Thumbs up: +15
Being a folk lover, I decided (like many people don't) to not limit myself to your typical "viking/fantasy/celtic/slavic folk/pagan elements + black/death metal" soup. This list is the story of how I came to broadening (and I seriously had to) my conception of what folk is. For it took me some time to realize that folk could stand for "folklore", but also for "people" (sometimes for both). And that some bands were pushing more on one side than on the other.

So what is the aim of this list? I will try to show people what I've discovered ever since I took that decision. Some bands you may already know, some you may not. I know this list is ambitious, and I'll try my best to not fail at achieving my goal. I will not feature all the bands I've come across, just those that I judge interesting/representative.

Disclaimers:
- As obvious as it can seem, DO NOT EXPECT to see bands such as Ensiferum, Finntroll and the likes. I do not hate these bands, but seriously, read the text above.
- Some of the bands have some metal in their music, some have some rock, some are purely folk (though I'll try to limit that amount of bands to only those I consider mandatory).
- This list is obviously not complete, and I'll try to add bands when I can. Do not hesitate to recommand those you judge worthy or that I might have forgotten, But do not cry and bitch if you don't see your favourite band in this list for whatever reason or I'll just... And trust me, I'll do it.
- THIS IS NOT A RANKING LIST. Alphabetical order.


Latest update:
Added Blood Ceremony

Created by: Lokaeda | 28.05.2012



1. Agalloch - Some of their records are more atmospheric black metal, but a lot of them have a huge neofolk touch, a la Sol Invictus.
2. Blackmore's Night - These minstrels play a very refreshing medieval/Renaissance inspired music, with rock elements. Just relax and enjoy while sitting by a fire.
3. Blood Ceremony - Labelled as a "doom metal + folk metal" band, Blood Ceremony has two great things (and the rest is excellent): a great singer (and I'm very selective when it comes to female vocals), and a flute. That flute is going to haunt you and make you smile at the same time. It gives a folky, hippie mood to the tracks, and I just love it.
4. Braia - If you've heard of Tuatha De Danann, you may know this band. "Braia" comes from the name of Bruno Maia, who played in TDD. This band is his solo project, and it's a very interesting mix of Celtic and Portuguese/Brazilian music.
5. Dead Can Dance - Despite being much more of an ambient/new age band, I find a lot of their songs (depending on the album) to incorporate folk elements (medieval, Celtic, Middle-Eastern,...).
6. Ego Fall - This band from northern China plays a mix between metalcore and traditional Mongol music. I tend to dislike metalcore, but this band became "my" exception.
7. Empyrium - I think there's no need introducing this German band. Evolved from folk/doom to neofolk.
8. Enemite - Another band from China, and really worth checking out. This one-man band (from the few informations I could find) mixes dark/ritual ambient with Chinese folk instruments and black metal shrieks. This shit's sick and haunting.
9. Era - I discovered this band as a kid while watching the French movie "Les Visiteurs" (1993), and I really liked the song used in the soundtrack. If you like gregorian chants and such choirs mixed with some modern pop, this band is for you.
10. Fejd - This band, that can be found in the blacklist (they are not racist/nazis, they are just not metal enough), is born from the collaboration of the Rimmerfors brothers with 3 members of a metal band. They play some Swedish folk music, sung in several dialects, mixed with rock/metal elements. One of my favourite bands. Plus, the members are really nice people.
11. Gaë Bolg - I honestly have no idea of how to describe this thing. Blend some folk, some classical music, some ambient, some noise, some medieval music, some electro, some new age. And acids. Don't forget acids.
12. Gevolt - Yiddish folk is already uncommon, but mix it with some industrial-ish metal and you get something original, taking the limits of folk metal a step further.
13. Hilight Tribe - This French band makes a very nice blend of any kind of traditional/folk instruments (more specifically from Africa, Asia and Oceania) with a form of techno/trance/dub. This is very relaxing, dreamy and soaring - the old albums being the best (imo).
