Ilmarinen – Tribute to a King

Band: Ilmarinen
Album: Tribute to a King
Release Date: 29th December 2018
Record Label: 1093015 Records DK2

Another suggestion I received from the lovely people in The Folk Metal Grove was from a member of Ilmarinen, who had recently released a 5-track EP upon the world.

The EP begins with an instrumental track, Northward, which begins with drum rolls and strings. It is an epic fantasy track with flutes as well. It feels like the beginning of an epic quest. Tribute (To a King) brings to my ear a definite change in the audio quality. The strings still sound sharp, but the guitars in particular sound quite distorted and although later on it fits a little more together, the difference in the quality between the guitars and other instruments in this track doesn’t sit well with me. The vocals also do not sound quite sharp enough for me personally. I feel that if the guitars and drums sounded sharper and clearer, then I would enjoy the track more. However, I do hear the quality of the composition, and it is a well written track.

Ochtenddauw is the third track on the EP. It begins with an organ accompaniment to the metal instruments. This track is heavy on the strings and flutes. The audio quality does seem a little better on this track, and it is a more catchy tune than the previous full-length track. The Feast at Glasir has a strong flute melody to start with, and is a track that you can headbang and jig to. Again the audio quality isn’t quite there for me but the composition again is good. There are clean group vocals for the first time, and there are flute and fiddle solos during the track.

The final track is a great dancing and drinking song, Bier Drinken en Kut Roepen. There are lots of really folky melodies with the strings especially and it is a heavier track than previous songs. I can see a jig pit going down very well with my folk metal loving friends if we ever saw this live.

Composition and music wise, I really enjoy this album. Sadly, what lets it down for me is the audio quality on the guitars and drums. This may be intentional as the sound is similar to that of traditional black metal, but with the sharpness of the folk instruments it doesn’t really fit to me personally. However, as I previously mentioned, I do enjoy the composition, and from the live video below the band do have a lot of enthusiasm and if I got the opportunity to see them, I would take it. I hope to hear a full-length album from them in the future!

Verdict: 7/10

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