Nov 072010

I’ve been accumulating the names of more and more bands whose music I don’t know but who look interesting for one reason or another. Yesterday, I decided it was again time to pick a few names at random off the list and see what I might find. That, of course, is what this MISCELLANY series is all about. With the internet at my fingertips, I go exploring and I record in this post who and what I heard, not really knowing in advance whether the music will be worthwhile.

For each of the bands whose names I pick, I listen to one song, and only one song — those are the rules I set for myself when we started this series. Yes, it’s pretty random and runs the risk of not giving the music a fair chance, but I think it’s better than nothing, and over time it has proven to be a useful vehicle for exposing myself (and you) to bands we might not have discovered in any other way.

In this particular installment of MISCELLANY, I checked out three bands: Fejd (Sweden), Praetorian (U.S.), and Forsaken (U.S.)


My first stop in this edition of the MISCELLANY tour was to watch a new video from a Swedish folk-metal band called Fejd. I saw a press item on Blabbermouth about them, which picqued my interest (though I can’t really explain why). Fejd was formed in 2001 by two brothers, Patrik Rimmerfors and Niklas Rimmerfors, who had been playing in a folk music band called — fittingly — Rimmerfors. To create Feyd, they joined together with some childhood friends from a metal band called Pathos. As they explain, the resulting music features “the weight of heavy metal in symbiosis with the typical melodic language and sadness of the Nordic folk music.”  (more after the jump . . .)

The video is for a song called “Gryning” off the band’s second album, Eifur, which was released last month on Napalm Records.  I can’t say that I’ve had a wide-ranging exposure to folk metal — I find a lot of it too cheesy and not terribly original. But I really liked this song. It’s dramatic and melodically memorable, and includes music from some interesting folk instruments, including the bouzouki and the moraharpa, which is sort of a keyed fiddle that’s played with a primitive-looking bow.

As portrayed in the video, the song tells the story of a wife’s sudden and violent death, the husband’s anguish, and ultimately his decision to find her again by joining in her fate. The video narrative is saved from sappiness by the intensity of Patrik Rimmerfors’ vocal performance — he looks like he’s really feeling the music, like it means something important to him. In an ideal world, that would be true of all musicians and the music they perform. Hope you like this one as much as I did.

For more info about Fejd, visit their official web site here, or their MySpace page here. Two previous EP’s can be downloaded for free via Feyd’s official web page (click the link called “Music” when you get there).


We got an e-mail from this six-piece Long Island band inviting us to check out their debut EP, To Dwell In Darkness, which the band released in June. Yes, it seems that we write a lot about Long Island bands, but we’ve had such good luck with others from that area that we will continue listening. It’s obviously a strong local metal scene with lots of budding talent.

This particular band is no exception. The EP includes six songs, and the first one was short enough that I guessed it was an intro, so I skipped to the second one, called “Enticing the Serpent” — and was immediately hooked. The sound is symphonic death metal with pronounced black-metal influences. The instrumental work is quite good and the song includes an attention-grabbing solo leading into a harmonic dual-guitar interlude. The keyboards provide an epic overlay to the music without becoming excessive (and thankfully, there’s no cheese factor). The vocals are also very satisfying — full and varied and nasty.

The song reminds me of Scandinavian bands like Keep of Kalessin, and it doesn’t hurt that the EP cover is a hot-shit piece of artwork. I’m really looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP. For now, here’s “Enticing the Serpent”:

Praetorian: Enticing the Serpent

There are a couple of bonuses in store if you like the music. The first is that the band has made the EP available for free download at their Bandcamp page (here). The second is that Praetorian plans to record a debut album next summer and have already lined up Eliran Kantor to create the album art (he provided the art for Atheist’s impending release, Jupiter, Sodom’s In War and Pieces, GWAR’s Lust in Space, Sigh’s Scenes from Hell, Testament’s Formation of Damnation, and many others). I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing this band’s name bandied about in bigger circles in the months to come.


Our deathcore advisor, IntoTheDarkness sent me two messages in the last couple days. One was about Oceano’s new album — but I already know that band, so they don’t qualify for this MISCELLANY post. In his other message, he recommended a band from Connecticut called Forsaken the Sky. So, I went in search of music, and promptly got confused.

There’s a band called Forsaken the Sky that released a six-song EP called Heaven.Earth.Hell in July 2009 (which is available on iTunes). There’s also a band from the same Connecticut town whose MySpace URL is “forsakenthesky” but whose name is simply Forsaken. They’ve got two new tracks streaming on their MySpace player, both of which are available for free download on the band’s PureVolume page (here).

There is an overlap between these two similarly named bands — the drummer and the two guitarists are the same — but Forsaken features a different vocalist and a different drummer. So, our guess is that the band changed its name and its line-up. I think the name change was a good one, but I decided to treat these as two different bands for MISCELLANY listening purposes so I could hear the before and the after. I picked one song off that 2009 EP (“Two Thousand And Twelve”) and one of the new tracks (“Death Sentence”), just posted a few days ago on the PureVolume site.

