The Next: Eluveitie and the New Wave of Pagan Folk Metal
Published on March 10, 2008 by James · No Comments
I know what you’re asking, “There was a first wave?” Yeah, I’m kind of fuzzy on that too. I remember hearing of a band a few years back, Skyforger, out of Latvia that combined crushing black metal intensity with traditional folk instrumentation (check out “Tumsa Un Sala” on their MySpace page — it’s rifftastic). That group formed in 1995, so maybe they’re the first wave.
I didn’t really get hip to this stuff until last year when Finnish pagan folk metal group Finntroll released Ur Jordens Djup. Despite being rooted in ancient folklore and brandishing an unrelentingly heavy sound, the album had a wild party sort of vibe that reminded me more of Gogol Bordello than what you’d expect to hear from a metal band, especially with the track “Korpens Saga.” The album has been dancing around the digital bonfire that is my iTunes play list ever since it first crossed my desk. Here’s a video for their song “Nedgang,” and it’s almost as cool as Krull.
This leads us to Eluveitie, who are hailed in their press release as “the leaders of a new movement, which has been capturing the imaginations of listeners worldwide.” I hesitate to call anyone the leader of anything, but I’m definitely hooked. Eluveitie, hailing from Switzerland, are much more melodic (think In Flames) and heavier on the folk instruments than Finntroll, but bring the same level of heat. Tomorrow will see the release of their third full-length Slania for Nuclear Blast. Juggling both jangly acoustic passages with full bore metal, Slania moves at a cinematic pace and would be perfectly suited as the musical accompaniment to a Braveheart-sized medieval battle epic.
Eluveitie has already been featured on MySpace Metal (though I’m not sure how such a thing would be viewed by people who are really into metal), and in addition to the new album the group will be a part of Pagan Fest USA, which will bring Eluveitie to the US and Canada along with like-minded groups such as Tyr, Turisas, Ensefirum and Suidakra. Dates are below.