This is music that combines the bite of Melodic Death Metal with the jauntiness of Folk Metal, resulting in songs that have Folk Metal’s quirkiness and Melodic Death Metal’s seriousness but without going too much in either direction; reminiscent of Ensiferum.
The harsh main vocals have a good presence throughout whilst more epic cleans are used very sparingly.
The violin is a strong component of the band’s sound and juxtaposes against the more Metal guitars in a way that is pleasingly disruptive yet separate from the main music.
The Folk melodies are a constant companion to the Metallic riffing. Yonder Realm are interesting in that usually the guitars of bands like this follow a Folk theme as with the rest of the music. The Old Ways is a bit different in that it’s almost as if two bands are playing; a Melodic Death Metal band and a Folk instrumentalist group. It’s like the two aspects of their sound just happen to fit into the same song structures.
Although this is potentially a recipe for disaster, Yonder Realm avoid this simply by having the two styles fit together and compliment each other. If you removed the violin and keyboards, etc. you’d still have a perfectly serviceable Metal band, but with the Folk instrumentation it’s better than it would be without.
This is a rare case of the Folk stuff sounding just tacked on to a Metal band and it actually working in the band’s favour. How on earth they managed this feat is anyone’s guess. I call black magic.
Overall I’ve enjoyed Yonder Realm’s début. They have a harsher edge than some bands of this style, which I appreciate. The very-Metal core identity of the band is simply enhanced by the Folk inclusion and the album as a whole is a rocking good listen.
Check them out.