We all know the score in entertainment: 90% of the people are full-tilt Left-leaning, and the remaining 10% have to hide their views until they are too big and too old to fear repercussions. A Swedish folk-rock duo named Lilou & John have launched a website, Belzebubbles, to feature Right-leaning bands who have been censored or ignored by the entertainment establishment.59 Comments
Article by Johan P.
This text is a continuation of the previously published article, The Difficulties of Folk Metal. As stated in Part I, the threefold aim of this multi-part article is, in rough terms, to: 1. Give a short introduction to the subject, 2. Point out some of the difficulties connected with integrating folk music into metal and finally, 3. Provide alternative methods of integration. Part II will be dedicated to the second part of this quest.
Naturally, there are limits regarding the scope of my endeavor – the most obvious demarcation being that the article primarily focuses on Swedish folk music. In my view, the critique of folk metal is an ongoing project, and this article should not be seen as an exhaustive treatment of the subject at hand.
So, if someone else out there finds the subject interesting, you are more than welcome to make contributions. It could be in the form of additional material (metal or folk related) and complementary ideas to enhance the project. For example, the depth and applicability of the arguments presented below would surely benefit if the scope could be expanded to include other forms of traditional music.42 Comments
Article by Johan P.
I’ve never been overly impressed by the folk metal phenomenon, which emerged in the middle of the 1990s and began to gain popularity some years later. I do not mean to imply that there isn’t any good folk music out there. On the contrary, there’s a lot of rewarding traditional music to discover. Many musicians – metallers included – have realized that their respective countries’ folk music reservoir is a gold mine for potential ideas to integrate into more modern forms of music. It was on these premises that folk metal was born. However, if the source material is to be successfully re-animated and be brought into metal or any other genre, it requires some serious work from the composer and performer. Most folk metal bands fail at this point for a variety of reasons, with the end-result often sounding like bad heavy metal adorned with folk-melodies that have been stripped of all subtlety to fit into a rock-based harmonic and structural environment.34 Comments
A forthcoming journal on folk-metal, mostly in the pagan metal and viking metal sub-genres, requests that those with essays on the topic submit them for publication next year. The journal focuses on metal bands who use traditional musical instruments, lyrical references to customs and mythology, allusions to traditional culture, or displaying of cultural imagery in performer attire and artwork.
Folk-metal refers to the style of music that arose in the 1990s in Europe which consisted of “fusing traditional or folk music with heavy metal music forms.” The journal lists a number of bands from the power metal, black metal and death metal genres who qualify under this style:
Skyclad (England), Cruachan (Ireland), Finntroll (Finland), Skyforger (Latvia), Amon Amarth (Sweden), Amorphis (Finland), Falkenbach (Germany), Waylander (Ireland), Svartsot (Denmark), Metsatöll (Estonia), Empyrium (Germany), Mägo de Oz (Spain), Silent Stream of Godless Elegy (Czech Republic), Korpiklaani (Finland), Mael Mórdha (Ireland), Alkonost (Russia), Balkandji (Bulgaria), Dalriada (Hungary), Lumsk (Norway), Týr (Faroe Islands), Ensiferum (Finland), Celtachor (Ireland), Eluveitie (Switzerland), Elvenking (Italy), Primordial (Ireland).
Interested writers must submit a 300-word abstract and short biography of 50-100 words to to the editor, Dr Jenny Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org and cc. to butler.Jennifer@gmail.com by November 10, 2014. The final essays must be 4,000-7,000 words and will be due by June 1, 2015.
The journal suggests the following themes as a topical starting point:
- Folklore, song lyrics, and cultural identity
- Neo-pagan worldview of the bands
- History of the genre, participants and events
- Indigenous religion and mythology
- Political and/or nationalistic agendas
- The concept of homeland
- The representation of deities and mythological beings in songs
- Heroic elements
- Fantasy literature
- Nature, landscape and sacred sites
The semi-reclusive Varg Vikernes, sole composer of Burzum, has announced his plans to release a film and a new role-playing game (RPG). As part of the film project, he has revealed a new track designed to act as part of a soundtrack for the film.
As if influenced by some of the non-black-metal soundtrack material from the film Until the Light Takes Us in which Vikernes, as in Lords of Chaos, the most in-depth story of black metal before it, Vikernes opts for a down-tempo single guitar track with no distortion.
The result utilizes a slow and gentle sweeping arpeggio behind which lower notes direct the evolution of the track, much as happened with the countertheme in “Rundgang um die transzendentale Säule Der Singularität” from Filosofem. As the song goes on, these layers interact to push change into the main theme, not in the electronica method of circular layers, but the metal one of a narrative expanding from within itself.
It is hard to tell if this is the type of material that will be on the forthcoming Burzum album Sôl austan, Mâni vestan. While many consider the “keyboard albums” among the band’s best output, a mixed-medium album could be interesting. While this new track has one foot in that world, it also has one foot in the more audience-geared world of the last few Burzum black metal albums.19 Comments
I don’t even know what to categorize this music as, but it’s equal parts soundtrack (Basil Poledouris, Vangelis, Ennio Morricone), neofolk (Hekate, Arcana), ambient (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream) and synthpop (VNV Nation). The result is epic keyboard music that fills the soul with a sense of ancient glory. The best known example is Lord Wind, but others have touched on this idea in the past and slowly a movement is building around it.
The latest attempt, sound like like VNV Nation crossed with Vangelis, is Winglord:
Check them out at the official Winglord site.No Comments
Counting among the longest running US black metal institutions to date, Black Funeral has given birth to a motley collection of musical works over the last twenty-five years, spanning regional adaptions of Northern European black metal, over dark ambient and archaic/industrial drones, through the Les Legions Noires-styled raw melodic approach of later years.17 Comments
Dark, brooding, and long cloaked in obscurity, the harmonic minor scale is a compelling collective of notes that has historically been used as an accent to minor key compositions. For centuries only a handful of pieces had been written within its bounds as composers instead opted to weave in for a number of measures before an eventual progression into the natural minor scale. From there it appeared again in a few folk songs, took a strong spiritual presence in Islamic culture, and later became an integral part of horror movies when they progressed into the frightening mediums they became in the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the musicians of the early Swedish death metal scene discovered how to fully harness the scale’s potential that lengthy songs and even the majority of some albums began being composed within its bounds. A truly grotesque wedlock, the scale gave he who wielded it the power to craft the most sinister and foreboding compositions possible within the laws of music. It is for this reason one could attest that the minor harmonic scale has found a home in heavy metal that no other genre of music could provide.
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