With long-standing bands like Elvenking and Equilibrium still putting out quality albums, it’s evident that folk metal is alive and well. The following is a diverse list of folk metal bands formed in the past five years that prove that the legacy of the genre is in good hands.
KormaK – Italy, 2014
The metal put forth by KormaK is some truly heavy stuff. Their first album, Faerenus, was released in June 2018. Beyond the deep content and melodic death metal sound, leading lady Zaira de Candia’s harsh vocals take KormaK to another level; her sheer versatility is already enough to impress, but, man, can this woman growl. The acoustic parts are tasteful and the songwriting is anything but one-dimensional.
Despite having since released one new single, entitled ‘Brigante se More’, KormaK will surely leave you impatiently waiting for their next record.
Blodiga Skald – Italy, 2014
I love these guys; their act, complete with tacky Norseman garb, super-corny nicknames (such as “The Glorious One” and “Shepherd Tamburine”), and even painted on abs, is exceedingly befitting of a folk band. While the entire band displays impressive technical ability, vocalist Anton Caleniuc (stage name ‘Axuruk “Jejune”‘) deserves some special recognition. Between his hilarious stage presence, throaty growls, and bouncy personality, he adds a special flavour to an already splendid band.
In the wake of so many bands with heavily emotional content, many people seem to forget that one of folk music’s primary purposes is to be fun. Not to worry, however, because Blodiga Skald will do a fantastic job at reminding you to loosen up.
Cronica – Poland, 2014
With three vocalists, a violin, keyboards, and flute parts, Cronica’s Na Tej Ziemi (October 2016) delivers a beautiful, full-sounding folk tribute with plenty of variety. The feel is light and the electric guitar mixing is toned down, allowing for greater ease in hearing each individual part.
No one musician sticks out, but that only enhances the cohesion of the group as a whole. While not my favourite band on this list, they lack no talent and are surely worth checking out.
FoxTale – Russia, 2015
Foxtale’s first release, Сказания севера, was put out December 2017. The sound is of the epic, power-metally variety, and, while no one song is exceptional, the album is pleasant to listen to.
FoxTale’s style isn’t anything new, but I can’t share a folk list without a band that sings of the glory and might of the gods (and trolls). The songs are entertaining and structured well enough to keep from being banal.
Rumproof – Hungary, 2014
No folk metal list could be complete without a healthy dose of pirate metal. Featuring the typical ale-driven shanties and lively instrumentation, Rumproof’s music makes for a much more light-hearted listen than most of the other bands on this list.
Rogues of the Seven Seas was put out in April 2018, delivering all the familiar high-seas antics without boring you into walking the plank. Despite the silly tropes that may seem overdone, Rumproof still does a good job at remaining likable and stays afloat. The band is surprisingly tight, Péter Szűcs’ guitar solos are killer, and the instrumentals are dynamic.
Chrysilia – Greece, 2015
Chrysilia is the brainchild of lead vocalist Chryso Stamatopoulou and keyboardist/composer Elias Pero. Their first and only full-length album release to date, Et in Arcadia Ego, blends elements of symphonic metal into their own flavour of folk metal, which, combined with the crisp production quality and Stamatopoulou’s soft vocals, creates an more relaxed, immersive experience.
Iomair – Canada, 2017
Canadian prog-folk metallers Iomair came together in late 2017 under the design of multi-talented songwriter, drummer, and clean vocalist Dylan Gowan. The band’s influences range from latin music, to funk, and, in case you haven’t figured out yet, folk and metal.
Iomair’s self-titled album came out in September 2018, with recurring themes of internal reflection and struggle. The violin, played by Laura C. Bates, is prominent throughout, and there are plenty of short, jazzy breaks that set Iomair aside as something new and unique. Despite the sorrowful content, the music seldom conveys too much doom-and-gloom.
Remember when I said folk metal is meant to be fun? Well, have fun!
Stay Metal \m/