ensiferumIn early 2008, around the time of the original Paganfest USA tour, Pagan and Folk metal were all the rage. Bands from all over Europe were suddenly gaining attention in America with their blend of traditional European folk and modern metal, and by the end of that year and early 2009 there were Pagan/Folk tours aplenty. Revolver Magazine even ran a special feature highlighting the sub-genre. When the first Paganfest USA tour rolled through America there was a palpable excitement… nothing like that had ever transpired before.

Fast forward only a few months to the end of 2009 and it would seem as if the metal-loving public has had enough of Pagan Metal. As labels rushed to sign and promote Pagan and Folk Metal bands we ended up with a surplus of them, much like we did with the re-thrash trend of 2006-2008. In an effort to cash in, the metal record labels unwittingly did themselves in. The result has been that there are too many pagan metal bands, too many pagan metal records, and too many pagan metal tours. Oversaturation. I can’t even keep track of it all.

A promoter at a major nationwide concert promotion company told me recently that all his Pagan Metal shows were tanking, or at the very least not doing as well as they had been. Is that a symptom of the economy, the concert industry in general, or something related specifically to this scene? An A&R at a major metal record label told me the other day that one of the genre’s marquee acts was looking to distance themselves from the “scene” with their next album (in the interest of avoiding spculation… no, it’s not Ensiferum, who are pictured above). Has Pagan Metal crossed from a bizarre sub-culture into a true scene? Has it reached the point of oversaturation? Is Pagan Metal now on the way down?

What got me thinking about all of this was the announcement of Pagan Metal: A Documentary, which hits stores today.

Weigh in with your thoughts on the Pagan/Folk Metal scene below.


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