14. Ilbeltz - So yeah, I said "no BM+folk" stuff. But bear with me, this band deserves it's place here. Metal can surely be found in the music of this band, but it's only from time to time, in order to introduce you to what makes the strength of Ilbeltz = long, intense Basque folk moments. All of this is sung in Basque, which adds to the magic. Listening to this bands is a journey, an initiation to a (too) little-known culture.
15. Kauan - Want a picture of the band? Imagine some Siberian shamans playing an eerie doom metal during a ritual beyond the comprehension of mortals.
16. Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs - This band saw some ex-members of the French left-wing punk band Les Béruriers Noirs mix punk elements with traditional tunes from Brittany. Sung both in French and Breton.
17. Luc Arbogast - "What was the music of the western-European minstrels during the Middle-Age like" you ask? He is your answer, singing songs of the pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela, from the VIIIth to the XIVth century. This man has a truly beautiful voice.
18. Lumsk - Definitely not what you would expect from a band labelled "Viking folk metal". And that's all the better. I was positively surprised when I first listened to this band. If you like this band, make sure to also check Otyg and Storm.
19. Nucleus Torn - This Swiss band is just too good, I have no choice but to feature them here. I've only listened to their Nihil album, but I had a hell of a great time. On a side note, a lot of bands signed on Prophecy Productions are really worth checking out.
20. Orphaned Land - Do I seriously need to justify my choice there?
21. Patrick Victor & Bwa Gayac - This one is a (huge) bit special. I found this in the collection of my father when I was a kid, and it fascinated me back in the days. It's some folk/rock from the Seychelles! Sung in Seychellois Creole.
22. Phurpa - I owe the discovery of this one to !J.O.O.E.!. Sounds like Cthulhu went on vacation in Shambhala. If you like Enemite, there's a strong chance you'll like this as well.
23. Schandmaul - In the "medieval music" family, bands are legion. This one evolved from a strictly "traditional" aspect to a folk/rock blend, like many bands of the genre. See also bands like In Extremo, Corvus Corax, Subway To Sally, Saltatio Mortis, Cultus Ferox, Faun ...
24. Skyclad - Remember when I mentioned the two aspects of folk? This English band is the reason why I realized it. At a time when I sworn only by Ensiferum, Finntroll & Co, I discovered this band and took an arrow to the knee. Gone from thrash metal with folk influences to a folk kind of heavy metal, this bands sings about politics, History, nature, and all that shizz that makes it one of the best "people metal" band I know.
25. Sol Invictus - This English band is considered one of the creators of neofolk, so it is kinda mandatory in here. From 1987 up to today, this band made (and still makes) its stand. And honestly, Sol Invictus is one of the best band names ever. If you like Dead Can Dance, there's a big chance you'll like this band.
26. Soldat Louis - Read Skyclad's description above, scratch "English band" and "heavy metal", now replace it with "French (Breton) band" and "rock/hard-rock". There you go.
27. Stille Volk - The members of this band also play in a metal band called Hantaoma. In Stille Volk, their music is pure medieval/Pyrenean folk music, and I swear you can feel the mountains surrounding you everytime you listen to their music.
28. Tenhi - Neofolk made right. It's as simple as that.
29. Wardruna - Sounds like shamans get high in Norway these days. Excellent is a word that fits the music of Wardruna.
30. Wovenhand - This band (whose main man is David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower fame, who on a sidenote is a christian) is described as combining neofolk, alternative country music, post-rock, folk-rock and native American music (plus a few other genres for good measure). As of today I've only listened to their Mosaic album, and I find it very ritualistic, somehow shamanic. Proof that you don't absolutely need to be pagan to achieve such ambience and mood.
31. Yat-Kha - Some of you (very few actually) know that I enjoy Mongolian/Tuvan traditional music/singing way to much ; and Yat-Kha is one of the reasons for this. I was introduced to this band by my uncle, and I feel like I now have a debt. Yat-Kha blends rock elements with throat singing/traditional instruments, and it sounds awesome. If you look for more "traditional" bands, you can't go wrong with Huun-Huur-Tu, Chirgilchin, Ensemble Khan Bogd ...
32. Yele Solma - One of the weirdest things I have in my cd collection. Voodoo dark/ritual ambient. And the band is signed on the label of my band. Woot.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Lokaeda ]



