To me, folk metal needs to be the level of fantasy that can stand toe to toe with Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, that kind of shit. Not this weak crap that’s just people running around a fire with no idea what they’re doing. Winterhymn have shown that they know what the fuck they’re doing before, and “Blood & Shadow” is irrefutable proof that if there is such an art known as true folk metal Winterhymn have mastered it in every way possible.
Folk metal to me must have at least one extra instrumental to really bring the “folk” part into play and Winterhymn do that magnificently well by having a violin, and it’s not one that’s used every now and then only to be seen for a few seconds in a track – no, it is utilized to its maximum potential in all 12 tracks of “Blood & Shadow” to give it this mystic feel that would’ve made the album a lot less mesmerizing if it weren’t there. Everything else is pure, amazing, unrestrained folk metal of the highest caliber of such top tier quality that I can easily say that this is by far the most enjoyable album I’ve heard in almost a year. The whole of “Blood & Shadow” is an uncompromising album that encompasses all that is great about folk metal itself as Winterhymn has got the intensity, the vocals, the rhythms, the style, the sound; the entire fucking package that you could ever want out of a folk album. And just from looking at that wondrous cover art you can just tell instantly that Winterhymn aren’t fucking around with “Blood & Shadow” and it definitely shows within the easily 60+ minutes of amazing tales that the album is.
As I said, this is one of the best folk metal records I’ve heard for a long time and I say that with heavy meaning as I don’t say stuff like that every day. Winterhymn may have just gotten off their feet as a band only five years ago, but they are without a doubt in the territory of bands like Ensiferum with “Blood & Shadow” being enough proof of their uncompromisingly amazing talent.
“Blood & Shadow” releases on June 17th!
LISTEN to the track “Blood of the Moon” via YouTube here or below.
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