Folkodia - Battlecry 3/5

Reviewed: 3-1-11


1. Eagle’s blood
2. Battlecry
3. Blood-red axes
4. The celestial giants
5. Hunter in the wild
6. The celestial host
7. The oath of runes
8. Invoking the sidhe
9. Pale prince on a moonlit shore
10. The hour of wrath
11. Sword in hand

When Folkodia debuted back in 2008 with ‘Odes to the past’, it immediately seemed an unnecessary move for the Folkearth collective to split off into a 2nd branch considering the astronomical rate that they were already churning out CDs at. The end result was surprisingly satisfactory though, and indeed was a damn site better than any of the trash the parent project inflicted on us that year.

The lines have definitely blurred since then though, and while the follow-up ‘In a time of legends’ and this CD, ‘Battlecry’, don’t do too much wrong they ultimately are left feeling a little redundant. The initial premise of Folkodia, at least what I took away from the debut anyway, was that it was supposed to be a more reigned-in version of the sprawling original project with more emphasis on conciseness.

But with Folkearth going in a similar direction since then and actually getting their act together somewhat recently, and with the groups now sharing even more members there barely seems to be a point in viewing them separately anymore.

One thing that can be said in favour of ‘Battlecry’ is that, next to the Folkearth’s more streamlined and consistent recent CDs, it packs a little more variety, with less focus on aggression and more songs that are suited to festivities as well as the obligatory battle hymns. A greater variety of folk instruments are used too (I’m sure it used to be the other way round...) and generally they are well enough implemented to avoid the dreaded trap of having the woodwind stabbing unbearably through every song.

The metal side of things is generally well-represented too, with the same inspiring lead guitar playing that has given Folkearth such a boost also on display here (although to perhaps to slightly more restrained effect) and real, human-performed drums providing far more depth and variety than the programming of their earlier works.

Like Folkearth (sorry about all these comparisons, but it really is impossible to avoid) there is a greater emphasis on harsh vocals than before for Folkodia, but not to as great a degree and the clean vocals that are featured are quite strong – certainly more so than on the previous CD which saw a bit of a drop-off in singing quality after the debut. They tend to feature most on the songs that are based around acoustic instruments, and the 2 compliment each other well as the harsh vocals would sound as silly on these songs as the sonorous cleans would sound on the pounding, blackened numbers.

So in the end it’s another above average effort, and while I have to give it a reasonable score based on its own merits, it’s difficult to work out exactly who it could be recommended to and to be honest I’m probably underselling because of that. I’d imagine most people are like me and simply don’t have the stomach for this many Folk-something CDs coming out every few months, and to someone new to the ‘bands’ the obvious place to go would be to their far stronger early material or Folkearth’s much-improved recent CDs. Only true obsessives are going to need to add this one to the pile.




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