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~Starchild~ - 28.05.2012 at 21:28  
No Sol Invictus?
Lokaeda - 28.05.2012 at 21:30  
Written by ~Starchild~ on 28.05.2012 at 21:28

No Sol Invictus?


I actually forgot about that band I'm not perfect (yet)

I have to listen to them a bit more though, or I'll have no idea what to write as a description
~Starchild~ - 28.05.2012 at 21:33  
Written by Lokaeda on 28.05.2012 at 21:30

I actually forgot about that band I'm not perfect (yet)

I have to listen to them a bit more though, or I'll have no idea what to write as a description

Ok Great list otherwise. Have to agree with most part of it (as always )
Lokaeda - 28.05.2012 at 21:34  
Written by ~Starchild~ on 28.05.2012 at 21:33

Ok Great list otherwise. Have to agree with most part of it (as always )


Thanks took me some time to think of the bands I'd put, and also of how I would introduce it all
MechanisT - 28.05.2012 at 21:38  
FOLK! Eww. >:[
Then again, Empyrium and Kauan... I have no choice. *succumbs to giving a (virtual) thumbs up*
:[]
Lokaeda - 28.05.2012 at 21:40  
Written by MechanisT on 28.05.2012 at 21:38

FOLK! Eww. >:[


Not esoteric enough?

thanks for the thumb
MechanisT - 28.05.2012 at 21:41  
Written by Lokaeda on 28.05.2012 at 21:40

Written by MechanisT on 28.05.2012 at 21:38

FOLK! Eww. >:[

Not esoteric enough?


"TBA! TBA!" he said. And that was that. :|
IronAngel - 28.05.2012 at 23:44  
Fairport Convention. Like the biggest folk rock band ever. Sandy Denny's solo work (especially The North Star Grassman and the Ravens) is very cool too.

As for Dead Can Dance, they started out as darkwave (ambient is a different ball park) but indeed went the neoclassical and then the world music, almost new age direction. So it's definetely their later work you're looking at, here.

Let's see some more recommendations. As far as metal goes, Mägo de Oz are pretty unique in that they use Spanish folk influences.

Corvus Corax try to recreate medieval folk music (as opposed to church music, typically).

Faun is a pretty wicked German band, very catchy. They have some electronic textures, nothing too overt.

For Swedish folk, check out Hedningarna and Garmarna.

Gjallarhorn is a Finnish folk band singing in Swedish. Pekko Käppi is a very cool jouhikko-player. Värttinä represent the Eastern Finnish tradition of folk music.

When it comes to neofolk, there's a lot to choose from. :Of The Wand And The Moon:, Rome, Sol Invictus, Spiritual Front, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, etcetera.


But really cool discoveries. I don't know half of these. Might get around to checking them when I have a moment.
Lokaeda - 28.05.2012 at 23:54  
Written by IronAngel on 28.05.2012 at 23:44

Fairport Convention. Like the biggest folk rock band ever. Sandy Denny's solo work (especially The North Star Grassman and the Ravens) is very cool too.

As for Dead Can Dance, they started out as darkwave (ambient is a different ball park) but indeed went the neoclassical and then the world music, almost new age direction. So it's definetely their later work you're looking at, here.

Let's see some more recommendations. As far as metal goes, Mägo de Oz are pretty unique in that they use Spanish folk influences.

Corvus Corax try to recreate medieval folk music (as opposed to church music, typically).

Faun is a pretty wicked German band, very catchy. They have some electronic textures, nothing too overt.

For Swedish folk, check out Hedningarna and Garmarna.

