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Arisztid's avatar

Two questions about German folk metal...

Asked by Arisztid (7099 points ) April 26th, 2010

I have learned of a type of folk metal out of Germany.

They use a type of medieval German bagpipes and this genre has a lot of medieval influence. Here and Here are good shots of the pipes (scroll down past the band logo on the second).

Here are a couple of examples of the bands:
*Tanswut *Nachtgeschrei *Subway to Sally *In Extremo

I enjoy figuring out when various nation’s folk is being incorporated in its music (like Trollhammer, Metsatoll, Lordi incorporating it in one video, etc).

If anyone is familiar with this genre, do you know if it, or various bands from the genre, has basis in medieval German folklore? If you know any of this genre that use the style of the German folk band, please let me know?

A second question: is German folk in any way related to Celtic folk? The bagpipes these groups use sound very similar to Scottish Highland pipes. I know that a couple of these bands cover old Scottish traditional songs.

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Symbeline's avatar

I’m not entirely sure…if I use Viking metal as an example, a lot of them which emulate the general idea that Vikings were bloodthirsty cannibals as themes for their songs and albums is more flash value than anything else, you know, like Cannibal Corpse singing about eating foetuses after blowing your load on them.
However actual, more serious Scandinavian rock and metal is closer to the actual mythologies and cultural truth than some others. I’ve heard plenty of Scandinavian music that really does use instruments and styles rooted in their culture and history, but to find it you really have to look for actual folk music, rather than modern styles based on it.

So I’m guessing it’s more or less the same thing for German folk metal. Surely somewhere a lot of them have retained some original routes from the source and use it, or at least, something which resembles what everyone might be familiar with.
You’d have to ask an expert in this, I really dunno.
I’m not sure what you mean by do you know if it, or various bands from the genre, has basis in medieval German folklore? Basis how?

One of my fave folkmetal bands ever is Eluveitie, and while they use traditional folk recipes for their songs, they admit themselves that a lot of it is improvisation, so that they have a Celtic sound rather than using actual Celtic sounds, if that makes sense.
But I guess you gotta take a few liberties when you sing in a language that doesn’t exist anymore…XD

As for the second question, I’m guessing centuries ago before Rome invaded everyone, what was the German people then were probably very similar to the Celts and they may have shared many similar traits, even if only because their life styles were similar. Which one lost what or who preserved what instrument I really don’t know, that’s some serious digging through history I’d think.

When was the bagpipe created, anyway?

Arisztid's avatar

I’m not sure what you mean by do you know if it, or various bands from the genre, has basis in medieval German folklore?

…which medieval German metal bands have their basis in Germany’s folklore. I mean had their roots in medieval German folklore, not their basis in.

I agree with you on a good chunk of viking metal but, right now, angry, loud, and violent suit my tastes just fine. I entertain myself with trying to pick up an ear to certain musical themes in all music and have, for instance, identified a theme that runs through Finntroll, finding it in other Finnish viking metal. It turns out that what I am picking up is the incorporation of Finnish folk. Oh Finntroll is also based on a Finnish legend and their first five albums told about the exploits of the Troll King.

I would like to hear more rock from the era that is tighter bound in actual folk. I have some of that stuff but not much.

I have to look into Eluveitie

I think I read somewhere that the German bagpipe used by these bands is a reproduction of one in the 1400s? I might be wholly wrong there and probably are. I would suspect that actual bagpipes, of the various types, have been around since dirt.

Symbeline's avatar

Oh don’t get me wrong. Angry and violent Viking metal is my total bag. Just for the sake of technicalities, I’m saying it’s harder to find authentic culture based Scandinavian music in the modern spectrum, but as I know it’s still very much alive.

Oh Finntroll is also based on a Finnish legend and their first five albums told about the exploits of the Troll King.

I read that on Wiki I think, but I wouldn’t have been able to know that from the lyrics alone, or the little that I’ve listened to so far. That’s interesting though, and pretty elaborate, since a lot of Viking metal deals about dying in combat then rocking it out with Odin in Valhalla. (Which is just as awesome, but you know.)

