle pep talk’ feel, and creates an interesting mood. Again, this track explores various rhythmic and melodic themes, closing the album in the same way it began.
I think my favourite track on the album has to be, ‘Velmehazerun Dolian’. It’s hellishly pacey from the start and really sets your toes a-tapping! It’s quite spiky too, if you know what I mean? There’s a ton of gain on the rhythm guitars, and everything is very staccato, which gives it a real edginess. There’s also a stunning lead guitar solo in the middle of it, just before it drops off into a traditional folk interlude, because, well, why not!
Production wise, it’s all pretty tight too. A nice balance of sounds, and you can hear all the little folk twists coming through.
All in all, while it’s not completely ground-breaking, this is a very decent release from Midgard, which does step away from comfort zones a little, and is definitely worth a listen. It’s got a real groove, and there’s something in there for every musical taste, too (especially Thrash). So, even if you’re not usually into Folk Metal, I’d still give it a try.
TRACKLISTING: 01. Necromancer 02. The Horde 03. Velmehazerun Dolian 04. The Ring 05. Dworf King 06. Keeper Of Freedom 07. Reaper 08. Elven Blade 09. The Hunt 10. Black Widow 11. Ice Spirit
LINE-UP: Klym Apalkov – Vocals Roman Kuznietsov – Guitars Alexandr Kudryavtsev – Drums Maxim Shatilo – Bass
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
After witnessing Atorc for the first time at Warhorns Festival in 2018, I’ve noticed these guy stand out more and more. I have previously reviewed their latest album “Under The Raven Banner”, seen them play across the UK at many Folk and Viking Metal themed events and befriended some of the band through mutual people, so I was more than happy to sit down with the Suffolk based tribe and have a chat!
Atorc are one of the UK’s most well-known underground Folk Metal bands and I was intrigued to know a bit more about their story…
Sheri: Hello guys!
Atorc: Hello Sheri!!!
Sheri: I did a review of “Under The Raven Banner” last year for Ever Metal and loved it, For our readers, tell us a bit about the roots of Atorc and how you decided on the concept of the band?
Battlebeast: Well the roots of Atorc really stem from when I got into folk metal and I thought there’s not really a lot of folk metal bands in the UK. I had contact with Tom Scales and we basically formed Atorc together with our old drummer and violinist and basically from there evolved into what we are today!
Boudikath: We had the line-up changes so everyone brought their own influences.
Battlebeast: Yeah, everyone brought in their own influences with what they’ve listened to over the years. With Andy, there are elements of Power Metal in the band, which is very interesting and with Jack, he added a sense of a much darker, black metal vibe with the rhythms. So, it’s been quite interesting with the mixture of music tastes all around.
Boudikath: And also, some classical backgrounds.
Sheri: That brings me onto the next question actually – your sound is quite entangled in metal, folk – most notably in the Viking and Battle elements, with some pretty big Power vocals. You certainly have your own identity – do you have any influences both musically and historically?
*HELBARD THEN ENTERS THE DOMAIN.*
Helbard: Hellooooooooo! There are different people, different backgrounds, different influences. I’m really like a classic metal kinda guy. I’m more sort of Maiden, Priest, Queensrÿche, Dio – that kind of thing. I have done a lot of different music projects before this as well, covering quite a lot of different backgrounds musically. I mean I was mainly a guitarist before I joined this band on vocals. Before that I was a gigging bass player for quite a while in a band playing like Cheap Trick power pop stuff. That was the first album I ever recorded as a bass player. So, I’ve been all over the map really and I’ve written for everything I’ve been involved with as well. So, it’s really trying to kinda be a well-rounded musician and much like Jack is, Jack has done a lot of different stuff as well. Just trying to bring some sensibility from that, you know…you can always learn skills playing any kind of music that you can take with you and transfer to anything else you do.
Sheri: What about you, Kath, you play the keys and you do backing vocals, have you done anything previous?