Gjallarhorn is a Finnish folk band singing in Swedish. Pekko Käppi is a very cool jouhikko-player. Värttinä represent the Eastern Finnish tradition of folk music.

When it comes to neofolk, there's a lot to choose from. :Of The Wand And The Moon:, Rome, Sol Invictus, Spiritual Front, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, etcetera.


But really cool discoveries. I don't know half of these. Might get around to checking them when I have a moment.


As for Corvus Corax and Faun, I put them up in the "Schandmaul" bracket ; didn't want half of the list to be about medieval bands, although they each have their particularities, the "global feeling" is the same

I thought of Mägo De Oz, but since I didn't like the band much I was reluctant about adding them here ; I'll see later on if I add bands I don't like too, provided they have something interesting in their music ^^

I'll check out those bands you mention. Some I know by name, some I don't know at all so thanks for giving me names, maybe they'll make it in here And I hope you like some of those bands you didn't know yet
Fredd - 29.05.2012 at 22:43  
Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.
Fredd - 29.05.2012 at 23:02  
I'm not sure what qualifies or disqualifies a band on this list, but seem to have left Darkestrah, Moonsorrow, Wyrd and Agalloch out.
Lokaeda - 29.05.2012 at 23:07  
Written by Fredd on 29.05.2012 at 23:02

I'm not sure what qualifies or disqualifies a band on this list, but seem to have left Darkestrah, Moonsorrow, Wyrd and Agalloch out.



"to not limit myself to your typical "viking/fantasy/celtic/slavonic folk/pagan elements + black/death metal" soup"

As for Agalloch and Darkestrah (on their old stuff) I'm not yet sure whether I feature them or not, for it is a bit different from the description above (though it's still mixed with BM)
Fredd - 30.05.2012 at 00:34  
Written by Lokaeda on 29.05.2012 at 23:07

Written by Fredd on 29.05.2012 at 23:02

I'm not sure what qualifies or disqualifies a band on this list, but seem to have left Darkestrah, Moonsorrow, Wyrd and Agalloch out.

"to not limit myself to your typical "viking/fantasy/celtic/slavonic folk/pagan elements + black/death metal" soup"

What about Moonsorrow? If you mention Primordial, Moonsorrow has to be there too... Moonsorrow, man, Moonsorrow.
Fredd - 30.05.2012 at 00:35  
Also, Subway To Sally
Lokaeda - 30.05.2012 at 00:43  
Written by Fredd on 30.05.2012 at 00:35

Also, Subway To Sally



Read everything, will you ^^ ?

StS is in the Schandmaul bracket, as for Primordial, I didn't mention them
Fredd - 30.05.2012 at 01:11  
Written by Lokaeda on 30.05.2012 at 00:43


Read everything, will you ^^ ?


Hahahah, had so little time on my hands, sorry And yes, I see now. ^^

Studying is worse than drinking
theFIST - 30.05.2012 at 23:58  
What about Tengger Cavalry?
Lokaeda - 31.05.2012 at 00:51  
Written by theFIST on 30.05.2012 at 23:58

What about Tengger Cavalry?


Haven't heard of them, what genre is it?
theFIST - 31.05.2012 at 01:02  
Written by Lokaeda on 31.05.2012 at 00:51

Written by theFIST on 30.05.2012 at 23:58

What about Tengger Cavalry?


Haven't heard of them, what genre is it?

some sort of metal (some say black, but it isn"t) with east asian folk
Amatsu Mikaboshi - 31.05.2012 at 01:48  
Karl Sanders?
Lokaeda - 31.05.2012 at 01:50  
Written by Amatsu Mikaboshi on 31.05.2012 at 01:48

Karl Sanders?



I know of his solo project, but haven't listened to it yet
Fredd - 31.05.2012 at 16:00  
Amaseffer
Marcus - 31.05.2012 at 20:33  
Uaral? With Nucleus Torn and Empyrium they'd be a good add. Maybe Noekk too?
Lokaeda - 31.05.2012 at 20:39  
Written by Marcus on 31.05.2012 at 20:33

Uaral? With Nucleus Torn and Empyrium they'd be a good add. Maybe Noekk too?



