The Best Folk / Pagan / Viking Metal Album

1.  Ensiferum - One Man Army 302
2.  Wilderun - Sleep At The Edge Of The Earth 152
3.  Negură Bunget - Tău 78
4.  Tengger Cavalry - Blood Sacrifice Shaman 46
5.  Galar - De Gjenlevende 43
  Dirty Shirt - Dirtylicious 43
7.  Forefather - Curse Of The Cwelled 32
8.  Heidevolk - Velua 29
9.  Saurom - Sueños 16
10.  Finsterforst - Mach Dich Frei (write-in vote) 14
11.  Månegarm - Månegarm (write-in vote) 11
12.  Fferyllt - Achanterez 8
Total votes:
838




Dirty Shirt - Dirtylicious

Dirtylicious comes to you drenched in sweat, rakia, and an impressive amount of hectic absurdity. Very much like a metallic Gogol Bordello, Dirty Shirt blend genuine reverence for tradition with a frantic self-awareness bordering on the parodic. Dancing back-and-forth with a variety of vocalists and intriguing instruments, this Zorbatic ensemble circles round and round with an endless array of colorful sing-alongs liable to make fans out of folk enthusiasts and the most stubborn metalheads alike.

Bandcamp



Ensiferum - One Man Army

Ensiferum have reached back and pulled out the spine of From Afar, on which they have re-established themselves as the undisputed kings of extreme folk-related power-type metal of a most speedy variety. One Man Army erases any doubts and misgivings that Unsung Heroes may have brought about; this album recaptures the strident coarseness and mead-hall ceremony that make Ensiferum an expert blend of the traditional and the modern.

YouTube

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Fferyllt - Achanterez

Russian Fferyllt's third offering attacks with a Celtic jaunt, a Nordic ferocity, and a peculiarly Russian grimness. Even the more upbeat songs have a hard-bitten intensity. The pipes, whistles, strings, and harsh/clean vocal tag-team add a lot of melodic variables to Fferyllt's sound, but that doesn't diminish the straightforward solemnity that tinges these compositions. The ancient ways are still very much alive, and they're calling to you through Achanterez.

YouTube



Forefather - Curse Of The Cwelled

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Brothers Wulfstan and Athelstan ascend to æsctír once again, unleashing a trove of English treasure splendid enough to rival Sutton Hoo. Their harmonized riffs roll proudly and dutifully over the seas like Saxon poetry, golden melodies resurrected from days long past. Their intertwining harsh and clean vocals, so thoroughly Heptarchic in their delivery, add further unique levels of atmosphere. Forefather are more English than the Queen and they're here to prove it.

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Galar - De Gjenlevende

De Gjenlevende unleashes a writhing, furious storm of brutal, Viking-souled folk upon its unsuspecting audiences. They're more blackened than char-grilled obsidian, but Galar periodically reassert their traditional undercarriage with acoustic passages and beautifully harmonized clean vocals. It may be brutal, but the intensity never bludgeons out the melody and folksy subtleties.

Bandcamp

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Heidevolk - Velua

Unshaken by line-up changes, Heidevolk continue to exercise their musical brawn with Velua, a heavier and somewhat experimental album for the Dutch foe-hammerers. Sporting occasional harsh vocals and some darker, thrashier melodies, Velua indicates that the band are exploring the realm of possibility - but Heidevolk still pile on plenty of those beautiful vocal harmonies that made so many of us fall in love with them.

YouTube

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Negură Bunget - Tău

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Negură Bunget return to prove why they're Romanian metal royalty with Tău, a mysterious, gloomy odyssey through pagan mists and forests. With their traditional mix of folk and black metal, Negură Bunget craft an off-kilter, occasionally off-putting atmosphere that never ceases to take the album in curious directions, whether dramatic and hallowed or filthy and grounded. Tău is just as frostbitten as the cover suggests, but hardly as peaceful.

Bandcamp



Saurom - Sueños

Between the majestic, clarion vocals, the lively and versatile folk instrumentation, and the Andrew W.K. levels of unbridled positivity, Saurom have crafted an album unparalleled in its vibrance, color, and majesty. This album is here to tell you that life is good and Saurom loves you. Check out "La Mujer Dormida" for the closest anyone has ever come to replicating Blind Guardian's Nightfall In Middle-Earth.

YouTube (Part 1) + YouTube (Part 2)



Tengger Cavalry - Blood Sacrifice Shaman

Bandcamp music player
Bands typically meet with mixed results when they re-record old material, but Blood Sacrifice Shaman was definitely worth the effort. This re-recording of Tengger Cavalry's debut is heavier, tighter, better produced, and all-around a stronger version of what was already a singular and powerful collection of songs. Utilizing a plethora of traditional Mongolian instruments and indigenous singing techniques, Nature Ganganbaigal and co. gallop across the grasslands with a golden horde of inspiring melodies and lethal metal techniques.

Bandcamp



Wilderun - Sleep At The Edge Of The Earth

Wilderun may be newcomers, but only two albums in their reputation already precedes them. They borrow extensively from a variety of folk traditions - a certain Celtic lyricism learned from Thin Lizzy, a number of Turisas-style riffs and vocal passages, and, it seems, some elements of the American folk world. They also have a tendency to use the folk instruments for grand symphonic constructions, sometimes bounded by bursts of heavy, blackened interjections - something rather unusual for folk bands, but resulting in a massive sound full of endless possibilities.

Bandcamp