Boudikath: To be honest this is the first proper band I’ve been in but I did study Popular Music at University along University bands and that kind of thing but I came in completely new to metal, I mean when I first joined the band, the guys made me watch The Headbangers Guide to Metal, which is a documentary – they were like “she needs to know more!” hahaha. To be honest, I was more into Coldplay, David Gray, 80’s Pop so I was thrown in the deep end as it were haha. But I can say now I quite enjoy listening to things like Iron Maiden, Priest and those kinds of bands.
Sheri: What song or performance do you feel best represents Atorc?
Boudikath: To be honest, we’ve got the one that…
Boudikath: Yeah everyone likes it.
Battlebeast: And its repetitive all the fucking time haha.
Helbard: Is that not actually Shieldwall though?
Blistyg: Is this the one that begins with “T”? Hahaha.
Helbard: What THE Shieldwall? Hahaha.
Blistyg: We play it at every gig…it’s our Smoke on The Water I think haha. I do still enjoy playing it, sometimes haha.
Boudikath: I do enjoy playing it, it’s just very much, that every time we HAVE to play it.
Blistyg: Watching the crowd while we play it…
Helbard: I think by the time we play that song in a set, we’ve already been going for 30 or 40 minutes and everyone’s on board at that point.
Battlebeast: To be honest, I just wrote a basic folk metal song about drinking and I thought “this isn’t gonna catch on” like it’s just gonna be a throw away song…but everyone loves it.
Blistyg: This is like our Rum song.
Sheri: It’s probably the Mead Hall for me hahaha
Helbard: That’s another drinking song! Haha.
Battlebeast: Fun fact – I’m writing another drinking song for the next album.
Sheri: Oh, you are!? Well I was going to ask you about that anyway! From your first release, which was – EP “Pure Folking Metal”, how do you feel you have developed since then? You’ve had a line-up change since then and have found your fit – take us through the development.
Battlebeast: I think we have. With the first line up we had, it was OK, I wasn’t really happy with how things were going. But when the former singer and violinist drop out, Andy and Kath came in, which I thought was the perfect fit with everything that we had been doing so far – with Andy’s vocals and Kath’s keyboards.
Blistyg: And quite good friends we have become too!
Battlebeast: Yes, we have. Then we had Helen brought in and her Violin skills were amazing for us as well and then when our former drummer left, we brought in Jack and his blend of dark, black metal, y’know, influences of drums – they just perfectly fit.
Blistyg: We’re like the perfect BLT hahaha.
Helbard: I’ll tell you something too, those line-up changes from me and Kath coming into the band to having the line-up we have now, I think that took about maybe two years. We hadn’t changed drummers and taken Helen on board until about the end of 2016.
Boudikath: We joined around the beginning of 2015 then Helen came on board for the Seven Tales when we did the recording and then Jack came in about a year later.
Blistyg: Do you guys remember our first gig with Andy and Kath?
Battlebeast: The Evil Scarecrow gig…
Boudikath: It was Evil Scarecrow, it was amazing. We had only been in the band about a month and a bit!
Battlebeast: Yeah it was! Haha.
Boudikath: Literally, we had been in the band a month and we supported Evil Scarecrow at The Waterfront.
Sheri: So, you were pretty much thrown into the deep end that’s amazing haha!
Boudikath: Yeah haha. We showed up and it was like “Oh by the way guys, your gig next month is at the Waterfront in Norwich.” We were like WHAT?!
Helbard: It wasn’t…Well, It wasn’t really confirmed until about a week before. The promoter was…we had problems trying to get money from him.
Boudikath: I remember the venue being big. In terms of development, we definitely have darker tones to “Under The Raven Banner”. The Seven Tales was fun, but we’ve come a little bit darker since then. I think we might be going down a bit more of a darker route with things to come – keeping some of the fun in there – but in general a bit darker.
Helbard: Another thing is that Seven Tales was pretty much – well the songs were written before Kath and I joined the band.
Boudikath: Yea there were two songs in there I think, that were written after and then we added to some of them.
