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28 May 2012

Review: Werewolf Songs (Various Artists)

This is a very rich, atmospheric, and beautiful compilation album of folk music inspired by Swedish werewolf folklore. It includes artists such as Faun Fables, Hedningarna, and Birch Book! …

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17 Mar 2012

Review: Achega Solar (Arde Fero)

Achega Solar is a rich and beautiful adventure into archaic folk consciousness, delving into that special realm of speculation and fancy from which all tall stories of wisdom and grace descend. Its a wonderful musical achievement, and a precious listening experience. …

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26 Feb 2012

Review: Die Große Göttin (Falkenstein)

Falkenstein is a one-man neofolk outfit from Germany, a creative vessel for musician Tobias Franke. Its music is dark, muscular, and resonant. The songs evoke myriad images of rural, pre-modern Europe: farmland at the rim of dark forests; black, moist earth; skies pregnant with clouds. This is Romantic music, to be sure, and in the best possible sense: an evocation of nature and humanity interwoven impeccably. …

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29 Nov 2011

Review: Self Titled (Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa

Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa is a neofolk outfit from Finland. Their music is dreamy, earthy, and yet also muscular. It feels carved from hard wood, bristling with a raw and rough texture that feels good against one’s skin. …

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21 Sep 2011

Review: Somnivore (Clergy of Oneiros)

True to their name, Finnish experimentalists Somnivore have served up a dream-laden sonic voyage with their album Clergy of Oneiros. Using found sounds, samples, noisescapes, and a stately sense of drama, they’ve created an unsettling, absorbing, and subtle piece of otherworldly work. …

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1 Sep 2011

Review: Self-titled (Tervahäät)

Tervahäät is highly recommended for fans of folk music, ambient music, doom metal (although I stress that is is not metal by any stretch), and lovers of nature in its colder incarnations. It is not for those who cannot tolerate darkness and depth – the shallow and easily satisfied should look elsewhere. This album is both dark forest and reflective waters, and invites us to find ourselves in surprising new ways and places. …

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16 Jul 2011

Review: Tuhkankantajat (MAA)

Tuhkankantajat is darkness tempered with ecstasy; raw and sophisticated; deeply interior yet verging on the boundless. These Finnish masters have been quietly forging rich new possibilities for neofolk, and it seems to me only a matter of time for their influence to pervade widely. …

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10 Jul 2011

Review: Silver Moon Slumber (Key)

Hailing from the cold but beautiful climes of Finland, Key are purveyors of dreamy and evocative neofolk. Their new release Silver Moon Slumber is a beautiful album, at once trancelike and atmospheric. Loaded with unique groove, and resonant with inflections from New Wave, this release conjures cold but joyous landscapes in the mind’s ear. …

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28 Jun 2011

Review: Medicine (Marc Broude)

Medicine is a kind of ambient/experimental/jazz monster, a cold and misty dream, a delirious wandering into the frigid canyons and plateaus of frosty Niflheim. Medicine? This is shamanistic medicine, seidhr medicine, medicine of the heart, the spirit, the soul. Ordeal medicine, dancing with death, drawing us into mystery, puncturing the thin skin of self-evident, everyday life. …

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23 Jun 2011

Review: Restless in Flight (Forest of the Soul)

Forest of the Soul is the newest project from Nechochwen’s Andrew Della Cagna and Aaron Carey. Given the excellence of Nechochwen’s folk-black metal fusion, I had high hopes for Restless in Flight, which sees Della Cagna’s intimidating multi-instrumentality paired off with Aaron Carey’s talented guitar playing. Excellent though it is, I unfortunately fear that this release does not sit as well with me as Nechochwen’s work. …

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20 Feb 2011

Review: Cult of Youth (Cult of Youth)

Whether delving into psych-folk head-trips, wild western digressions, or good old foot-stomping punk anthems, Cult of Youth are always in total control – and yet always feel on the very brim of total chaos. These guys are an unstoppable juggernaut. …

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18 Feb 2011

Review: Possessed by the Forest Queen (Lasher Keen)

Presented as a limited edition vinyl release, Possessed by the Forest Queen is a splendorous invocation of the divinity of nature. With it US outfit Lasher Keen have well and truly proved themselves a dark and rising star in the world of folk music. …

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18 Feb 2011

Review: The Seven Deadly Sins: Luxuria (Various Artists)

The Seven Deadly Sins: Luxuria is a digital-only free double album compilation of post-industrial music. Organised by Schattenspiel, the release is part two of a series of compilations exploring – and indeed celebrating! – each of the seven deadly sins from Christian mythology; Luxuria is otherwise known as lust. Being a free release, you really cannot go wrong, so if anything in my review piques your interest then do not hesitate to check it out! …

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22 Jan 2011

Review: Anitya (The Joy of Nature)

Anitya is the final instalment of The Joy of Nature’s three part alchemical trilogy, The Empty Circle. I will state immediately that it represents a more than fitting crown to the series. Its eerie fusion of folk, ambient, and world music influences creates endless dream states and liminal visions, subtle and absorbing allusions to the lapis, the elusive goal of the alchemical process. …

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21 Jan 2011

Review: Godsaga (Sig:Ar:Tyr)

Sig:Ar:Tyr’s combination of metal, folk, and ambient influences gives it an appeal that draws in the listener regardless of their usual music genre preferences: Godsaga is a solid continuation of a legacy of music which really transcended conventional genre boundaries…highly recommended for anyone who likes inspiring, mythic, and stirring Heathen music. …

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19 Nov 2010

Review: Asa (Voluspaa)

Voluspaa was born in Norway in the mid 1990’s black metal scene, but despite having been around for a while, Asa is their debut full length release. The wait was worth it: Voluspaa mastermind Freddy Skogstad has done a brilliant job orchestrating these epic, atmospheric, and evocative songs into a beautiful collection of folk-infused black metal (and at times…the reverse). …

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17 Nov 2010

Review: Runaljod ~ Gap Var Ginnunga (Wardruna)

Runa means mystery, and to me the word mystery conjures a dark, cloud-stained horizon, a pregnant foreboding, a sense of awe in the face of the wilds of nature. This album is an exploration of the spirit of the runes (eight of them to be exact), and insofar as it evokes exactly these same images…I have to pronounce it a brilliant success. …

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10 Nov 2010

Review: Der Verborgene Gott (Art Abscons)

I guess the old Nietzschean Gay Science comes to mind in listening to this recording – because although it lightly dances across one’s ears, it certainly is not frivolous or light-weight. There’s a seeming effortlessness to the creative spark of this music, which celebrates darkness and light; intimacy and spaciousness. …

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25 Oct 2010

Review: Elhaz Othala Eihwaz (Aldrlag)

It is no easy thing to capture the atmosphere and spirit of early 90’s Norwegian black metal, let alone imbue that (now all too often stale) aesthetic with vitality. Elhaz Othala Eihwaz, Aldrlag’s very limited edition demo/album, represents the most convincing attempt at such a feat that these ears have heard in a long time. …

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6 Oct 2010

Review: Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea! (Cult of Youth)

Obliquely chronicling one man’s overcoming of darkness, Cult of Youth’s new 20 minute long vinyl outing is a concise and powerful statement of kickass dark-folk intent. …

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