In my previous installment, I featured bands from Italy, Switzerland, Finland, and Russia. In the sample songs I posted, each featured both singing and growling.
For those who don’t like growling, I present the non-growl edition with four more bands from Norway, Germany, Ukraine, and Scotland.
First of all, a lot of the current folk/metal crossovers in Europe have sprung out of the underground Death Metal and Black Metal genres. However, not all of them use growling vocals. Some use a mix of different types of vocals, and some do use growling at all.
Back in 1994, Fenris Nagell and Satyr Wongraven, two of the biggest names in the notorious Norwegian Black Metal scene, recruited 3rd and Mortal singer Kari Reuslatten to record a studio album with them. The result was Storm, which was released on the obscure Norwegian metal label Moonfog Records. Many of the lyrics are simply traditional Norwegian folk songs. It was an instant sensation. It became the first and only album released by Moonfog records to be played on the radio in Norway.
Then the Norwegian media denounced it as “ultra-nationalist” and accused the band members of being “racist.” Nevertheless, Kari Reuslatten released another solo album singing Norwegian folk songs and then released pop albums that enjoyed major commercial success. Satyr Wongraven’s Satyricon was signed by Canada’s Century Media and began touring the world. While Kari Reuslatten and Fenris Nagell continued to make interesting music, Wongraven’s Satyricon began a very generic cookie-cutter “Satanic” metal band once they were signed by a major label. I saw them live and was extremely disappointed in their performance.
Circle from Ukraine. This is from their album “Ethnosphere.” They sing about Slavic history and folklore. Many of the members come from a Black Metal background, but play atmospheric folk/rock in this band.
Ukraine is currently a major source of folk/rock and folk/metal crossovers. There are also a lot of bands like this in Poland, Belarus, and Russia.
Germany is known for its wide array of unique genres of metal. The most commercially successful is the Tanz Metal (Dance Metal) genre made famous by Rammstein. The Slovenian “art-rock” band Laibach is widely credited with founding this genre.
There is also a large genre known as “Medieval Folk Rock,” which is also called “Neo-Medieval Rock.” Many of these bands incorporate renaissance-era music instruments and often play historical songs. There are even several popular bands in this genre that incorporate renaissance era bagpipes as a very prominent part of the music.
Faun is a major part of the German “Medieval Folk Rock” genre.
Of course, there is the classic Power Metal. Many old-school power metal bands are still around and many have lyrics glorifying European history.
Below is a live performance of “Rebellion” by Scottish metal band Grave Digger. It also features the Wakken Germany Pipe and Drum Corps, the German “a capella heavy metal” band Van Cantos, and Hansi Kürsch, singer of the German power metal band Blind Guardian.