Helbard: “Under The Raven Banner” is a bit more progressive, it was written sort of mainly by Jack and I did the lyrics and there are a few songs on there that I wrote almost entirely and that is probably a reason why some of them sounds almost completely different to Seven Tales album.
Sheri: It was last April you released Under the Raven Banner and as we’ve just discussed, this album is a lot more raw than “Seven Tales Of Swords And Ale” and you highlight some of the difference in songwriting and the sound. Are there any challenges you faced whilst doing that?
Boudikath: I think it was more Andy’s writing style more than anything. Andy got involved with writing on “Under The Raven Banner” and basically, we come along with a riff, an example is Hammer to Anvil – Andy developed on that. In producing the guitar/violin mix that wasn’t so much written in that first one…
Blistyg: When I’m writing riffs and stuff, I don’t really think much about making a structure so to speak. It’s mainly just riffed and then I rely on everyone else to help fit it all together sort of thing.
Thor: Also, the album is more produced than the EP because we spent more time on it. So, there’s more production involved than on the EP where we kind of didn’t play to a click so there’s more tightness and more cleanness with some spick and spam production with the second one more so than the first.
Helbard: Yeah, the first started on a weekend.
Boudikath: 8 songs in 2 days!!
Boudikath: hahaha. So, I dont think we can complain about how it came out haha.
Helbard: If we had done another two days on it, it might have been great! Hahaha. It might havebeen a classic you know! Haha.
Sheri: Are you working on anything at the moment? Tilly you mentioned that you’re writing for a new album so are you working on anything else whilst we are waiting on 2020 to do one?
Battlebeast: Yeah, I’ve been writing some lyrics so what I’ve done so far, I’ve sent to Andy. So, he will have a look over and see what he can do with them. I mentioned I’m doing another drinking song – cuz why the hell not. I’ve been also researching a lot of other Viking events, you know, the Norse mythology and everything. Basically, everything I can whilst we’ve been in The Great Plague of 2020. Just plodding along trying to get some new material out or make new material and do the best we can.
Boudikath: It very much works lyrically doesn’t it that you do all the research, Tilly… and that goes to Andy so Andy can create lyrics around it.
Battlebeast: Scales (Tom) and I have been working on some riffs as well and we’re basically going with that. Just trying to make new music during these times.
Boudikath: Scales has also got a new toy that he got over lockdown as well! Someone’s got a pretty seven string, haven’t they??
Blistyg: Kath! Shhhhh! Hahaha.
Helbard: We do have a very few rough demo’s knocking about and we’re kind of maybe considering different ways of doing an album this time. Obviously, it’s easier than ever to make music off your own back so to speak. We might see what we can do to do something as no one knows what is going to happen as we get through this. We might see what we can get done off our own back. So I mean, the facility to record at home, me and Scales also have a recording interface so there’s always stuff you can do. It will be a little bit of a learning curve.
Boudikath: It’s not just a drummer and couple of guitarists, its everything and it makes it difficult.
Sheri: You have quite a big UK following where Viking Folk metal genres are concerned, I’ve seen you play multiple times, the first time I remember was at Warhorns 2018 and I could see loads of faces in the crowd donning your trademark blue warpaint. When you have fans and supporters that turn up to live events taking part in your theatrics, what is that like for you?
All: It’s the best thing ever!
Boudikath: Honestly when you get people coming up to you and they’re like “OMG I’ve seen you so many times, please sign this!”
Battlebeast: Yeah when they want your autograph, it’s just like WTF!
Boudikath: HRH Vikings was the best.
Battlebeast: That was one of our top gigs, best thing ever.
Blistyg: We had a good last year. Even though it was really really good, Vikings just topped it off really.
Boudikath: The last gig we did actually was really good as well. The last gig we did was this year in February, where we did a headline show in York. That was a sold-out show in York.
Boudikath: We want these gigs back. We were meant to do, the gigs we were meant to do Sheri, were the Isle of Wight in July, Power Metal Quest Fest in September…
Battlebeast: And we had other gigs lined up, its just all gone! Just like that. It’s just the waiting now you know – waiting for all this crap to go away.
