The 10 Best Folk Metal Bands

Categories: Metal

korpiklaani1.jpg
Korpiklaani
A distinct subgenre of heavy metal called "folk metal" has developed over the past few decades. Spawning from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the mid '80s in Europe, the harmonies and melodies of power metal, were combined with traditional instrumental folk music to create a visceral, nature-based sound. We use the term "folk metal" to describe several different offshoots of metal that are influenced by Celtic, Medieval, and even Nordic themes.

This type of extreme music is often inspired by Paganism, the elements, and folklore. Musically, one can hear traces of death metal, black metal, progressive, industrial, ambient, experimental and doom metal all within one song. Bands often take listeners on musical journeys that come to life with epic, thunderous and pulsating music, full of vivid descriptions and tales of evil creatures, pirates, Vikings, enchanted kingdoms, ancient mythology and warfare. What began in Europe has spread all over the globe, as folk metal bands come from nearly every country on the planet where there is heavy metal. We now present our list of the 10 Best Folk Metal Bands.


10.Alestorm
This is a band that managed to create yet another self-proclaimed subgenre within folk metal, known as 'Scottish Pirate Metal.' The band's use of accordions, and a very jolly, drunken sound truly gives listeners the experience of a heavy metal version of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. With anthemic, upbeat and energetic music, the band's adventures at sea are chronicled in three albums, Captain Morgan's Revenge (2008) Black Sails At Midnight (2009) and 2011's Back Through Time.


9.Blackguard
Blackguard began its career in Montreal, Canada, as a straight black metal band, but evolved to use Scandinavian classical folk music to create a unique approach with a melodic death metal twist. Known from 2001 to 2004 as PROFUGUS MORTIS, the band performed among the death metal scene in Canada with such bands as Kataklysm and Cryptopsy. After changing the name to Blackguard, the band released several albums, including Profugs Mortis (2009), and Firefight (2011).


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23 comments
vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Thanks for writing this. I've only listened to Finntroll and Ensiferium. Will check out the others.

il_fungo
il_fungo

no Skyclad on the list sound quite absurd

they were pioneers in the genre and wrote great albums (Johan's Ark or Folkemon or The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea... to name some) and have the best and clever lyrics of all.
Wintersun and Ulver don't belong to the list. Ulver's second album Klvedssanger was a folk album, no metal at all inside, first and third were original black metal album.
amd what about Orphaned Land?

natcridan
natcridan

fintrol is shit near eluvetie,korpiklani,moonsorow and wintersoon and agaloch!


not cool 

jhavens29
jhavens29

 The problem with this list is it is only limited to 10 bands lol.  There are so many mentioned here already that are derserving to be on this list and a few that should be omitted.  Ulver, Blackguard and Wintersun do not belong on this list although that is my opinion.  Wintersun to me is more Melodic Death Metal than Folk.  Ulver is more black.  Blackguard's first album was folky and the band has veered away from the folk sound as of late.  


My list in no particular order would be:


Moonsorrow

Finntroll

Turisas

Ensiferum

Korpiklaani

Eluveitie

Metsatoll

Arkona

Alestorm

Heidevolk


Honorable Mentions:


TrollFesT

Elvenking

Cruachan

Waylander

Skyclad

Ancient Rites

Finsterforst

Jaldaboath (Only because personally one of my favorites as of late)

Otyg



Questionable


Primordial

Tyr (more viking metal in my opinion)



Definitely worth a listen


Beer Bear

Troll Bends Fir

In Extremo



Also we cannot ignore some of the music South America has been putting out folk wise


Tuatha De Danann



I could go on and on about Folk Metal and many more awesome bands in this genre but I think I have added enough for now lol.  

Minis3b
Minis3b

Hi. I don't agree with Agalloch and Ulver in this top 10. You said "Folk Metal", i don't feel those two band as folk metal. In folk metal i mean traditional instrumental folk music, with celtic, medieval, nordic, vikings, pagan themes. 

Also Alestorm is not really folk metal, more Pirate metal and less folk/traditional.


So what about In Extremo, Cruachan, Mago de Oz, Skyclad, Suidakra, Tyr, Waylander, Adorned brood, Arkona ?? Some should be in this playlist ! ! !


Eluveitie is really awesome. Ensiferum first album is still the best, a masterpiece of all music ever made.


So 10 is too short for all those awesome bands we have...

easnoddy
easnoddy

F*ck the false metal band that is Blackguard.  They feel like the metal equivalent of In Sync.

jmon9512
jmon9512

I don't see Metsatoll on the list... 

moirla
moirla

 a couple bands here are new to me and I shall look them up. 


I'm going to leave a plug here for In Extremo.  If you are a folk metal fan these guys are definitely worth a listen.  (Although, as good as their studio releases are, their live show was absolutely show stealing.  If you ever have the chance to see this band live, DO IT.) 

Joe Smith
Joe Smith

Thanks for spotlighting great music. Hopefully kids will stop listening to the pop crap from clearchannel. All those silly rappers ain't got shit on these real musicians!

Jenner707
Jenner707

I would have prefered Korpliklanni i bit higher on the list, but the Finntrolls first place i deserved. 

One last question: WHY ISN'T SVARTSOT ON THIS LIST?

Liz Kadison
Liz Kadison

Alex Hegedus, this might interest you.

Scott Bowling
Scott Bowling

Love Ensiferum and Alestorm. Give them a listen.

vikingmetaller
vikingmetaller

Missing Elvenking, sooooo much better than a few on here!

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

Hell yeah, new music to listen to.

5h33p
5h33p

@il_fungo Exactly my thoughts. Any "best folk metal" list that does contain Korpiklaani and does not contain Skyclad is monument to ignorance. People shouldn't write about stuff they know nothing about.

Orphaned Land are amazing, so are Cruachan, Silent Stream of Godless Elegy and many more...

rachology
rachology

@jhavens29 I registered an account so just so I could reply to this. Thank you for this list! You seem to like a lot of stuff I do and brought up some new ones. Thanks again.

brian.fitzmagic
brian.fitzmagic

Yes!  


Unfortunately, people tend to be limited to thinking of folk metal as a metal band that stuck an accordion on top of their mix.  Not that there's anything wrong with that of course, but it's kind of just a gimmick a lot of the time.  Tyr actually went beyond that and deconstructed Faroese folk ballads and rebuilt them as metal.  I guess it's a little to deep for people to dig a lot of the time (especially since you kind of already have to be familiar with the Faroese ballad forms), so they don't always get recognized as folk metal.  


I'm glad you brought this up.

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