I knew this would happen. On New Year’s Day, we put up a long list of extreme metal bands who reportedly will be releasing new albums in 2009, and then carved from that list the 21 bands we especially want to hear in the New Year. We tried to be complete in compiling the master list, but of course we’re already hearing about bands we left off.
So far, three overlooked bands, in particular, deserve mention: Kivimetsän Druidi, Portland’s own Agalloch, and Mors Principium Est. These bands may not be as widely known as others that made “forthcoming” lists in various trade publications, but we’re psyched to hear that new releases are in the works.
Kivimetsän Druidi (pictured above) is a Finnish symphonic folk metal band whose name appears to mean “druid of the stone forest.” The band released their Century Media debut CD “Shadowheart” in late 2008 and followed that with a cool video, shot in Finnish Lappland, for a song sung in Finnish called “Jäässä Varttunut.” It appears the song title, loosely translated, means “Grown Up Within Ice,” as in, “The white steel that has been grown on ice will clot the blood with its strike.”
I saw the video, was impressed, tracked down the CD, and remained impressed. It’s a fast-paced, dramatic combination of symphonic death metal, celtic folk stylings, savage gutteral vocals from Joni Koskinen, and soaring sopranos from crystal-voiced Leeni-Maria Hovila. Heavier than you might expect, with memorable melodies and plenty of hard-driving riffs. (more after the jump, including that video. . .)