Boudikath: I mean it will be at least kind of middle of next year, I think…
Sheri: It’s the same here with us at Rabidfest. We are at the end of the year and we are at the stage where we have to hold tight and wait until we know if it’s in the best interests of running the event.
Boudikath: I think the people who held off the longest was Jim Beerman (Beermageddon) and now Badgerfest have also had to sadly postpone.
Sheri: I think we will just have to completely write off 2020, in the case of events.
Blistyg: I think it’s a time where you can learn new skills.
Sheri: Absolutely. We were talking about your writing and your challenges! What are your best memories as a band? I mean you’ve played some pretty cool places and festivals…
Blistyg: Manchester and York are always fun. York is the one that stands out.
Battlebeast: North is always the best to play for me, Manchester and so on… I know Birmingham isn’t technically north but we like playing in Birmingham, Nottingham or Manchester and Sheffield. It just feels better. We just have a larger audience. Whereas if you’re playing local here, you get like… two guys and a dog. Haha!
Boudikath: Down here it’s all Thrash really isn’t it?
Battlebeast: Yeah that’s the thing, it’s either Thrash or Hardcore.
Blistyg: Even though our hometown gig in Bury there were loads of people, there were the most metal heads I’ve ever seen in that place.
Sheri: Each place does seem to have their own majority of audience – y’know. I know that Brighton changes from Extreme Death Metal and now there are a lot more Prog and Hardcore bands around. It’s sometimes harder to get other genres introduced to new places.
Helbard: I just want to say about Manchester – I always feel like we are a little bit cursed when it comes to Manchester because the first time we played there, we overran. I remember having a really hard gig because I didn’t have anything to eat before the gig and had an issue with running out of steam half way through. The second time we played in Manchester, we got heckled because I kept addressing Manchester as Sheffield haha!
Battlebeast: Oh yeah, yeah!!
Helbard: And I’ll tell you why… we were playing Sheffield the next day and that Sheffield gig had been a total nightmare as a plan and everything. So the whole weekend I thought “This Sheffield gig, man, I’m dreading it, it’s gonna be crap.” Like… Sheffield, Sheffield, Sheffield… and I was so pre-occupied with the Sheffield gig that I was dreading that I got on stage in Manchester and I was like “Hello Sheffield!!”
Sheri: OH LORD!
Boudikath: To be fair though, Manchester was a nice crowd in general, I just think everyone was a bit pissed and a bit pissed off that you called it Sheffield haha!
Battlebeast: Third time the charm, Andy.
Helbard: Fun times!
Sheri: Happy days! Hahaha. Viking and Folk metal genres are getting more of a light shone on them these days – in your opinion, do you feel this has been overlooked and why?
Helbard: I think everything comes around doesn’t it?
Boudikath: I think the reach is bigger now.
Battlebeast: The internet has more of a gateway for people to listen to other bands – there’s loads of forums and platforms now.
Blistyg: It’s also to do with how it’s – that theme has now become quite popular you know, with Game of Thrones, Skyrim and so on…
Boudikath: Yeah there’s a lot of branching on gateway kind of stuff that brings people back to this kind of music so…
Sheri: It’s always good to have something new but I wish this all came out earlier or was more accessible to reach as Viking and Folk metal is based on essentially history and mythology, which History teaches us.
Atorc: Absolutely, yeah.
Boudikath: I would like to say as well that I think there aren’t many bands like us in that we have the power metal vocal in the folk element. It’s a lot more than kind of I’d say black metal vocal that goes along with it normally, whereas I don’t know of any other Folk Metal band that has the Power Metal vocals.
Thor: There’s a lot that in the new Ensiferum album though, isn’t there, Tilly?
Battlebeast: Yeah there is but I don’t think – I think they’re trying to catch on to the trend. Because I can see that there’s a lot more other Folk Metal bands doing the Power Metal side of things – not saying we are the cause of that at all!
