The trouble with Folk…


June 14, 2012 by Beldrac

…and an example of how it should be done, feat. Elvenking.


In the last decade or two Folk Metal has become a very important sub-genre as it often bridges the gap between true Metal and more mainstream styles. It’s seen as more easily accessible than harsher sub-genres and because of this is often regarded as less than metal. The trouble with Folk Metal is many bands fall into this category but playing contemporary Folk with a metallic edge doesn’t make it real \m/.

It’s so, so much more than just combining almost-opposing styles. It’s about the tales they tell, it’s about the native instruments they use that represent the true origin of those tales, and bring authenticity to the music. Yet it’s also not just about the hurdy gurdy, flutes, bagpipes, or kantele. It’s about the images they inspire, often with simple melodies and themes, transporting you on flights of fantasy.

Elevenking is perhaps the reason I became a fan of the genre, and when I discovered their album Heathenreel, a new world of fantasy opened – a world up to then lived out in mind and books. They’ve released a few very good, some excellent, albums through the years but they never burst out and became one of the big names in the scene. They are too honest and true for that, and the music they write has the knack of seeping into your subconscious and before you know it, you’re humming their melodies and thinking of places long passed into the imaginations of yore.

And sometimes, you are confronted with something vivid and real, that brings a message across and at the same time, makes you sit up and think: “Hey, let me listen to that again, let me think about this for a bit.” A piece of real life hidden in the fairy lights and wispy trails of whimsy.

“As we all know, time consumes our daily gladness
That cannot last ’till the day after
From this I will hide myself”

Again, this is the power of music – its ability to awaken things already inside your mind, triggers an enlightening thought, pokes at an emotion, plucks a heart string, or drums up your sense of humour.

“The lovely beeches told me to think for myself;
to bury down the lies of other minds…and I know
I cannot be last but first”

What a lovely image that is, and so simple. Wandering alone through a beech forest with trees your only company. Or perhaps add to the image foraging squirrels, robins singing in branches up high, a woodpecker renovating his family home, and a fox slinking through the brush. Not to mention those magical beings that can only be seen when you close your eyes, and imagine…

But it’s not all fairy tales and fantasy, Elvenking draw on myths, legends, and pagan tales from our not-so-distant past too, which makes ’em even better. I also recommend listening to the last track off the Heathenreel album, Seasonspeech – I’m sure it’s also on Youtube.

2 thoughts on “The trouble with Folk…

  1. rainmaker97 says:

    Nice post. Being a fan of the more melodic (and, to a certain degree, more commercial) side of metal, I have actually really enjoyed the last two Elvenking albums, despite their somewhat-emo leanings. I’ve never listened to Heathenreel, so maybe I should give that a shot.

  2. beldrac13 says:

    Heathenreel is fantastic, do yourself a favour. Red Silent Tides has grown a lot on me lately and I’ve come to really like it too, new album is coming out soon apparently and look forward to hearing what they’re up to now.

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