Elisabeth : Time and time again I realize that everything that is contained under the moniker folk metal will always be a challenge for me. That is certainly not because I don’t have feelings for the genre, because even in my teenager years I had a whole folk metal phase and I can still appreciate a good album today, but in my opinion there is just such a lot in folk metal that can be done wrong. A very big thing that directly deters me personally are bands that make exaggerated use of wind or string instruments that are produced with the help of keyboards and synthesizers. To hear electronic guitars in metal is the most natural thing in the world, but then you fuck up the folk part with a plastic keyboardsound? How authentic can that be? For me it is always exciting when I can review a folk metal album. What are we going to get? Goose bumps or gagging? But enough of these dwellings, I will concentrate on the only important thing about this review: Battlesoul.
It soon turns out that I rarely encountered such a well-executed folk/Celtic metal. Do not expect happy humpa, or fitting music for a party evening with lavish alcohol abuse, but folk metal with a hopelessly black soul. The Celtic influences are all around and bring a theatrical tone that gives a lot of goose bumps here and there. In ‘Sunward And Starward’ we get a good portion of black metal which in combination with the death and even heavy metal shares conjure up an incredible tension that leaves no room for boredom. Of course, the charismatic folk parts are there, but it provides the already very strong atmosphere with an even finer taste. We are talking about a conscious use of a flute, a small keyboard intro here and a number of chords for the background music there.
The combination of all those genres and influences can lead to a rather chaotic character, but Battlesoul succeeds with the help of recurring riffs and melodies to capture the entire album with a thin red line and leaves a very powerful and well-functioning image. Expect emotions such as euphoria, anger, sadness, despair, but also glory which are reinforced by the use of different singing styles. The intelligent use of this: the pain-filled screams, angry, angry grunts, hymn-like vocals and duets and the opera that even brings a touch of sweetness, almost create an opera-like appearance. Battlesoul surpasses themselves with their new album ‘Sunward And Starward’ and we get an exceptionally strong, intelligent and authentic folk/Celtic metal album.