Boudikath: I’d say though that the Power Metal bands that I’ve seen; it’s always been the female vocal that stood high. Which is what we don’t have. I do the lower vocal and Andy does the higher vocals.
Thor: Which is different to other things.
Sheri: What goes through your minds whilst playing live?
Battlebeast: Nothing…hahaha. When you’re on stage, you’re basically just going for it. You’re just having fun; nothing comes to you.
Sheri: You just live it.
Battlebeast: Absolutely. You just rock out with your…
Boudikath: No Tilly, we don’t do that hahaha.
Sheri: Choose a drinking game to represent Atorc and we will have to play it a festival next year.
Helbard: It’s what I call Drinking The Beer hahaha
Blistyg: We could play Forky Forky.**
Battlebeast: Ahhh Forky Forky!
Blistyg: I wanted to play that at Bloodstock last year, but no one seemed to be playing it.
Helbard: It kind of died off.
Blistyg: Maybe we can do that as a band haha.
(** Forky Forky for those not in the know is a game where the rules are that a metal fork (with four prongs) and a courgette are involved. You must score 1,000 points. The courgette is placed in the middle of a circle of people and the fork is lobbed at the courgette so that it has to stick into the courgette erect to win 1,000 points. Otherwise you can achieve getting 1,000 points if the fork lands in the ground at a more than 45-degree angle. The player that gets the fork erect in the courgette then wins the game and has to take a bite of the courgette.)
Boudikath: Let’s paint the courgette blue!
THUS, ATORCY FORKY WAS BORN!!!
Sheri: That’s a thing now.
Atorc: We will play this at Bloodstock next year haha.
Sheri: Finally, What advise have you got for other people who want to do what you do and be where you are?
Battlebeast: Just don’t give up, if you get knocked down, keep on trying.
Boudikath: Be different.
Helbard: Have an image. I think everyone’s burned out on seeing guys in just black tees and cargo shorts, wearing converse. You know, we are in a good time for bands to be a bit theatrical and try and do something different you know. Put on a show. People want to put on a show.
Dont either be afraid of being ridiculous. If you think it might be a bit ridiculous – most things that people love are things that are a bit ridiculous but done really well.
Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys, I really appreciate you talking to me.
Atorc: Thank you Sheri, this has been awesome!
Rick Here; With the interview complete Atorc trundled off into the socially distant horizon to search for battles anew! I would like to thank the band and Sheri for a great interview!
To read Sheri’s full review of Atorc’s album “Under The Raven Banner” then hit the following link:
To keep up with everything Atorc related then click the following links:
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Ensiferum – Thalassic Metal Blade Records Release Date: 10/07/2020 Running Time: 43:46 Review by Beth Jones 10/10
Well hello metal followers! Tis Sunday here at Ever Metal base camp. The idiots of our nation have gone back to the pub and the entire of England now has a collective hangover to deal with, as well as intense stupidity! But here in our little corner of Wales, we’re still being sensible. So, what better way to get our Sunday morning metal worship underway, than with a hefty dose of Folk inspired Melodic Death Metal from stalwarts of the genre, Ensiferum, in the shape of their new, and 8th studio album, “Thalassic”.
Hailing from the rugged shores of Finland, Ensiferum have been kicking it for a considerable length of time now, releasing their first album, of the same name, in 2001. They continue to delight fans globally with their brand of metal. It’s been three years since the release of their last album, “Two Paths”, and in that time they’ve been keeping themselves busy, writing, and exploring musically, in order to produce this new release.
Littered with huge orchestrations and traditional folk instrumentations, this album is the first of theirs to be based around one centralised theme: water and the sea. And it could not be a more fitting theme both for this style of music, and for the origins of the band. So much myth, legend and folklore are borne from the idea of the mystical waters that it provides a wealth of material to be explored.
And if there’s one thing that Ensiferum do spectacularly well here, it’s exploring. And after they’ve finished exploring, they’ve chucked everything they’ve found in the boat, and make it sing! It may only be the morning here, as I write this, but I really feel that I should have a large flagon of ale, and an equally large flagon of rum to enhance my listening experience!
