|Review: Skyforger - Thunderforge|
Label: Folter Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Folk Metal
Review online: March 14, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Been hearing good things about this band for a while, and so they were on my list despite the difficulty of finding their CDs, so I finally have the third release from this cult Latvian band, and all I can say is "Wow!" These days there are a lot of Folk Metal bands, and like any booming genre, there are plenty of crap bands in it. Skyforger are not a crap band, they are flat-out awesome.
Skyforger are obviously rooted in Black Metal, but there is only a slight resemblance at this point, as they have developed their own sound. On the faster cuts like "Warlord Of The Night Sky" and "The Woman Of Serpents" they sound the most black, with the vocalist veering farthest into harsh territory. Mostly the vocals are a Quorthon-esque tuneful growl, sometimes cleaner, and the tunes are mostly midpaced and highly riff-oriented. Like many Folk bands Skyforger employ some traditional instruments, and some of those 'bunch of guys chanting' vocal interludes. But really, this is all about the riff, and there is very little in the way of keys or other stuff to dilute the very heavy and catchy guitar attack. The guitar tone is fat, reminiscent of the last Melechesh album, and the riffs are folky, inventive, and very cool. At times the music reminds me of Tyr, at other times The Lord Weird Slough Feg, but really this band has their own sound, and mostly they just rule. A lot of folk bands cram in too much and their songs become rather shapeless and lack identity, but Skyforger are ace songwriters, and all these songs are coherent, catchy, and original. The best song on the album is "Oh Fog, Oh Dew" with its gentle folk intro and build to the landslide of Monster Riffs. It's up there with the best Folk Metal songs I have heard.
The CD package is worthy of note, as not only is the cover art very cool, but all the excellent lyrics are included – in both Latvian and English versions (as they are sung in Latvian) Skyforger may be obscure, they may be weird and underground, and their CDs may be hard to find, but they are just awesome. If you like Folk or Viking Metal to any degree, then you will love the shit out of this. Heed me.
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