The Real McKenzies is a Canadian Celtic punk band founded in 1992 and based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Paul McKenzie is the founding member and the band is credited as the cornerstone of the Celtic punk movement. In addition to writing and performing original music, The Real McKenzies perform traditional Scottish songs, often infusing them with a punk-influenced sound. They have shared stages with many other bands inside and outside of their genre including Rancid, Shane MacGowan, NOFX, Flogging Molly, The Misfits, Metallica just to name a few. They are hard working as a band in studio and out of the studio, constantly touring and sharing their music with others (as well as a drink or two, three, four!)
Italian folk/power metal SpellBlast hails from Bergamo, an Italian city northeast of Milan, in the Lombardy region. Born in 1999, they have released four full length albums with a new album ‘Classified – V’ due out soon. ‘Horns of Silence’, their debut album, was released in 2006 and involved some folk influences with lyrical themes inspired by fantasy tales and J.R.R. Tolkien references. In 2010, ‘Battlecry’ was released with themes involving ancient Norse mythology. ‘Nineteen’ was released in 2014, and the band took to executing a crowdfunding campaign, thus creating a concept album based on the Stephen King book ‘The Dark Tower’ saga. The album took previous folk themes and morphed them into more of an “old west” direction. The last album, released in 2018 titled ‘Of Gold and Guns’ brought us another concept album. The band chose to keep the old west direction, but using legends and references to figures that helped shape the old west in the United States. Spellblast has had some notable guests on some of their releases, such as, Elvenking’s singer, Damnagoras, as well as Fabio Lione from fellow Italian power metal band Rhapsody of Fire.
Varang Nord is a folk metal band from the cold woods of Latvia. Founded in 2014, their music combines death metal riffs with epic lyrical themes and accordion accompaniment. Lyrical themes reference Nordic culture, mighty battles, sacrifices to the Old Gods and festivities involving pints of ale. One of their crowning achievements has been winning the Wacken Metal Battle in 2019, just before Covid -19 ravaged the world. In 2021, their album ‘Pārķiuņa Uomurs’ was nominated as ‘Global Metal Release of the Year’. The album was produced by the band and recorded at their personal studio. Mixing and mastering was by Gints Lundbergs at Latvian Sound Division Studio.
Mandragora Thuringia was founded in 2008 as a cover band and at that time, in its infancy, they did a lot of musical exploring, being influenced by bands like Alestorm, Korpiklaani and Sabaton. The band really began to take off in 2016 with independently releasing their first EP “Mandragora Erwacht” (Mandragora Awakens) that brought forth some live shows which saw the band gain some fan base and popularity. In 2019 they released ‘Der Vagabund’, and had shows planned to support the new release when the global pandemic hit and brought things to a sudden stop as with most musicians. While a lot of newly formed bands gave up and parted ways, Mandragora Thuringia went into overdrive mode writing new songs and used the time to write the new album “Rex Silvarum’.
When Bloodywood released their first album ‘Rakshak’ a little while ago, we were struck by the originality of it. The blend of Indian folk with metal is a great find. The band is filling a rather unique niche with this. Haven’t you heard it? Well you should, just to make up your mind about this. Listen to it now and while you can read what Raoul had to tell about the band.
Paddy and the Rats started way back in 2008, but they kept on paving a way over the sea with their music. This path lead to Napalm Records and some point. Now the band hits the shores once again, this time with their sixth album ‘From Wasteland To Wonderland, time to have a chat with these Hungarian outlaws. We stumbled upon Joey in the harbor and got him to talk.
Dutch metalband Vanaheim released their first full length album ‘Een Verloren Verhaal’. As the title shows they made a switch to Dutch for their lyrics. Overall this album is a huge step forward and they pulled it off without losing their identity. And there are more nice things with Vanaheim… The guys are all very involved and they all took the time to answer our questions.
Tuatha de Danann is one of those ‘well known unknown bands’, starting way back in history and still playing. Influenced and with an obviously great fascination for Skyclad the band is representing a small but strong piece of the folk-metal scene in Southern America. That must be reason enough to have a little chat with these guys and so we did. Bruno took the time to talk about his great band.
It looks like the pandemic is over its peak and we’re getting back to something more like our usual life. Many people have died, our hearts go out to all of the families who suffered. In the shadow of all this a lot has happened as well. Bands decided to call it a day, after all the struggles, venues which couldn’t handle the long time without events and had to close down. Festivalorganisations which suffered from financial issues and lots of spilled energy. But now the darkness fades little lights are gaining strength and the feed the hope we can leave Covid behind us. One of this little lights is coming from France and it’s growing and gaining strength. Actually it has absorbed so much energy it will soon burst out and a beautiful festival will be held again and we can hardly wait experience live bands and festival atmosphere again. We had a little chat with Nathaniel of Golden Stone Events about the sunset of the new festival age, with a little bit ironic name: Dark Medieval Fest.
A few weeks ago we reached out to Rådarna whose debut release The Fomorian Horde was received exceedingly well by our staff. It was chosen the Best Debut Album of 2021. Here follows an interview with the band about the rumors of butchering magical creatures surrounding the band and some relevant band history which our eager readers might also find interesting. We managed to isolate a creature known as Rikard Falk from the other bunch, so we could bring our questions to him in a clear way without being distracted by the noisy rest of the bunch. It almost feels wrong to speak about these creatures in this lovely way, but they seem to be quite pleased with this achievement.