Release: April 2009
One thing I’ll always love about folk metal and metal in general is the variety of things and stories to sing. An impressive amount of bands have often followed this artistic path and many of their singers decide to pleasure us listeners with invented tales, history from not so known villages’ past, fantastic stories that lie under the depths of some unknown forest… and then we’ve got viking metal.
Viking metal, that one metal sector I do not fully understand, from the lyrical point of view. Ok, lots of people find pleasure on hearing tales of vikings destroying all enemies’ swords, dying in whatever war and going to valhalla between valkyries etc etc.. but I genuinely cannot deal with another band who’s got such interesting local history to talk about, but instead keeps talking us about that one viking tale we’ve heard over and over. Come on, there’s a huge variety of stories to sing to keep your musical material “epic”.
So as long as I have thought this way my attention has been caught by many albums who do not follow this path, and here we have probably one of if not the strongest representation of my unconventional thought: Der Galgen’s 2nd album Böses Los.
For anyone who have never heard about them, Der Galgen has been a small folk metal formation from St. Petersburg, Russia, which is not active anymore but have brought us two svartby-styled albums (no I will not name finntroll again cause they’re also black and there’s no relationship between the two bands, maybe just a matter of inspiration that does not affect the final results of both bands). And since we named them, I’ll mention that drummer Fenrir from Svartby took part in this album, as well as other names involved in St. Petersburg’s folk metal scene, such as Fangorn and Abracadabra, who would see their great albums published some years later.
And now that you’ve made this far, you’ll be able to guess: This album has nothing special. No viking tales, no sacred places to conquer with whatever pirate’s voyage. Just five songs, telling five different stories, probably all invented. This album’s only purpose is to tell these tales with some guitars, harsh vocals, faster and slower drums and folky keyboards in the foreground, and merge them all into that one boiling pot we usually call a “folk metal album”. Nothing else. But what makes everything special is not the goal itself, but the fact that the band manages to reach it perfectly. The music is reach of good moments, and not all melodies can be appreciated at first listen, which is why clever listeners will probably need to hear the same song again and again until eventually liking it for what it is.
This one album may seem “small” in terms of dimensions, with just 5 songs (if you want to skip the 4 acoustic ones), but it will satisfy fans of bands like Svartby, as well as folk metal diggers who’ll definitely be surprised to see such an album fallen into the darkest paths of the unknown. If I was asked to pick up a favorite song, that would be Die Tochter des Boses or Fluch, and “Der Tod ist gekommen” amongst the acoustic ones. Very highly recommended.
- Nebel 01:59
- Die Tochter des Böses 03:42
- Ruf 02:07
- Der Weg 04:38
- Der Tod ist gekommen 02:14
- Freiheit 05:12
- Schwarzer Hügel 02:26
- Fluch 04:37