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Atorc – Under the Raven Banner

Under the Raven Banner
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 02 April 2019, 7:22 AM

The three-headed folk monster that is ATORC are back with a second album called ‘’Under the Raven Banner’’, two years after the outstanding ‘’Seven Tales of Swords and Ale’’. The Suffolk, England band is back with a vengeance. They are one of the rare Folk Metal bands that have three vocalists. Each vocalist adds their own unique stylings to the ten song opus. Hellbard is very reminiscent of a young Bruce Dickinson, Boudikath adds her feminine touch to most of the backing vocals of the album and BattleBeast delivers some gut-wrenching guttural vocals here and there.

It’s really a damn shame that this oh so talented band is unsigned but they are slowly getting a cult following in England and I sure hope they get the attention they rightfully deserve. They deliver something a bit different in the Folk Metal scene. They already have three vocalists, so that does give them a slight advantage on a more or less stale musical genre. As for the music, you have a very talented axeman in the likes of “Scallywag,” he can shred like the best of them but it’s not something that gets on the nerves of the listener. He doesn’t seem like showing off and he definitely adds something more to the table.

We already have our fill of great Folk Metal Bands (or Pirate Metal bands as well) . There may be an overabundance of bands that are overly joyful and whatnot but I don’t really mind if the music and the overall ambiance is on point. It’s another set of tales about the wenches, alcohol debauchery, wizards, bards and the whole medieval experience! I don’t really mind and I always enjoyed something that is toe-tapping fun but also very musically driven. The musicianship is top notch and there is not an overabundance (again with that word!) of violins and keyboards. They add to the depth of the songs but it’s not unnerving.

The happy-go-lucky English band delivers with another great Folk Metal album, reminiscent of the greatness of earlier bands like SKYCLAD, ELVENKING and CRUACHAN. This is the best Folk Metal album I heard this year and I really hope they get the big break they deserve. I hope they can get out of England and do tours in Europe to spread the word, because they are better than a lot of the older Folk Metal bands on the tour circuit and deserve more praise that’s for sure.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Hrafansmerki
2. Under the Raven Banner
3. The Mead Hall
4. Hammer to Anvil
5. Maidens of the Shield
6. Sovngarde
7. Voice of the Storm
8. Isle of the Brave
9. Ragnarok
10. Shieldwall
Scallywag  – Guitars
Hellbard – Vocals
Thor – Drums
BattleBeast – Bass
Huldra – Violin
Boudikath - Keyboards
Record Label: Independent


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