Neofolk is diverse in a way that few genres can be: a big tent that ranges from metal to traditional folk music to synthed-ambient to plucky singer-songwriters. It is that point of fusion that gives neofolk a special edge, the ability to revisit something known and to breathe a contemporary life into it. If we take something like traditional music and reimagine it with today’s tools, can we take what was beautiful about it and inject it back into our lives?
Fatal Nostalgia is one of the best examples of that eclectic nature, using the mechanisms of ambient soundscapes and building in a sound that wreaks of Euro-folk. Fatal Nostalgia was another project we came across on the Red and Anarchist Black Metal blog and were immediately struck by its frenetic song structure, moving from nature sounds to driving drums and guitar and back to a certain campfire simplicity. Since their founding they have released five albums: Halcyon Nostalgia (2012), Fatal Nostalgia (Self-Titled) (2012), Nocturnes (2013), Quietus (2014), and Hyacinthe (2016). They have additionally put out two EPs, A Gathering of Ghosts (2013) and Woods of Somnolence (2012). The newest track, the psychedelic “Ego Death,” came out in 2016.
The music has incredible range, so much so that it can feel like a label-wide compilation even on a single album. Tracks like ‘Badger’ sound as though they could be the ten-minute track played in a rave coolout room to help quell bad trips, while ‘Without You’ has a distinctly melancholy vibe that feels like the backward facing nostalgia known to neofolk. Fatal Nostalgia is an ambient project more than anything else at the end of the day, and does feel as though it is the singular vision of an artist and his computer.
The project has been heavily influenced by the cascadian sound of groups like Nuwisha, as well as are sympathetic with the green anarchist politics that drove it. Like many of these projects, politics is not their primary purpose and are instead vocal about wanting to drive emotion and highlighting psychedelic concepts like “ego death.” This drives to the heart of what neofolk is, about connecting reality with emotion and building on what things could be (or have been) rather than what they are. Fatal Nostalgia then feels like a dangerous dream, haunting in the background.