Folklore is different from mythology, it’s more intimate. Folklore differs from region to region, it depends on the stories people tell around the fires and during the storms. Mythology is the grand tale of life and the gods but folklore is about the people, the land. If pressed, I would say folklore is actually more interesting to me than mythology. I love the grounded way folklore involves the land and the everyday folk. When it comes to metal I’m the same way. I love Viking metal and pagan metal but when they’re up against folk metal, metal that doesn’t just use folk instruments but draws upon folklore itself, there is no comparison. Look at Draugûl’s album “Chronicles Untold” from last year. Made by one man, this album encompasses everything I think real folk metal should be. It’s more than just music, it’s history.
From the second I popped the album in I was assailed with keenly sharp riffs and melodies, like knives shaped with reverb. Chronicles Untold is a hell of a triumph. It was made by someone who understands metal, not just black metal or death metal but metal. There are subtle nuances within the realm of metal, creating it, molding It, and nurturing it that few people really understand. To understand metal, you have to live it, to breath it; it has to be in your dreams, in your nightmares. Vargblod, the man behind Draugûl and the vocalist of the great black metal band Khaospath, knows what metal is, what it should be. Draugûl is a triumph of folk metal.
Every song on the album feels like a different story, a different tale told by the fire on cold nights. It’s like an anthology film, each song is framed to be part of a larger story, puzzle pieces that fit together to show you a larger image but when you look at the pieces closely you can’t see how they connect. Each song on Chronicles Untold is diverse and intricate, they stand alone perfectly. The vocals are outstanding because there is so much variation. It’s not all raspy and harsh, there are some truly operatic moments. Every time I heard clean vocals, the music soared and I couldn’t help but think of the heroic moments in folkloric stories where the villains are vanquished and the protagonist wins the day. Draugûl doesn’t use those moments often, making sure that they have an emotional impact on the listener.
Chronicles Untold is more than just guitars, bass, drums, and mouth harp. It’s an album that is far greater than the sum of its parts. The album has enough to satisfy the black metal part of me and the folklore lover in me. It’s an album that has everything you could want. Chronicles Untold has some amazing atmosphere yet the sound is surprisingly intimate. The production leaves the sound raw but the music itself is very clean.
Folk metal is important, I think, because it’s the natural evolution of folk tales. Let’s face it, metal has a much closer connection with folklore than pretty much every other form of music there is. It’s almost the responsibility of folk metal bands to really tell the ancient stories. Draugûl takes that unspoken responsibility seriously, that’s why Chronicles Untold is as strong and unique as it is. Grab it and listen to it, really listen to it. Read the lyrics and allow the music to flow through you. It’s truly an experience, one you should not deprive yourself of.
Listen and support!