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Tales from Bandcamp: Empires of Ash by Sojourner


a0681834603_10I always appreciate when a band chooses a name that aptly describes what their sound is. Even more when they live up to it. Dream Theater, Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Cannibal Corpse, to name a few. With a lofty name like sojourner there is lofty expectations for the music to take me on one hell of a journey across sprawling landscapes and through magical realms. And boy does this debut of theirs deliver.

As equally majestic as it is furious, Empires of Ash channels that epic spirit of black metal bands like Summoning, Saor, and even Emperor. What really sets Sojourner apart from their contemporaries for me is how well they weave the folk instruments into their songs; a variety of flutes, piano, and cheesy-as-fuck synths (and I mean that in the best way possible) pour personality into the music. When ever they make an appearance they really heighten the atmosphere and give just the right amount of spine-tingling punch. Add in a smattering of pristine medieval-styled female vocals to break up the throaty rasps and the mystical element is delightfully accentuated. I also really appreciate the diversity of the songs on the record as well as the songs themselves. Some have touches of doom others bask in ballad territory. Each one has its own distinctive touch yet they all flow well together. This is definitely an album to be appreciated as a whole rather than piecemeal.

So, yeah, if you love yourself some epic folky black metal, do check Empires of Ash out. I see myself really taking a many trip with these Sojourners.  As always, give it a listen and if you dig it go dig in your couch or back seat for some spare change to toss to the artists, they deserve it. Annoy your friends with recommendations too!!!  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

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Roundtable album review: Wolfhorde – Towards the Gates of North


WolfehordeLabel: Inverse Records

Release Date: 22 January 2016

Songs: 9

Length: 45 minutes

Genre: Folk Metal

Studio Albums: Deathknot (2010), Nyvinland (EP, 2012)

Location: Keuruu, Finland

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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 8/10


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Parrots dance to music they like. Few types of birds do. Parrots, however, move to music in ways they never move to anything else. They ignore slow beats, so there are few if any funeral doom parrots. If you want a dancing parrot, play speed metal. That gets them moshing, bobbing their heads up and down while they shuffle from side to side like goofed-out metalheads.

I mention this because I don’t have a parrot. If I get one I’ll call her Thrasher. If I can find a male to mate with her, she’ll hatch out metal chicks.

There are no parrot songs in my selections for today.

 

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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 4/10


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I’ve loved music since the day I was born. I remember it well. The midwife delivered me just after eight in the morning on February 9, 1950. I thought she had kind eyes. My opinion changed when she snipped my umbilical cord.

My mother combed my fur and said to the midwife, “It’s interesting.” Then she added, “What species is it?”

“We’ll know soon,” the midwife replied. “We’ve sent some of its blood to the entomologists and some of its pollen to the botanists. Meanwhile, train it to climb a trellis and play it something with good riffs.” My mother chose these albums for me and I’ve loved them through all the subsequent decades.

Could that be why there’s cross-genre strain of psychedelia in today’s selections?

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Album Review: Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen


a3878480350_10For how much metal delves into histories of their nations I’ve always been rather disappointed that the Native Americans are so poorly represented.  Sure, there are songs about the Native Americans and even bands that capture the atmosphere of the spiritual aspects of Native American culture, but until now nothing I’ve heard has been full on Native American; capturing the history, the nature, and the spiritualism.  Having a large part of my heritage being Native American (I’m of Seneca descent and grew up in NJ, a Lenni-Lenape region) I’ve always had interest in Native American culture, in particular the music.  Naturally there’s always been a desire to want to hear the traditional music and tales blended with my favorite form of music, heavy metal (obviously).  So you can imagine my glee when I saw that our very own Irmelnis had posted on her Facebook wall a link to an album preview for Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen, a full on Native American metal band.  Not only did they come from a label I’m really starting to come to admire quite a bit (Bindrune Records) who hosts some amazing artist like Panopticon and Falls of Rauros but also integrate Lenape and other Eastern Woodlands Native American history and lore into their music.  Damn straight I went right to the Metal State inbox to see if we had gotten a promo of the record.  And oh yes we did, and oh yes am I more than content and have bought the entire discography already.  Where has this band been my whole life? Read the rest of this entry

Roundtable Review: Sleep at the Edge of the Earth by Wilderun


a1806077540_10Label: Self-released

Release Date: 7 April 2015

Songs: 9

Length: 54 minutes

Genre: Progressive Folk Metal

Studio Albums: Olden Tales & Deathly Trails (2012)

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Tales from Bandcamp: Sleep at the Edge of the Earth by Wilderun


a1806077540_10Here’s a fun one for you guys.  Parts sword swinging, beer swilling folk metal, nut crunching death and black metal, parts Opeth-ian prog dynamics, and parts shatteringly beautiful nature metal.  Pretty much, for me, everything this record does check off on my unwritten list of this that make me love a record.
I really don’t have much to say other than I just wanted to make you all aware of this kick-ass batch of tunes.  Great songwriting that is brutal, beautiful, and above all, absolutely fun to listen to over and over again.  Well worth the 7 clams.  Fans of Opeth, Ensiferum, Turisas, and Eluvetie should not skip this one.  Don’t think, trust me, buy it!!!!!
Give it a spin and let us know what you thought.

Album Review: Ensiferum – One Man Army


Ensiferum-One-Man-ArmyAlbum:  One Man Army

Label:  Metal Blade

Song:  15 (including four bonus tracks)

Length:  68 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Ensiferum (2001); Iron (2004); Victory Songs (2007); From Afar (2009); Unsung Heroes (2012)

Genre:  Folk Metal

Location:  Finland

I like the opening riff to One Man Army (the song not the album).  It isn’t revolutionary in terms of guitar riffing, but the way it kicks off the song reminds me of early thrash metal; energetic and enthusiastic.  Take away the folk elements from this song and its core is pure speed/thrash metal.  Before you dismiss Ensiferum’s One Man Army (the album) as just another niche folk metal album, think again. Yes, you will hear all of the fundamentals of a folk metal album, but if you take the time to peel away the layers you’ll hear there is more buried between the swords, spears, and pre-battle hymns than you might expect.  And I will say this…the folk parts seem much more tame compared to older albums.

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Album Review: Mach Dich Frei by Finsterforst


mach_dich_freiIn my CD collection I have a few CDs where I have no idea when or where I bought them.  They just kinda appeared.  One of those is this double CD called Urwerk by Finsterforst.  It’s nothing outstanding; an ok record.  Still for the life of me, I can’t remember ever buying it.  Anyhoo, I’ve only really listened to it a handful of times and it basically sounds like Moonsorrow plus an accordion player hopped up on a cocktail of cocaine and amphetamines.  Not bad, but a tad repetitive, long-winded, and that overload of accordion can get a bit annoying at times.  I do appreciate the ‘what if Korpiklaani were a black metal band’ thing as an experiment, but… Oh, well.  So, when I saw that we got a promo for the latest record from this anomaly in my CD collection I decided to give it a spin to see if these guys were still berating listeners with post-neo-accordion-black-metal.  To my surprise, what I found is nearly a whole different band who kept their best elements, shook their formula around, and sent their accordion player to rehab.  In short, a band which has really matured a lot since my last experience with them.

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Roundtable Album Review: Cruadalach – Rebel Against Me


Cruadalach_CoverLabel: Metalgate

Release Date: January 2015

Songs: 11

Length: 41 minutes

Genre: Folk Metal

Studio Albums: Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside (EP, 2011), Lead – Not Follow (2011)

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

 

 

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