I listed to this other Viking band a while back, but I forgot the damn name…they also took legends and made songs of them, it was fucking awesome. Something about the Scandinavian creation of the world, and how mammoths created volcanoes or something…I forget. Imma go look for it and see if you like it.

But since this is about German metal…I see what you mean now. And well, I have no damn clue. I listen to German music the most actually, but it’s mostly all Industrial, which is about the most modern music you’re gonna find in the avantgarde of the metal scene. (For example, most of them don’t use any actual musical instruments, at least for things like EBM or synthpop.)

Isn’t there anyone else here who listens to German folk metal? I’d love to see the answer to that, actually, as I’m not very familiar with Germany’s past histories.

Incidentally I’ve also heard of something called ’‘pirate metal’’, but I’ve no idea how to start looking for it haha.

Arisztid's avatar

I have never managed to find authentic, pure, Scandinaian folk music. Would you know of any youtubes I could listen to? I am curious. I would like to hear pure folk music from the various nations from which I am listening to metal. I would be interested in whether or not I can pick out the folk elements in the metal. I can with Finntroll because I have heard these elements in more than one band (I forgot which others),

I first heard that Finntroll in a Youtube comment thread.

Eventually I shall come across whether or not these bands incorporate folk.

Most mainstream German music is too electronic for me. I think the most electronic that I like is Saltatio Mortis (one of my favorites, in fact). I like the electronic element as long as it does not overwhelm the other elements. A lot of these groups are considered a mix of types, i.e: folk, melodic, death, black, power, etc. I am not finding a lot of death and black metal with the German bands.

I figure that, since these bands are incorporating a German bagpipe, there probably is a German folk tradition… probably more than one.

Pirate metal? Here you go. :)

Symbeline's avatar

I’ll set you up a small package for Scandinavian folk music, mostly Norwegian. Don’t got my headphones now, so expect it when I get home later this evening. (So that I make sure the vids I’m sending you are actually music and not Gorge Bush trying to sell you his underwear. What? I had some in my favourites but I think they’ve been deleted. :/

Yeah, all that avantgarde German techno metal music is a mix of plenty of things. Recently they’ve come to incorporate things like organs and opera themed chant, like Blutengel or E Nomine. (Forgot if they’re German or not.)

And woo pirate metal thanks. :D

Arisztid's avatar

I would enjoy it and you are welcome for the pirate metal. :)

Err, you said ”(So that I make sure the vids I’m sending you are actually music and not Gorge Bush trying to sell you his underwear. What? I had some in my favourites but I think they’ve been deleted. :/

If there are any of those floating about, send me one? I am quite curious.

Oh I found Nachtgeschrei and was very surprised that they are German because they are not as electronic as most bands out of Germany.

Blutengel is German. I am doing a quick listen and have not decided yet if I like them or not. I think they shall suit my gothic playlists. E Nomine is German and, from a quick listen, they are OK but not great. I have only flipped through a couple of each band’s music. They seem, to me, to be more along what I am accustomed to in German metal. Actually, I have no clue what genre they are. Wiki says that E Nomine is a “musical project.” I have no clue what that means. I have seen it before and not understood it. :P

Symbeline's avatar

E Nomine was the kinda band that were supposed to do tracks for movies and shit, I’m not sure what went on with all that, but I like their stuff, although I seem to get sick of it quick. Pseudo ominisity, can we say that?
I totally love Blutengel though, and the singer’s voice is hawt. >_>

If there are any of those floating about, send me one? I am quite curious.

Yeah, it’s taking me a while cuz my Youtube list is…needs a cleaning, but I’m gettin there. All I’m finding right now is all my metal which I’m sure you can find on your own. Now if I could only remember what the hell I originally typed to get that Norwegian stuff. :(

Arisztid's avatar

Eh no worries and no hurries. :)

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