Skyforger – Sword Song (Self-released CD, 2008)
Skyforger folk music album, consisting of 15 ancient Latvian war and mythological songs. Fresh re-release with two bonus tracks and new artwork!
This is only album of Latvian folk /pagan metal band Skyforger, which is made purely acoustic way using traditional Latvian folk instruments like:
1) kokle (an 11-string instrument, hybrid of board hard and guitar)
2) giga (2 string ancient forefather of cello with droning sound)
3) various flutes and pipes
4) various bagpipes
5) mouth harp
6) war drums
Originally CD was released in 2003 by the band in limited edition and in last few years became an impossible to find item. Now 5 years later, band offers a new chance for those who are still looking for “Sword Song”. To make new release more special there are:
a) two brand-new bonus tracks
b) included all lyrics in Latvian and English
c) new artwork added
d) album is fully remastered
Band members explain origin of the music this way:
„We started playing Folk music as amateur enthusiasts, only for ourselves. However, our friends and fans expressed a desire to hear more of these songs, and that led to the creation of this album. Most of the songs you can hear on this recording are taken from the repertoire of well known local Folk groups. Others are reworked versions of material from our previous albums. Our passion is to play olden songs of the war and mythology of our forefathers. In that respect, this album is no different from those we have recorded in the past. It is our tribute to ancient Latvian history, culture and folklore.”
Skyforger have been tempering their music in the smithy of the Thundergod since 1995. For the last decade, the band has been fighting under the flag of Latvian Pagan Metal; an extreme blend of traditional Baltic Folk music and various Metal influences ranging from Norwegian inspired Black Metal through to 80s-rooted Heavy Metal. The band's unique combination of ancient and modern influence has given them a wide appeal throughout both the Metal and Folk scenes, and has brought great variety to their song writing over the course of the five Skyforger albums.
The first of these was unleashed from the forge in 1997. Titled 'Semigalls' Warchant', the demo-album told tales of the last free Pagan tribes of the Baltic peoples; and their struggles with Christian invaders throughout the thirteenth century. The album's music is heavily inspired by the Scandinavian Black Metal of the early nineties. Harsh and cold, the extremity is balanced by traditional Folk instruments, which anchor the venomous brutality firmly in the past; never loosing sight of the ancestral legends the music seeks to describe.
These tales of ancient tribal Latvia and its Heathen tradition were to be expanded upon in Skyforger's first CD, 1998's 'Kauja Pie Saules' ('The Battle of Saule'). Later in 2000 followed their third release, the First World War themed 'Latvian Riflemen'.
At the end of 2002 Skyforger signed to German label Folter Records. Soon the world saw the release of their newest Pagan Metal masterpiece - a return to their old themes of ancestral culture and Heathen gods. The album successfully recaptures the spirit of ancient Latvia; this time eschewing specific historical tales in favour of describing the ancient Baltic traditions, myths and wisdom. The music is powerful, precise; perhaps slower overall than previous offerings, which gives each song an unhurried strength - imbued with Pagan fire and crushing might.
The next album in line recorded in 2003 is self-released 'Sword Song' - an album of pure Latvian folk music and a long coming tribute to their ancient forefathers' heritage.
Soon later band signed deal with Folter Records for releasing their 'Semigalls' Warchant' demo tape on CD format, release date happened in April of 2005. 'Semigalls' Warchant' features every track from the band's original demo (a rarity long since out of print), which has been completely re-mastered and combined with a brand new EP written especially for this release. This new material presents Skyforger's music after a decade of evolution - still burning with Pagan fire and fierce loyalty to the band's Latvian homeland, but with a richer sound and an even stronger fusion of melodic Folk music with their unique brand of extreme Metal.
In between album recordings, Skyforger has been also busy on stage, playing as many concerts as they can. Behind the belt of band are already four European tours; many mini-tours and festival appearances and Skyforger is well known for their non-compromise live performances.
Currently Skyforger is forging songs for the next album and of course will not forget about live activities on foreign stages.
The Skyforger line up on 'Sword Song' album:
Peter - vocals, guitars, folk instruments, warrior voices
Edgars 'Zirgs' - bass, backing vocals, folk instruments, warrior voices
Rihards - guitars, warrior voices
Edgars 'Mazais' – drums & percussion