|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, Northern Europe|
Pagan metal is a genre of heavy metal music which fuses extreme metal with "the pre-Christian traditions of a specific culture or region" through thematic concept, rustic melodies, unusual instruments or archaic languages",usually referring to folk metal or black metal. The Norwegian band In the Woods... was one of the first bands commonly viewed as pagan metal. Metal Hammer author Marc Halupczok wrote that Primordial's song "To Enter Pagan" from the band's demo "Dark Romanticism" contributed to defining the genre.
Pagan metal is "more of an idea than a genre" and consequently bands tend to be "wildly different" from one another.Bassist Jarkko Aaltonen of the band Korpiklaani notes that bands singing about "Vikings or other ancient tribes of people are all labelled as pagan", regardless of whether they use folk instruments. Heri Joensen expressed a similar description of pagan metal as bands that sing about "pre-Christian, European traditions, be they historical or mythological" and notes that it is "musically extremely diverse because it is more about the lyrics than the music". Some bands are known to be "sprightly and spirited" while others are "bleak and doomy". Vocal styles range from "melodic chanting to unearthly growling" and while some acts sing in their native language, others sing in English.
Pagan metal bands are often associated with Viking metal and folk metal. Bands such as Moonsorrow and Kampfar have been identified as fitting within all three of those genres.
Led Zeppelin and Manowar had already explored pagan themes in the 1970s and 1980s though pagan metal bands share few if any similarities, preferring instead to credit the influence of bands such as Bathory, Enslaved, Amorphis, and Skyclad.Bathory and Enslaved are also known as Viking metal bands while Amorphis and Skyclad are also known as folk metal bands.
Jarkko Aaltonen notes that Black Sabbath "was quite pagan" as well but of "the current metal scene", he credits Skyclad as starting "the mix of traditional folk-rock music with mythology-concentrated lyrics".Chrigel Glanzmann of Eluveitie similarly credits Skyclad as the first pagan metal band, remarking that the band had mixed heavy metal music with Celtic folk music "in a way that was really inspiring". The author Ian Christe has also identify Skyclad as the pioneers of pagan metal. In contrast, Heri Joensen credits Bathory as the first pagan metal act instead, noting that Bathory had gotten "tired of the childishness of satanic lyrics, so they added some cultural weight by going to Nordic mythology". Alan A. Nemtheanga of Primordial remarks that one "can see the formation of pagan metal" in Bathory's 1988 album Blood Fire Death . He also contends that Bathory "were copying Manowar, which most people don't like to admit". Mathias Nygård of Turisas identified Amorphis as the first pagan metal band for playing "a huge role in guiding us in the direction we are now".
In April 2008, performers on the folk and pagan metal festival Paganfest were subject to accusations of being neo-Nazis and fascists from the Berliner Institut für Faschismusforschung.Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow and Heri Joensen of Týr issued a joint video statement to refute these accusations, noting that "one of the biggest issues seems to be that we use ancient Scandinavian symbols in our imagery like the S in the Moonsorrow logo and the T in the Týr logo [even though] that is how the S and the T runes have been written for thousands of years". Moonsorrow has also issued a written statement in response to the controversy while Týr notes on their official website that they "got the idea for the rune logo" from the Black Sabbath album of the same name. Other pagan metal bands such as Skyforger have also disassociated themselves from Nazism, fascism or racism. Skyforger went as far as to add the words 'No Nazi Stuff Here!' on the back of their album covers.
As of 2009, the genre has become something of a phenomenon.Mikael Karlbom of Finntroll feels that pagan metal has become something of a trend. Jarkko Aaltonen of Korpiklaani expresses a similar opinion and laments the number of people "jumping on a bandwagon". Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth has distanced his band from the trend, stating that "We don’t really see ourselves as one of those bands doing pagan folklore music."
|In the Woods...||Norway||1992|
Eine der ersten Gruppen, die übereinstimmend als Pagan Metal-Band bezeichnet wurde, waren bekanntlich In The Woods...
1992 gegründet, wurden In The Woods... als eine der ersten Bands überhaupt als reine Pagan-Band bezeichnet oder dem Black Metal zugerechnet.
Mit 'To Enter Pagan' vom Demo DARK ROMANTICISM definierten sie ein ganzes Genre mit.
