Subgenre of the Week: Folk Metal

Another week, another subgenre. Arguably the best thing about a Monday. This week, the Horns Up blog brings you the wide-ranging sounds of Folk Metal.

eluveitie
Swiss folk metal heroes Eluveitie

Let’s tap into Wikipedia for a little bit of a description:

Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that developed in Europe during the 1990s, a fusion of heavy metal and traditional folk music. This includes the widespread use of folk instruments and, to a lesser extent, traditional singing styles…

Ok, so that’s pretty damn broad. But the fact is, the genre itself is rather far-reaching. The implementation of folk instruments such as flutes, bagpipes, and violins along with traditional metal instruments allows for the diverse characteristic that folk metal is known for. For example, it’s tough to compare the somber, ambient sounds of Agalloch and put them together with, say, the melodious and technical Ensiferum. It is not uncommon for a group to have upwards of six, seven, or eight members due to the inclusion of the folk instruments. This brings sounds that can be tied back to black metal, power metal, thrash metal, death metal… you know name it and there’s a band that will give it to you. But this diversity it what makes the genre so enjoyable.

How about some history? It wasn’t until more recently that the genre really expanded upon itself in sound and popularity. In the early 1990s, it was primarily just English bands Golgotha and Skyclad that brought us folk metal as we know it. Once the 2000s kicked in, folk metal really grew. This was most significant in Finland with bands Finntroll, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, and Moonsorrow. The genre stayed prominent through the decade in Finland bringing us the likes of Wintersun and Turisas later on. While the genre really took root in Scandinavia, contributions also emerged throughout Europe thanks to the likes of Switzerland’s Eluveitie, Italy’s Elvenking, and Russia’s Arkona. The United States can be thanked (profusely) for bringing us Agalloch, but aside from the Portland, Oregon based group, folk metal is considerably more rare in this area of the world.

Anyway, enough of that. It would take a lot of time and a lot of pages to fully go through the depths of this subgenre (and don’t threaten me with a good time…this is a genre I very much enjoy). So instead of having me spell it out, why don’t we just give it a listen?

Corey’s Tracks:

  • Agalloch – “I am the Wooden Doors”
  • Wintersun – “Sleeping Stars”
  • Eluveitie – “Neverland”
  • Turisas – “Stand Up and Fight”
  • Skyforger – “Oh Fog, Oh Dew”

Dan’s Tracks:

  • Primodial – “Heathen Tribes”
  • Arkona – “Na strazhe novyh let”
  • Equilibrium – “Unbesiegt”
  • Finntroll – “Födosagan”
  • Orphaned Land – “The Path Part 1 – Treading Through Darkness”
  • Orphaned Land – “The Path Part 2 – The Pilgrimage to Or Shalem”

And the subsequent playlist for your ear holes:

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Prost.

-Corey

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.

Stage Dive: What’s the most metal food?

It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for Stage Dive, a new segment where we jump into the audience (get it?) and let you weigh in on a particular question! Most of these will be tied to metal in some way, shape or form, but occasionally we may stray into non-metal topics, like movies, art, or the genus, species and classification of Frankie Palmeri’s mother. This week, however, our question is:

WHAT’S THE MOST METAL FOOD?

via MetalMonstrosity.com
via MetalMonstrosity.com

We’ll give our responses below, but encourage you to participate as well by leaving your thoughts in the comments section. That way, if we disagree, we can just file you under “Internet commenters are the lowest form of humanity” and be done with it!

…only kidding. We’ll file you under “Frankie Palmeri.” At any rate, here are our takes on things:

DAN:

There were a number of different routes I wanted to go with this, but ultimately, I think it’s gotta be a turkey leg. You know, those enormous roasted ones you get at renaissance festivals–hot, juicy and cooked to multiple shades of orange and tan, where the fat and skin are just dripping off the things. There’s your start–messy food is definitely metal food. But let’s take it further. When you get a turkey leg, you’re eating delicious meat straight off the bone, and there’s just something so primal about that! I know you can technically say the same for a chicken leg as well, but think about the size difference between the two; you can hold an entire chicken leg in your hand, but you’ve gotta grasp that turkey leg like a weapon. Which brings me to my last point, once the bone’s been licked clean (whether by you or maybe an eager canine), you’ve got yourself one hell of a club to battle with. Or hit a drum with. Or just throw away. Turkey legs…no question. I guarantee you these guys have my back on this.


COREY:

Well, this one took a little more deliberation than I thought it would. But it ended up being a fairly obvious choice. At first, I was thinking anything pork related. The idea of a pig roast crossed my mind. Think about it. It’s tough to get more metal than burning and devouring an entire pig carcass. Besides, going with pig would obviously get Behemoth’s approval, and we all know how important that is. (Yes, I did find a way to bring Behemoth into this, thanks for asking.) But then I thought…”Jesus! Literally!” Well, metaphorically. The one food I would consider more metal than pig is lamb. For those unaware, Jesus is often referred to as the Lamb of God. See, even I know something about Christianity (but even then, only thanks to these guys). If I had to pick a dish, I would go with lamb chops. They’re delicious. Anyway, back to my point. The idea of mutilating and then dismembering Metaphorical-Jesus for personal consumption is about as metal of a concept, not just food related, as I can possibly conceive. Metaphorical-Jesus…it’s what’s for dinner.


What do you think? Post your take in the comments!

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.