The album begins with the sound of crashing waves, swirling wind, and the creaking bows of a ship. This progresses into the initial lamenting sounds of ‘Seafarer’s Dream’, an orchestrated opener to the album, with rolling timpani and strings setting the scene, and instantly bringing to mind wide shots of a grand vessel setting sail, big budget Hollywood period drama style.
And, what’s the first thing all good seafarers of olde want to do, once the shore is out of sight? Have a goddamn party, that’s what! And the second track, ‘Rum, Women, Victory’ provides the perfect soundtrack. Fast paced, ripping riffs, crazy folk fiddle, and chanted choruses make this a ridiculously riotous and bouncy track and I love it!
The album continues on in this style, melding folk fiddle, flute and Bodhran, with full string sections, chunky riffs, metronomic drumming at speed, and stunning melodies and guitar solos. This is all topped off with huge vocal diversity; crystal clear clean vocals, pentatonic harmonies, and guttural roars and screams, which not only deliver some fantastic lyrics, but also add so much colour and excitement to this already exciting sound.
And just when you think you’ve got the measure of this album; you get gifted with little extras – a whistling section akin to an old western movie soundtrack in ‘The Defence Of The Sampo’ being one such example.
From beautiful acoustic melancholy, to fluttering sea shanties, to rowing songs and rip-roaring pirate partying, this album has everything you need to cheer up a dull day.
Production wise it is equally brilliant. “Thalassic” was recorded and produced in Petrax and Sonic Pump studios by Janne Joutsenniemi, who is a renowned name in the industry, and has worked with the band before, so quality and precision were always a dead cert for this album. Everything is balanced and spaced perfectly, producing the depth and immersion that you would expect from a large live orchestral experience.
Its full-on cinematic qualities make it one of the most tangible albums I have heard this year. An absolute blinder of a record, stunning musicality, immense talent not just instrumentally, but in the sense of clever musical vision, AND they don’t have to fade out a single track to end it – see it can be done! These guys truly are the real deal, and long may it continue!
TRACKLISTING: 01. Seafarer’s Dream 02. Rum, Women, Victory 03. Andromeda 04. The Defence Of The Sampo 05. Run From The Crushing Tide 06. For Sirens 07. One With The Sea 08. Midsummer Magic 09. Cold Northland Vainamoinen Part III) 10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track) 11. I’ll Stay By Your Side (Bonus Track)
LINE-UP: Petri Lindroos – Vocals/Guitar Markus Toivonen – Guitar/Vocals Sami Hinkka – Bass/Vocals Janne Parviainen – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Brothers of Metal – Emblas Saga AFM Records Release Date: 10/01/2020 Running Time: 55:06 Review by Tsarina Wilson 10/10 (Would have given it more than 10 if I could)
When I receive a new band to review, I tend to listen to the
first two tracks and see if I can get an idea of their look before looking at a
photo. I had an idea of Vikings in boats with torches held high, then I looked
more into the band and wow I wasn’t far off. One thing you can say about “Emblas
Saga” is that it’s non-stop brilliant. From the opening seconds it’s pure enjoyment
with superb drumming, awesome guitar riffs and amazing vocals. For someone,
like me, who loves things to do with Odin, Vikings and Norse history this is
just a perfect album!
Brothers of Metal are definitely not your run of the mill
metal band, they are more like adult Nordic story tellers with a hellava lot of
metal but also with fun twists added, if you listen carefully! “Emblas Saga”
twists and turns like the ‘Powersnake’ of track two. They take you on a journey
within the stories and its like being on their Viking ship in rough seas with
the constant up and down tempo.