Viking metal is a style of heavy metal music characterized by a lyrical and thematic focus on Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking Age. Viking metal is quite diverse as a musical style, to the point where some consider it more a cross-genre term than a genre, but it is typically seen as black metal with influences from Nordic folk music. Common traits include a slow-paced and heavy riffing style, anthemic choruses, use of both sung and harsh vocals, a reliance on folk instrumentation, and often the use of keyboards for atmospheric effect.
Folk metal is a fusion genre of heavy metal music and traditional folk music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. It is characterised by the widespread use of folk instruments and, to a lesser extent, traditional singing styles. It also sometimes features soft instrumentation influenced by folk rock.
Moonsorrow is a Finnish pagan metal band formed in Helsinki in 1995. Musically, the band incorporates elements of black metal and folk metal in their sound. The band call their sound "epic heathen metal" and try to distance themselves from the term "Viking metal". They have distanced themselves from other folk metal bands, emphasising that their music is pagan and spiritual and is challenging for its listeners, rather than happy or danceable. The band members have varying levels of pagan belief but they draw on pagan spirituality for lyrics and inspiration.
Ensiferum is a Finnish folk metal band from Helsinki. The members of the band label themselves as "melodic folk metal."
Battlelore are a Finnish heavy metal band from Lappeenranta, founded in 1999 by guitarist Jyri Vahvanen and bassist Miika Kokkola. The name derives from the union of the words 'battle' and 'folklore'. Many of Battlelore's lyrics concern J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth sagas and their stage costumes and live shows are largely inspired by the themes and characters of fantasy literature. The band had many changes of personnel during their twelve years of activity and had a long hiatus after the completion of the tour supporting their latest release Doombound in 2011. In January 2016 they announced that they would be performing at Metal Female Voices Fest XIII in October 2016.
Týr is a Faroese folk metal band. They have been characterised as one of "the islands' two most successful metal bands". Their subject matter revolves almost entirely around Viking lore, mythology, and history, taking their name from Týr, the god of war in Norse religion.
Korpiklaani is a folk metal band from Finland who was formerly known as Shamaani Duo and Shaman.
Ragnarök Festival is a pagan metal festival held annually in Germany since 2004 founded by Ivo Raab. It started out as a small, one-night festival with only regional bands in the town hall of Hollfeld. In 2005 it was decided to go for a festival featuring mostly Viking and pagan metal with the booking of bands like Månegarm, Menhir, Eisregen and Equilibrium. From 2006 on the festival took place in the significantly bigger town hall of Lichtenfels, Bavaria.
Korven Kuningas("King of the Woods") is the fifth studio album by the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani. It was released on March 21, 2008 through Nuclear Blast Records. A record deal was signed with the company in September 2007. The cover was painted on this album, unlike the last few album covers, which were created using Adobe Photoshop. It features the old man, Vaari, who was also present on the Tales Along This Road and Tervaskanto covers.
Alestorm is a multi-national heavy metal band originally from Perth, Scotland. Their music is characterised by a pirate theme, and as a result they have been dubbed a "pirate metal" band by many critics and their fanbase.
By the Light of the Northern Star is the fifth full-length album by the Faroese folk metal band Týr. It was released on May 29, 2009 through Napalm Records. The cover artwork is by Gyula Havancsák.
From Afar is the fourth studio album by the Finnish folk metal and melodic death metal band Ensiferum, as well as the first to feature keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen. It was released on September 9, 2009, on Spinefarm Records. The album was produced by Nightwish producer Tero Kinnunen and Victory Songs producer Janne Joutsenniemi. It was mixed by HIM producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. The limited edition of the album includes a cover of Swedish folk rock group Nordman.
Goi, Rode, Goi! is the fifth full-length album by the Russian pagan metal band Arkona. It was released on October 28, 2009 through Napalm Records. "Goy, Rode, Goy!" means "Hail, Rod, Hail!". Rod is the Slavic Great God, Father of the Universe.
Ukon Wacka is the seventh studio album by the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani. It was released on 4 February 2011 through Nuclear Blast. The title refers to an ancient pagan sacrificial feast, dedicated to Ukko. The album is sung in their native language.
Hamferð is a Faroese doom metal band from Tórshavn which formed in 2008.
Manala is the eighth studio album by the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani. It was released on August 3, 2012 through Nuclear Blast. "Manala" translated from Finnish to English is "Underworld".
One Man Army is the sixth album by Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on 20 February 2015 through Metal Blade.
Noita is the ninth studio album by the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani. The title is the Finnish word for "witch", but is closer in meaning to "shaman," "witch-doctor," or "medicine man."