The older song is rhythmically schizophrenic and morbidly discordant, with more than a little death-doom in its flavor. Of course, it includes a breakdown. I like the new song better. It’s still got a death-doom flavor to it, it’s still dissonant and massively down-tuned, but the groaning guitar work is more interesting and the vocals are more straight death-metal gutturals and less a back-and-forth blend of growls and shrieks, as on the older song. It’s vicious and heavy and even includes bursts of grim melody. Here are the songs I heard:

Forsaken the Sky: Two Thousand and Twelve

Forsaken: Death Sentence


Well, that’s all I’ve got for you in this installment of MISCELLANY. All in all, not a bad outing. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, won’t you?

  14 Responses to “MISCELLANY (NO. 17)”

  1. Fejd was pretty good. Better than I expected. I don’t have high expectations from folk metal bands. The genre seems more gimmicky than actually musical. That said, the music had a certain Je ne sais quoi that I wasn’t expecting. I’m not sure if I like it or not–but I know I don’t hate it. The lyrical theme was one I find incredibly absurd. (Yes, I’d rather hear about tentacle porn or locking your daughter in a basement and raping her periodically than the story of a lovelorn fellow who kills himself.) But the singer has a solid delivery, and the melody was fucking infectious.

    It does remind me an awful lot of Falkenbach, who was my first introduction to non-mainstream metal.

    PRAETORIAN was (is) decent. It doesn’t do much for me, but then I’m not much for blackened anything. It’s solid music, and those on the blackened side of things will probably love it….

  2. Starting off, Fejd is quite a find and fits with some of my current listening. With limited hard drive space on this old computer and a serious need to reorganize my CD collection (bought and burned purchases), there’s only so much I can have around. Folk metal has been among the stuff I’ve been listening to, including the likes of Eluveitie, Finntroll, Otyg and Kivimetsän Druidi, they of the questionable album covers. And as Phro has mentioned, folk metal is gimmicky to some, KmD being no exception. Females in folk metal are uncommon, while Leena-Maria Hovila is the only female lead in folk metal that I can think of at the moment, applying the beauty and beast approach to folk metal.

    But back to Fejd. Damn, I wish I’d stumbled across these guys sooner. I downloaded the EP’s already and “Yggdrasil” (from I en tid som var… has already gotten several plays. Awesome stuff and once I can spend a little money again, I’ll be getting their albums.

    I’m not sure what to make of Praetorian yet. There are some parts of “Enticing The Serpent” that are kinda meh, with some great sounding parts in there as well. Since the EP is available for free download, I believe that’s my next stop.

    Now, as for Forsaken and/or Forsaken The Sky… I’ve tried to get into the songs, but I’m having a hard time with them. I’m not ready to take a pass on listening further, but I don’t have high hopes. They just don’t sound like something that’s for me.

    • Glad I got one of three. Or maybe it’s one and a half out of three. That’s the way this thing works, you just never know how it’s going to turn out. I wondered whether I got too sappy over Fejd and lost my objectivity, so I’m particularly glad you thought they were good. I will have to download the EPs too.

      • Consider it 2 out of 3. With further listening to Praetorian’s EP, I’m liking it. It’s far from perfect, but it’s more than enough to keep me interested. I’ll be checking out the full album later on when it’s released next year.

    • I should restate that: some folk metal BANDS seem gimmicky. The genre in and of itself is no more or less gimmicky than, say, grindcore….

      • I agree with that. It’s not the genre, or any genre, that’s gimmicky. It’s the way the music is written and performed that makes it so, or not. If a band hits all the cliches of a genre and fails to add something original, that’s where the problems arise.

      • Fair enough.

        Maybe I should also restate something, although I think we’re on the same page anyway. Folk metal is prone to bands that seem gimmicky, but that doesn’t mean that such bands aren’t worth the attention. Gimmicks aren’t always a bad thing either.

        Folk is still a relatively minor part of the entire metal scene, further complicated by the inclusion of medieval metal bands and that some bands only use traditional instruments, melodies and songs sparingly, while others use such elements as the norm. It’s come a long way since Skyclad (whose debut is considered the first folk metal album) dabbled with the idea and there’s still a lot more than can be done, regardless of the material or approach, yet I don’t expect it to reach the levels that other genres/sub-genres have reached over the years.

        • I think you’re right…

          And yes, being gimmicky isn’t bad if you have something worthwhile to offer. That’s an excellent point.

          I’m just annoyed by focusing too much on the gimmick. Then it’s not about the music as much as it is selling the music.

        • I really like Eluveitie, some of Kivimetsan Druidi, and a few other folk metal bands (Eluveitie puts on a kick-ass live show, btw). I’m just not that educated about other bands in the genre, but I do think it’s a very interesting metal tributary worth further exploration. And to further complicate things, you’ve got some black metal bands that are delving deeper into folk/ethnic music with excellent results, like Rotting Christ and Negură Bunget. Coming across a band like Fejd is just further evidence that it’s worth sifting the wheat from the chaff, in this genre as in every other one.

  3. Rimmer Force. Hehe hehehe hehehehe….

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