Folk metal is often tossed aside as a frivolity of heavy music, but folk-oriented projects are still proving they can be just as intense as their metal peers.
That’s where Switzerland’s Caladmor come in.
Rounding up ancient tunes hauled by mighty guitar chords, Caladmor label their specialty as epic folk metal. This even holds true lyrically, as the act includes Middle High German and Old Norse along with English.
Caladmor settled onto the scene with the debut album, Midwinter, in 2010. Of Stones and Stars followed last August, and the record strongly gestures to the past to demand that its listeners take notice.
After “Curse of the Gods” and “The Raid” warm the album up, it starts to build in personality; the subdued intro on “Of Stones and Stars” miraculously carves out a majestic chorus and guitar solo. “Dawn of the Deceiver” allows singing to join harsh vocals, which carry a bold, rhythmic presence.
As “Of Stones and Stars” leaves a solid impression, “Alvíssmál” is also well put together; harsh vocals start off the song, leading to a stirring chorus that is excitingly catchy. Even that break with the desolate bass manages to charm.
While uncovering another mood, “Laudine’s Lament” treks with a weeping but busy melody. Look for “Mimirs Born” to take on a more extreme exterior, and “Heralds of Doom” does the same while pounding out heavy riffs that retain a glorious vibe.
Of Stones and Stars represents its battle-craving and traditional instrument-loving niche quite well. Listeners can forgive the quirky production and simply find delight in high-spirited tunes like “Heralds of Doom.” The album makes a couple of incredible stops, too; as the clear winner on the record, “Alvíssmál” overflows with the type of hook that makes it impossible not to want to raise a fist and sing along. Folk metal is slowly reaching a broader appeal, but Caladmor are here to show the style can take command from the underground.