Aexylium - Tales From This Land - (8/10)
Published on September 4, 2019
Genre:Folk / Metal
Folk metal wasn’t ever my first choice in metal sub-genres but Aexylium was quite strongly recommended to me so I decided I’ll give it a shot. Their debut album “Tales From This Land”, released last year, is in most ways what you’d expect from folk metal but it also has a touch of symphonic and power metal in there which makes it considerably more diverse and interesting than what I was expecting. There eight people in this band, adding various folk instruments to the standard metal band composition (guitars, bass, drums, vocals).
Their songs are generally straightforward, very catchy, jumpy and energetic and follow the general verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure which makes them very good for having fun and, I’m assuming, ideal for live shows. The guitar riffs, bass and drums mainly lay down the rhythm and metal groundwork of the music with a good amount of groove but it’s usually the folk elements (violin and flute) that carry out the song’s main themes and melodies. Of course there are also some lead guitar melodies and solos, which are probably my favorite element in their music, being both enjoyable and somewhat technical from time to time.
There’s both clean singing as well as screaming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly impressed by the vocal delivery as it is a bit limited in style and sometimes doesn’t feel very well placed in the mix, but it does click with the vibe and energy that the songs are going for. The scream to clean alternation gives a good dynamic (see “The Blind Crow” for my favorite sample of that).
I’d say the vibe of the album alternates between party folk music and fantasy vibes. The clean vocals have a bit of a raspy pirate touch that certainly adds to that. And although all their songs are very bouncy and energetic, there’s a softer component to their music too. They easily insert calm moments where, clean guitar, folk instruments and keyboards take the spotlight. These can either be intros, outros or mid-song interludes but what I like most about them is that they can create this change in mood without altering the pace of the songs. It flows in and out of it quite naturally. Also, at times, when they bring the keyboard forward over the guitar riffs, they can actually make it feel heavy and soft at the same time. The keyboard is a very important element as it constantly alternates between being in the background and coming forward and it switches between orchestral strings and piano sound, expanding the band’s sonic spectrum.
I guess my biggest problem with this album is that all songs are based on the same recipe. They bring together quite a lot of elements but in terms of composition it gets a bit repetitive. When listening to the full album I start losing interest after a while, though it works well to just jam a song or two. With the closer “Radagast” ending quite abruptly, I get the feeling that they weren’t going anywhere with it and I would’ve wanted a bit more. But overall it’s a good listen and if you’re aiming for easy, fun and catchy stuff then I highly recommend it.