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Folk metal

Music Sound

Folk metal

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Folk metal
Stylistic origins: Heavy metal, Folk music, Power metal
Cultural origins:  
Typical instruments: Electric guitar - Bass guitar - Drums
Mainstream popularity: Regionwise popularity
Celtic metal, Vedic metal, Viking metal, Oriental metal
Other topics
Timeline of heavy metal

Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal that incorporates elements of folk music.


Different styles

Music Samples
Finntroll-Slaget Vid Blodsalv

Skyclad-Polkageist! Waylander-Born to the Fight

There are many different forms of folk metal, due to the many varying folk traditions throughout the world. One thing to note also, however, is the fact that different forms of metal are combined with these folk traditions also. For instance, the band Mael Mórdha combine Gaelic/Irish folk music with doom metal, whilst another Celtic metal band, Geasa (and their brother band, Primordial) combines Irish folk with black metal. Singaporean band Rudra who play vedic metal is another example. Whilst the two folk sounds may sound similar, the actual metal is different. Bands, however, are usually grouped according to their folk stylings.


Folk metal bands often have no commercial success in the country of their origin, whilst at the same time being considered a huge band commercially in other countries. Examples of this are the Northumbrian folk metal band Skyclad, who have had no success in England, but lots of followers in continental Europe and South America, or Celtic metal band Cruachan, who have had no big successes in Ireland, and yet are a hit in Russia. Overall though, folk metal is seen by a lot of people as nothing more than a novelty. The bands themselves may wish to see a fusing of their native culture to more modern heavy metal, but to many people who misunderstand this, the bands are nothing more than curiosities. This is in sharp contrast to many critics who have praised the technical skill of groups like Skyclad, Waylander, Cruachan, Vintersorg, Finntroll and Elvenking. Unfortunately as the popularity of Folk music in many countries declines, so too does the interest in folk metal. One thing which has been achieved by the fusion however has been interest in native Celtic and Viking culture and music. Many metal fans who discovered folk metal have since went on to become fans of pure folk bands. Folk Metal has also gained popularity in South East Asia and South Asia through the advent of a new sub-genre called Vedic metal which is based on Hinduism's holy scriptures and the Vedic philosophy.

Development of folk metal

The originators of folk metal are undoubtedly Skyclad, but the genre was not really popularised until bands like Cruachan, Otyg and Windir appeared in the mid to late 1990s. Eastern Europe is also home to numerous folk-influenced black metal bands, the most prominent of which are Graveland and Nokturnal Mortum. The band Bathory also pioneered the genre with albums such as Hammerheart, and is arguably the first to have brought Viking mythology and history into folk metal. Bands such as Amon Amarth continue to use the themes laid down by Bathory and others, though they do not follow in the same vein musically (Amon Amarth being a death metal band). Bands that use folk metal themes in their lyrics but not in their music are generally not considered to be part of the folk metal genre.

Sub-genres of folk metal

Viking metal

Main article: Viking metal

Oriental metal

Main article: Oriental metal

Celtic metal

Celtic metal is a sub-genre of folk metal. Its focus is on Celtic mythology and instruments mixed with some other genre of metal. Celtic metal has developed a huge underground scene in Ireland, where pioneers like Cruachan, Geasa, Waylander and other such bands play. By far the most successful album is Cruachan's Tuatha Na Gael which sold out its label's supplies within a few months. It cannot be considered a great success, however, because it was a small label and only pressed a few thousand CDs.

Vedic metal

Vedic metal is a form of folk metal popularized in South Asia,South East Asia and other parts of the continent. The lyrics heavily derive from the Vedic literature and philosophy. This genre has been pioneered by Singaporean band Rudra in the late 1990s. Since then, this genre has grown in popularity. Bands like Aryadeva (Ukraine), Symmetry (Indonesia), Warriors Of Peace (India), Asura (India), Advaita (New Zealand), The Aryan March (India), Narasimha (Singapore), Kaliyuga (Malaysia), Azrael (Australia) and Blue River (Sri Lanka) have done pioneering work in the genre. Often, along with the Vedic lyrics, the music has shades of Indian Classical music. The definitive album of this genre is the Rudra album The Aryan Crusade released in 2001.

Folk music
American folk music - Anti-folk - Celtic music - Counterfolk - Filk music - Folk metal - Folk punk
Folk-rock - Folktronica - Neofolk - Pop-folk - Psych folk - Roots revival - Urban Folk
Folk dance - Instrumentation - Protest song - Singer-songwriter - Traditions - World music
Heavy metal
Black metal - Death metal - Doom metal - Folk metal - Glam metal - Gothic metal - Grindcore - Industrial metal - Neo-classical metal - Power metal - Progressive metal - Symphonic metal - Thrash metal
Other topics
Fashion - History

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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