Folk metal has been an extremely polarizing form of extreme metal since it first began popping up in the 90s. Lyrics are an absolute orgy of all things pagan, celebrating mythology, ancient heathen battles, and alcohol, while the music ranges from melodic death metal and power metal, all the way to black metal, with elements of traditional folk music mixed in. The bands often even look like they’re ready to hit the local Renaissance Festival, and drink mead by the gallon. Now, when I think of folk metal I tend to expect bands from the Scandinavian countries, so imagine my surprise when I heard that Vorgrum are actually from Argentina!
The first thing that absolutely must be said about Last Domain is that it is a total blast to listen to. If you’re a fan of Korpiklaani, Finntroll, or Eluveitie, this album will capture your attention immediately. Everything you’d expect to hear on a folk metal record can be heard here, from shrieking black-metal vocals over speedy riffs, to guttural growls over Korpiklaani-influenced polka metal. There are often multiple styles mixed into each song, with accordions, synthesizers, and even multiple vocal styles mixed in, including some clean singing reminiscent of Týr. Even the more fun sounding tracks, like “Drunkard Anthem” and “Potato Troll” have a serious metal edge to them, never quite losing the heaviness that you’d expect to hear on an extreme metal release. The level of musicianship is impressive, with each member of the band playing their instrument masterfully, and the transition between musical styles is flawless.
Last Domain is not a straight-forward metal record, and switches gears from pummeling ferocity, to the kind of tunes you want to drink heavily and sing along to. For fans of the genre, this record encompasses everything that’s great about it. It’s just a matter of time before Vorgrum become a household name in the folk metal world.