Release: 8 September 2023
Evilon (a portmanteau of “evil” and “Avalon”) is a Swedish band calling themselves folk metal. Typically, I’ll open these reviews like “BandName is an n-member band of SomeGenre”, but it seems the band is restructuring and some folks have departed. At the time of recording, though, they were a four-member project. Calling their album “folk metal” is also disingenuous, most of the tracks are melodic death with harsh but decipherable vocals and some added keyboard/VST magic. It’s somewhat symphonic in parts and folk in others, but it’s not what I think of when somebody says “folk metal”. Regardless, I’m really sad that they’re changing up their lineup because this album really resonated with me.
The album is consistent and solid: great melodies, riffs, and refrains with competent vocals and meaningful lyrics that sometimes fall into the parody realm with English translation (“Blood eagle death covered in tears of pain” made me smile). The mix is great, the riffs are great. Most of the songs are on YouTube with simple but awesome lyric videos. One could argue that the sound is pretty minimalist. There were parts that folk elements crept in (“Blot to the Skies” is a great example) and it was done so subtly that I didn’t notice on the first listen. It’s a true testament to the great writing and what good melodies can do for an album.
Talking of melodies and songwriting, “Yggdrasil” is a great start to the album. It shows off all the album’s components and adds a dash of heavily-chorused clean vocals. “Walk Of The Damned” and “Warrior’s Way” are both top-notch in terms of getting accidentally stuck in your head. “Skald” and “Valkyria” are both big and epic in their own way, and I have a soft spot for “Valkyria” because it’s the first song I heard after clicking on a lyrics video from Facebook. It’s very catchy, as are most tracks, which isn’t an adjective one uses often with melo-death. “My Runestone” was the only weak track. This isn’t to say it’s bad, but all the other tracks are much better.
To wrap this up, I was very pleasantly surprised by Evilon. “A Warrior’s Way” is a great album with great writing, a solid metal sound, and neat lyric videos. Definitely check ’em out if folky melo-death is your thing, and maybe even if it isn’t! They certainly caught me off-guard. Cheers!
- Walk of the damned
- A warriors way
- Into the battlefield
- Foreign land
- My runestone
- Blot to the skies