A diverse collection of rock and heavy folk is reviewed this week.
Blackmore’s Night are back with another album entitled Dancer and the Moon and it is a collection of faux medieval middle-of-the-road music. But why change the formula when you are so successful with this? The band routinely play to adoring crowds of fans many dressed up in the appropriate garb. And delivering fans what they want is a good idea, isn’t it? There is no denying the guilty pleasure of songs like “Gillard” or the raucous fun of the title track. This is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with its clap-along aesthetic. “The Moon Is Shining” actually sees Ritchie Blackmore back playing electric guitar in a way that would please Rainbow/Deep Purple fans. Mock if you must, but it is hard not to smile listening to this album.
Fejd have released an album called Nagelfar and I have no idea what the hell they are singing about. Whatever it happens to be they manage to make it all catchy as stink. This is the type of music you can imagine playing as you dance around a campfire off your head on mead or ale. This is folk metal that is not the slightest bit metal by almost any standard. It is a bit like Blackmore’s Night, if much heavier in tone and vibe. Instead of medieval life in England, this lot are singing about Nordic life. The band’s name means feud in Swedish (if that helps any). This is one of those very rare foreign language albums that is so catchy that you find yourself singing along not knowing what the hell you are on about. “Sigurd’s Ring” is an extremely catchy track with a great chorus. If you like folk metal that is not that metallic, check out Fejd.
Hand of God are a female-fronted gothic rock band with a self-titled debut record. Whatever it is they were aiming for musically, they managed to hit the mark. This is a very much a solid slab of gothic rock with a hint of symphonic metal. It manages to sound familiar and catchy, but avoids sounding too much like anyone else. The musicianship is strong and the mix is excellent. Songs like “All About You” and the first single/video “Start Again” hit the mark perfectly and make you want to listen to more. Clearly this is a band that made sure to get their debut as perfect as they can. So often you hear new bands’ debuts that are a muddled mess of a release. No such worry here. Kudos to Hand of God for not sounding like a clone of anyone else, especially in this genre, that is quite an achievement.
Sirenia are back with a “subtle”, tender album called Perils of the Deep Blue (and yes, I am being facetious). This is female-fronted symphonic metal taken to the nth degree with everything turned up to 11. Subtle it ain’t, but boy is it catchy. As you might imagine from the cover and the title, this is rather nautical in theme. Sirenia do nothing by halves. “Seven Witches Weep”, which was the first video and single, is an assault on your aural senses that takes you to a place of beauty and danger. This is an album where each song is an epic tale in its own right These Norwegians have set the bar high for the next Within Temptation and ReVamped albums also due out this year. Pretty frock metal it might be, but the competition to be the best is suitably epic.
As always, stay safe and rocking out there folks.Powered by Sidelines