This is the second album from the Scandinavian eight-piece
band, who burst through your speakers like a thunderstorm on steroids, their
first “Prophecy Of Ragnarök” was released in 2017. “Emblas Saga” is catchy and
powerful but doesn’t lose its HEAVY appeal. If you add in the Nordic overtones
it is superb
The female vocals of Ylva Eriksson are so clear yet have
such power in them. Listen to the tracks ‘Powersnake’ and ‘Weaver Of Fate’ and
you will understand what I mean. Joakim Eriksson’s vocals are powerful, raspy
and gruff but compliment Ylva’s so well and you can still hear every word.
Other members of the band are Mats Nilsson (vocals), Emil Wärmedal (bass),
Dawid Grahn (guitars), Pähr Nilsson (guitars), Mikael Fehrm (guitars) and Johan
Johansson on drums and they all come together like a Nordic family of story
With catchy choruses and continuous epic instrumentation this
is a joy, for instance, check out the drumming in ‘Ride Of The Valkyries’ which
is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album. Once again Ylva’s voice
just makes the track but the fast drumming and guitar riffs will have you
holding your pint of mead up in the air and singing along (just don’t try air
guitaring or drumming at the same time!) Brothers Of Metal pull absolutely no
punches and if you look up their videos on YouTube you’ll see that they have a
great time making their music. They aren’t your stereotypical metal band and it
sets them apart which is so refreshing when so many bands sound the same or
very much alike. You get a mix of storytelling, folk, and a massive amount of
metal but it’s all 100% brilliant.
When it comes to influences then there is some Manowar, and
Amon Amarth (who are more death metal) (Rick here – I would also add Rage,
Battle Beast and Beast In Black), however, Brothers of Metal have a much
clearer and crisper vocal approach. ‘Hel’ is perfect proof of this with truly
gruff vocals yet Ylva once again takes you from power singing the chorus to a solo
vocal ending. It’s haunting, eerie, goose bump producing and the hairs on my
arms stood on end…and ‘Chain Breaker’ is a thumper from the start and doesn’t
give up, the lyrics, once again, taking you take you off to metal storyland,
for example, “The leash could not domesticate, the violent beast within, and
when the bane of Odin howls, the eternal night begins” They have such
enthusiasm and passion for their music and that comes through time and time
On Brothers of Metal Facebook page they say “Wimps and
posers beware, for true metal is here” (surely a cheeky nod to Manowar) and
saying that their little quirks had me laughing in the track ‘Theft Of The
Hammer’, which is a belter but also includes the line “Give it back at once you
thief or I’ll go tell my dad” and the reference to ‘Hammer Time’ which was a
great add, well done to you guys for that one. They may be passionate and have
produced an absolutely wonderful album but moments like these prove they aren’t
afraid to poke fun at themselves as well!
TRACKLISTING: 01. Brood Of The Trickster 02. Powersnake 03. Hel 04. Chain Breaker 05. Kauaz Dagaz 06. Theft Of The Hammer 07. Weaver Of Fate 08. Njord 09. Emblas Saga 10. Brothers Unite 11. One 12. Ride Of The Valkyries 13. To The Skies And Beyond
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Elvenking – Reader Of The Runes: Divination AFM Records Release Date: 30/08/2019 Running Time: 52:34 Review by Mark Pritchard 10/10
I’ve had a lot going on personally, but for the last few weeks I’ve been
listening to Italian Folk Power Metal Band Elvenking’s recent album, “Reader Of
The Runes: Divination”. It has certainly kept me busy, and it has been great to
grab a few moments to sit back and listen. I’m quite a fan of the genre and
these guys, along with this album, is no exception. They use quite a lot of
string sounds, and I don’t know what it is, but the inclusion of violins always
makes me enjoy songs that little bit more. Even though listening to the album has
been really great and relaxing, it isn’t a slouch. Lancs’ drumming, whether it’s
nice and calm or fast and intense, along with the beautiful playing of both
Aydan and Rafahel on guitars, and Jakob and Lethien on bass and violin
respectively, make it a musical masterpiece! Add in to that the amazing vocals
of Damna and, for me, you have as close to a perfect album as you’ll ever get,
and certainly an awesome listening experience.
