Tristan Lathey

Born in the 1980s into a family of folkies, Tristan first studied the way of the sorrowful sailors, the broken-hearted maidens and ‘over the hills and far away’ soldier singers.

Along came the 1990s and Tristan decided folk musicians in tweed were not the way forward; instead folk musicians should wear leather, velvet and bear swords. It was Folk Metal, a genre so controversial that to this day the man on the street will deny its very existence. But bands such as Skyclad, Waylander, Borknagar and of course Tristania, showed Tristan that folk music can be loud, heavy and aggressive.

In the early 2000s Tristan took the brave steps into London where he started a band playing classic rock with folk elements. Hailed as a ‘Medieval Nirvana’ the band played many gigs but never really excited young audiences with their songs about Elizabethans, barons and smugglers. After the demise of his first band, Tristan started a new heavier project, an anarcho folk hardcore band. Dividing audiences across London, the band provoked anger, chaos and confusion. Pleasing responses followed, such as, “the music’s nice but why does that man sound like he’s being sick?”

Sadly Tristan’s musical career dried up in 2011, he started a new creative life as a ceramic artist. Some of his art takes inspiration from elements of paganism and youth culture he learnt in his early days of music. He still has a fascination with the experimentation of folk music being played in the ‘wrong’ way. Echoes and Dust has indulged his sick mind by letting him review, and occasionally interview, some of these hidden and mysterious bands from the world of folk metal.




Articles by Tristan Lathey

Borknagar – Winter Thrice

‘Winter Thrice’ comes across as Borknagar’s most polished album to date; the song writing is excellent. – By Tristan Lathey

Al-Namrood – Diaji Al Joor

Al-Namrood have an incredible sound, raw yet technical with a sense of urgency which might reflect the stress of their recording environment. Their music is purposely anti-religious and against the system, which in their situation leads to great protest music and even better metal. Fans of Secret Chiefs 3 and Melechesh should check out this record. – By Tristan Lathey

Tengger Cavalry / Nine Treasures / Ego Fall – Mongol Metal

Overall this album is highly enjoyable, not just in that it’s a slightly obscure genre for a Western audience, but it showcases some very talented bands well worth the listen. – By Tristan Lathey

Isenmor – Land of the Setting Sun

This is an excellent EP which will hopefully lead Isenmor on to record a great folk metal album. – By Tristan Lathey

Ereb Altor – Nattramn

Overall ‘Nattramn’ is an epic sprawl of an album that takes you in many directions, but fuses its styles quite effortlessly. – By Tristan Lathey

Furor Gallico – Songs From The Earth

‘Songs Of The Earth’ contains some seriously slickly-played and well-written folk metal tracks and a pop sensibility, which is generally used to great effect, however it can go a little too far on occasion. Overall though, this is a very enjoyable album. – By Tristan Lathey

Cruachan – Blood for the Blood God

‘Blood for the Blood God’ has some excellent moments of raw heaviness and musicianship, but it loses momentum by the shear length of the album. If only they just included the really great tracks, it would be a better album. – By Tristan Lathey

Interview: Finntroll

Recently Finntroll played i London part of their European tour to celebrate 10 years since the release of their classic album NATTFÖDD. Tristan Lathey was invited down before the show to meet frontman Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns and guitarist Mikael “Routa” Karlbom to find out more about the tour and the life of these mysterious trolls.

Northern Oak – Of Roots and Flesh

I recommend this album to all folk metallers. Although it starts off slow, it grows stronger with each track. The production sounds fantastic, the songs have excellently written arrangements and to top it all, it has a man who is a tree on the front cover! – By Tristan Lathey

Interview: Vintersorg

Tristan Lathey asked Mr V of Swedish folk metal band Vintersorg some questions to find out more about the recent new release Naturbål.

Vintersorg – Naturbål

Naturbål has a lot going for it. There is so much happening that it will surely excite the avid folk metal fan and maybe even inspire others to listen to this very unique and diverse style of metal. – By Tristan Lathey

Musk Ox – Woodfall

Woodfall shows some seriously talented musicians who have made a beautifully sculpted instrumental classical folk album. – By Tristan Lathey

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