Saturday, October 17, 2009

Folkearth - Rulers of the Sea (2009)

Folkearth remains an intriguing concept: assemble a host of musicians from various folk/pagan metal bands, and create a series of albums which explore Norse history and mythology. It's a theme which has been beaten to death for many years now, but how often has it been beaten to death by committee? Rulers of the Sea is the 7th album in 5 years from this project, and this time out involves members of Dol Amroth, Frekkr, Folkodia, Hildr Valkyrie, Skiltron, Black Knight Symphonia, Excelsis, Sunuthar, Minhyriath and Seventh Sword.

Unfortunately, like its predecessors, it's really not that good. Sure, Folkearth uses all the appropriate instruments to construct a folk metal album: woodwinds, acoustics, and keyboards flow throughout the band's mug pounding pagan black metal core. Each track has its balance of melodies and raging rhythms, but the mix is rarely balanced well, with the folk instrumentation often blaring streaming too loudly over the central band. Multiple vocals are used, which range from average black barks to dorky clean vocals ("The Doomed Crusade" is an example) and surprisingly decent female cleans (also "The Doomed Crusade"). The metal riffs are serviceable but rarely stand out. It's as if most of the music was shelved from better folk metal albums by good bands, and then purchased wholesale and assembled to provide you this record. A few tracks poke the prows of their dragonships out beyond the crested waves of mediocrity, but it was an underwhelming experience.

Highlights: Cosmogenesis, I Am Fire, Apollonian Light

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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