song, the album grows stronger. Whether it’s the haunting close harmony
melodies, or full on power metal riffs, I can’t get enough, and this album will
definitely by high up on my play list for a long time to come. The album starts
with a track called, ‘Perthro’, which is a calm, ethereal introduction, and actually
gives me chills. It sets the tone of the album brilliantly, with clever
instrumentation, and wonderful harmonies. I really like the use of instrumentals
throughout the album, which maintain the pace and tone of the music, with no
drop in enjoyment. The listening journey that Elvenking have created gives you
both fast and powerful, as well as some calmer songs, making it both relaxing,
but intense in equal measures. For me, “Reader Of The Runes: Divination” is a
real standout album.
The Runes: Divination’ is an easy 10 out of 10! I absolutely love this album
and I can’t stop listening to it! Every track is a standout song, but there’s
one I feel stands above the others, and that is the second track, ‘Heathen
Divine’. The acoustic guitar introduction slowly moves into the main song,
creating a real intensity that I really like. It has been a great pleasure
having the chance to review this album and has been a welcome break from the
stresses and strains of the day-to-day grind. A highly recommended choice for
anyone liking their power metal with plenty of folk influence!
01. Perthro 02. Heathen Divine 03. Divination 04. Silverseal 05. The Misfortune Of Virtue 06. Eternal Eleanor 07. Diamonds In The Night 08. Under The Sign Of A Black Star 09. Malefica Doctrine 10. Sic Semper Tyrannis 11. Warden Of The Bane 12. Reader Of The Runes – Book I
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Atorc – Under The Raven Banner Independent Release Date: 04/04/2019 Running Time: 42:06 Review by Sheri Bicheno 8/10
Hailing from Suffolk, Battle Hardened Folk Metal Warriors, Atorc were formed in 2012. Their latest offering “Under The Raven Banner” comes two years after their first release, EP “Seven Tales Of Swords And Ale.”
They have been absolutely storming the UK, performing their tales and leaving audiences in sheer awe.
First look into the debut album and ‘OOOOOH MY GOODNESS THAT BEAUTIFUL INTRO’! Once first track ‘Hrafnsmerki’ starts, you visualise a landscape of misty mountains and lakes. A Norse linguist passage over Huldra’s violin is stunning here and sets off the album with a calming, yet anticipating medieval ambience.
Then we are thrown into title track “Under The Raven Banner” and this is a prime example of what Atorc are capable of delivering. This brings us that anticipated power and Viking metal mix, with harsher growls and vocals, a slight Iron Maiden vibe, from the power of vocalist Helbard. This tells us tales of riding into war, victory and glory bearing the symbolic flag that was historically flown by Viking chieftains and rulers.
Third track ‘The Mead Hall’ is notably catchy… “We drink, we fight, we dance all night”.
This is something the audience would want to join in on during Atorc’s live performances. The track starts off with a mix of tones and it can be hard to keep up until you get to that catchy chorus – then you’re catapulted into wanting to join in on this fun venture, horn of mead in hand, headbanging and swaying to the violins.
My favourite track, in regards to the way it is constructed, is definitely ‘Hammer To Anvil’ – this track see’s everyone‘s skills prominently on display. Boudikath’s keyboards and backing vocals complement Helbard’s very strong vocal features and give a soothing effect along with Huldra on violin. The guitar and bass from Scallywag and BattleBeast with their melodic and heavy riffing are something to behold. Vilir gives us drums that work well with the guitars, both incredibly fast paced with wonderful cymbal work in the melodic parts. This is a beautiful track and I’m looking forward to seeing it live.
Track ‘Ragnarok’ similarly stands out to me – this has more death growls and builds quite a variety of moods as the progresses. This is my favourite track on the whole album.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of power and folk metal, I’d say this album is the one for you. I have seen Atorc perform three times and they are deservedly making a name for themselves for when people suggest a folk metal band to follow.
2. Under The Raven Banner
3. The Mead Hall
4. Hammer To Anvil
5. Maidens Of The Shield
7. Voice Of The Storm
8. Isle Of The Brave
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.