1. Elvarhøi – ‘Dansen låter fra graven åter’
With 25 out of 40 points Elvarhøi managed to claim the title ‘Best Debut-album’ this year. Voted ‘best’ by two members, they reached the first place. After 15 years of existence they released their debut-album.
” A now brainer this releasedate, because it’s Elvarhøi’s 15 anniversary.
Despite the fact I won’t advise this schedule to any other band, it can be heard for sure. When you listen to ‘Dansen låter fra graven åter’, you can’t imagine this is an debut. The musicians are not only skilled they obviously know what they want and can achieve this together. “
2. Barad Guldur – ‘Frammento di oscurità‘
With 23 points, Barad Guldur claimed the 2nd place.
‘Frammenti di oscurità ‘ (or fragment of darkness) is the first release of this Italian band, which with 11 songs brings us its style with a classic European folk-metal sound in both melodies and guitar riffs. The male and female voices sing in Italian, with a great performance, and being 9band members generates a very well complemented sound with nice musical performances. I sense that this sound should be almost hypnotizing when listening to them live. For me, it would be wonderful to be able to hear live the melody of ‘Asfaladugu’ and let myself be carried away by its cadence, which easily stays in your ears, and also headbanging to the rhythm of ‘Frammento Di Oscurità’.
3. Velesar – ‘Dziwadła’
Velesar scored 21 of the 40 points.
Ultimately, they have a very diverse sound which is not as much centered around Marcin’s vocals as one may think. In a short amount of time (formed in 2018) Velesar have gelled quickly as a cohesive unit and have put together a solid debut. Considering there are 7 members, this is quite a feat getting everyone on the same page. From a folk instrumentation perspective, they utilize flute and violin which blend in nicely either harmonizing or individually trading off riffs or going off on tangents.
4. E-an-na – ‘Nesfârşite’
Just outside the top-3 we find E-an-na with their first full length album. they gained 18 points. But one of the four teammembers who voted for the debut-albums, voted this one as his ‘Debut-album’ of 2019.
‘another contender for debut of the year even though 5 years into their career. This collective from Romania play the upbeat, slightly off kilter, hyper speed at times type of folk metal I gravitate to most. For fans of Trollfest, Rogatiy Kolokol, Svartby, and Zmey Gorynich, you will definitely want to check this out but they have a well-rounded sound for many a folk metal fan.’
5 /6. Norvhar ‘Kauna’
“There is a nice focused sound to the entire release instead of that muffled type you hear a lot of now these days…..clean, sharp guitar, distinct clean and gruff vocals, singing keyboards and punchy bass and drums. It may be a little too power metal mixed and mastered for some, but I think it really works in livening up the tracks. Despite despising the intro and outro, the 5 main tracks are all strong tracks and well performed and make up for them. Let us hope they don’t wait another 15 for the next release because I’m ready for a new one already. Great release.”
5/6. Aegonia – ‘The Forgotten Song‘
On a shared 5th and 6th place there are two album with 15 points, the first one is the Bulgarian band Aegonia.
“Overall, there is clearly a praiseworthy amount of effort that went into creating the album in terms of the editing and musical skill required. The group’s mastery of composition can be found by simply looking at the classical influences on this album alone, which manage to steer the entire album in a neoclassical folk direction while keeping enough Metal influences in the mix to keep their credibility.”
7. Motanka – Motanka
14 Points for Motanka with their self-entitled debut-album.
“The album continues this way and brings you from one highlight like “Horizon” over “Khreshchennya” to “Verba” until the Outro “Kroda” releases you from your trance and brings you back into life. For me this debut is one of the strongest releases I heard this year, as it shows no weakness at all. The only thing is that you need to be open for it, as I never heard any band creating something similar. Big congrats to the band in composing such an innovative debut.”
8/9. Atavicus – ‘Di eroica stirpe’
The second band on the 8th and 9th place is Atavicus.
“I am a fan of relentless riffing and “Di Eroica Stirpe” is filled to the rim with them….not overly complicated but just one after another in wave after wave. However, the guitar is not necessarily the dominant riff bringer as the keys/orchestration play a major role in defining the tracks. Vocals are of the black/death variety with lyrics in Italian and work well with the frantic pace and overall style of the tracks. It does have a very “soundtrack” sort of feel reminding me a lot of “Conan” and “Excalibur” from back in the day…..a very visual experience.”
8/9. Teshaleh ‘Born of Fire’
Two bands share the 8/9 place. Both gathered 13 points. Teshaleh did this with their EP ‘Born of Fire’.
“I am a fan of the overall sound of the EP even if it is a little flat or hollow in a spot here or there but for the most part, decent for an independent release. A great way to start off 2019 as the harbinger of another killer year in folk metal music.”
10. Bergatagen – ‘Bärsärkatoner’
Bergatagen has conquered the 10th place in our list this year. They gained 12 points, remarkable because one of the four voters chose this one as his Debut-album of the year.
“Tons of blast beats and just strangeness from beginning to end. This might be a little extreme for most but if you’ve plateaued out at Trollfest or Svartby, this would be the next logical step I would think. Guess what? If you don’t dig it, that’s OK cuz I will listen to this album probably a 1000 times this year…..and I already have it sitting atop the throne on my debut of the year mountain right now until someone knocks it down…..good luck. Great album.”