I've never listened to Uaral, gonna check them out. As for Noekk I thought of them, but not yet sure if it can be considered folk, or if it's just the progressive aspect
Introspekrieg - 31.05.2012 at 22:02  
Great list, especially fond of the Dead Can Dance inclusion.
I highly recommend the greatest hits album: Dead Can Dance (1981-1998) [Compilation]

An interesting selection of their brand of folk-medieval-celtic-world fusion.
Cantara
Black Sun
Saltarello
Yulunga
The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
Nierika
IronAngel - 02.06.2012 at 01:28  
I already gave the recommendation, but gonna post an awesome solo performance by Sandy Denny (also of Fairport Convention):
Draugen - 04.06.2012 at 20:19  
Great list!

I'm not that familiar with folk metal/rock in general but after having read through your list I thought that the swedish band Otyg would be a nice addition. The band is a side project by Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund and the music is best described as folk rock with swedish lyrics about Scandinavian folklore. A great band which I highly recommend.
R'Vannith - 05.06.2012 at 07:37  
^ I second Otyg, you also might like The Moon And The Nightspirit, Ásmegin, Storm and Forest Stream
This a very interesting list although I haven't heard of most of these, shows me how little I know about the genre. Widely varied, from thrashy Skyclad to ambient and neofolk stuff like Tenhi. Thank you very much for making this, and managing to avoid the Ensiferum sort of folk, not that they are terrible at all but it just gets boring to see them smothering every folk list.
Fredd - 05.06.2012 at 17:37  
Written by R'Vannith on 05.06.2012 at 07:37

^ I second Otyg, you also might like The Moon And The Nightspirit, Ásmegin, Storm and Forest Stream
This a very interesting list although I haven't heard of most of these, shows me how little I know about the genre. Widely varied, from thrashy Skyclad to ambient and neofolk stuff like Tenhi. Thank you very much for making this, and managing to avoid the Ensiferum sort of folk, not that they are terrible at all but it just gets boring to see them smothering every folk list.

I third Otyg and second Asmegin, but he probably wont add anything having to do with olden nordic glory.

And he should keep it this way.
Nicoline - 06.06.2012 at 00:37  
Thank you for expanding my musical horizon with this list! Currently listening to Dead Can Dance, with Fejd coming up next. I'm very fond of music inspired by Norwegian folk, Gåte being my favourite contemporary band (until they split up *sadface*). Their album Iselilja is worth a listen.
Lokaeda - 06.06.2012 at 00:42  
Written by Nicoline on 06.06.2012 at 00:37

Thank you for expanding my musical horizon with this list! Currently listening to Dead Can Dance, with Fejd coming up next. I'm very fond of music inspired by Norwegian folk, Gåte being my favourite contemporary band (until they split up *sadface*). Their album Iselilja is worth a listen.



The singer of Fejd told me about Gåte, I've listened to some tracks and I liked it, so I'll dig it more
shadowdragonfly1 - 09.06.2012 at 05:51  
Great List of bands, I know like 2/3 of them. Definitely there are a few names missing, the most important IMO is Neun Welten they are so amazing just listen to Vergessene Pfade, its a masterpiece of neofolk.
Others that probably would probably fit here would be Nebelung, early October Falls and Nest.
IronAngel - 11.06.2012 at 13:45  
Come to think of it, there's plenty of folk music in Central and South America, too. For tango and flamenco, check out Astor Piazzolla and Rodrigo y Gabriela, respectively. Especially Astor Piazzolla is amazing, though he moves the folk tango tradition into a more classical/art music direction. Then again, so do most of these bands.
zmaj666 - 12.06.2012 at 23:02  
You should try Orthodox Celts...they are irish/celtic folk rock group...give it a try....nice list btw....thumb's up!!!

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