Black metal (1995–2000)
|Labels||Metal Blade Records|
|Past members||Edgars Krūmiņš|
Musical style and lyrical themes
Most of their songs are about Baltic mythology and warfare; they also play traditional Latvian folk songs and their metal arrangements. Although Skyforger is known for their folk metal, their style on their demo Semigalls' Warchant is essentially black metal. The band also has performed and recorded a number of folk songs, including the entirety of their fourth album Zobena Dziesma (Sword Song), released in 2003. Folk elements can be found on all of their albums. In December 2005, during the presentation of their album, Semigalls' Warchant (2005), the band announced their next album would be experimentation with thrash metal. They later pointed out that Latvian history still has enough untold stories, meaning their lyrics will probably retain their folk/pagan fashion.
In 2010 Skyforger signed with American label Metal Blade Records and released their 5th studio album Kurbads about the deeds of mythical Latvian warrior Kurbads, son of mare. Skyforger was also featured on BBC's series "Close-Up" episode on Latvian folk music.
In 2015 the band released their 6th studio album titled Senprūsija dedicated to the now extinct Baltic people Old Prussians. Two of the album's songs are sung in Old Prussian (Ei skīja, skīja and Rāmava), while the rest are in Latvian. When writing the album Skyforger recruited historian Agris Dzenis, who is noted in the credits as the historical consultant. After releasing the album the band embarked on a European tour on April 8. In 2016 Senprūsija received the Latvian Gold Microphone award as the best hard rock/heavy metal album of 2015. In 2016 Skyforger also re-issued their 2003 album Zobena dziesma with 2 additional songs.
On June 3, 2017, Skyforger performed a one-time multi-media concert – metal opera "Kurbads. The Son of The Mare" – at Lielezers open-air stage in Limbaži as a part of the programme for 100th Anniversary of the Latvian Republic. On February 14, 2018, the performance was awarded Kilogram of Culture award as the "Surprise of the Year". On June 17, 2018, Skyforger played a special concert at the festival "Zobens un Lemess" commemorating the 20th anniversary since the release of their first full-length album Kauja pie Saules in 1998.
Skyforger was involved in some controversy with one of their former producers who believed they were affiliated with Neo-Nazism. The reason for this was the cover of their album Thunderforge, which depicts Baltic god of thunder Pērkons wearing a belt buckle adorned with a swastika and striking an anvil, as well as the swastika incorporated in Skyforger's logo. Some websites had therefore listed Skyforger as a Neo-Nazi band. The band addressed the controversy on their website, saying:
|“||Skyforger has never been interested in any kind of national-socialistic ideology. Also not in any other ideologies whatsoever. All album themes and lyrics simply display pure Latvian pagan art and symbols, which have been used for thousands of years. (..) To our people, the swastika (or as called here - Thundercross) was a sign of the pagan god of Thunder, and it gives protection against evil things. On the first two album sleeves we even included labels which read "No Nazi stuff here" to avoid misunderstanding, and prevent false interpretation of the symbol. The Thundercross existed long before the NS regime of 1930s. Sadly, it seems that there is still prejudices against the symbol alive today; therefore Skyforger has removed the symbol from the logo permanently.||”|
|— Skyforger, |
- Current members
- Pēteris Kvetkovskis – lead vocals, guitar, Latvian folk instruments (1995–present)
- Edgars Grabovskis ("Zirgs") – bass guitar, backing vocals, Latvian folk instruments (1995–present)
- Alvis Bernāns – guitar (2014–present)
- Artūrs Jurjāns – drums, percussion (2016–present)
- Former members
- Imants Vovers – drums, backing vocals (1995–1998)
- Rihards Skudrītis – guitar, backing vocals (1996–2000, 2001–2004, 2006–2008)
- Edgars Krūmiņš ("Mazais") – drums, percussion (1998–2015)
- Kaspars Bārbals – Latvian folk instruments, backing vocals (2004–2012)
- Mārtiņš Pētersons – guitar, backing vocals (2000–2001, 2008–2010)
- Ģirts Kļaviņš ("Motors") – guitar, backing vocals (2004–2006)
- Egons Kronbergs – guitar (2010–2013)
- Semigalls' Warchant (demo) (1997) (demo tape)
- Kauja pie Saules (Battle of the Saule) (1998)
- Latviešu Strēlnieki (Latvian Riflemen) (2000)
- Pērkoņkalve (Thunderforge) (2003)
- Zobena Dziesma (Sword Song) (2003) (the album contains only Latvian folk and war songs)
- Semigalls' Warchant (2005) (re-release of the 1997 demo with four additional new songs)
- Kurbads (2010)
- Senprūsija (Old Prussia) (2015)
- "Skyforger". Metal Storm. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "SKYFORGER'S Sword Song Shows that Modern Folk Metal can be Deeply Authentic". Metal Injection. May 17, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "SKYFORGER Signs With METAL BLADE RECORD". Blabbermouth.net. February 8, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- "Skyforger - Sign With Metal Blade Records". Metal Storm. February 9, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- Kaljo, Egils (February 10, 2010). "Skyforger signs deal with Metal Blade Records". Latvians Online. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- Kaljo, Egils (February 2, 2011). "Skyforger's gruff lyrics tell the story of Latvian warrior Kurbads". Latvians Online. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- "SKYFORGER Featured In BBC Latvian Music Special". Blabbermouth. May 5, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- "Skyforger goes Prussian for latest album". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. April 7, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- Kaljo, Egils (August 26, 2015). "Heavy metal band Skyforger dedicate album to Ancient Prussia". Latvians Online. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- Kaljo, Egils (May 25, 2016). "Skyforger reissues folk song album "Zobena dziesma"". Latvians Online. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "First metal opera to be staged in Latvia". The Baltic Course. April 5, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "9 'Kilogram of Culture' awards presented at the official ceremony in Latvia". The Baltic Course. February 20, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
‘Surprise of the Year’ award for 2017’s achievements goes to the metal opera ‘Kurbads. Son of Ķēve’ by director Inga Tropa and the Skyforger Group with this production also being the first Latvian metal opera.’
- "Internationally renowned "Skyforger" is calling for a grand concert". Latvia Travel. February 16, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "SKYFORGER Latvian Folk/Pagan Metal Band". Skyforger.com. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
- "Members". Skyforger.com. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
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