Metal4Africa.com » » Balyios – A Journey Homeward
What is best in life? Crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and having a tankard of beer with your fellows, before returning to the pit of guttural blasting consumes you once more!
Balyios is a melodic folk metal quartet from Pretoria consisting of Ruan of clan Malan on the electric lute and voice projector (guitar and vocals), Werner of clan Boshoff on magical harpsichord and voice projector (keyboard and vocals), Frederik of clan Nagel on percussion (drums) and Arno of clan Smit on low tuned electric mandolin (bass).
I sat around a long table with these warriors with many tankards of beer. Though the table was digital, and mead imaginary. (Wow, that sounds a helluva lot better in olden tongue, I think I’ll stick with it. This is after all being fuelled by whiskey and folk metal on loop.) Folk metal is still very much an under represented sub-genre, especially in S.A’s death- and –core dominated metal scene. But what is folk metal, you may ask, as ye gaze upon this glowing parchment. It is, in its essence, a subgenre of metal that focuses on blending archaic music with metal to great effect, and it works wonderfully.
The warriors known as Balyios describe it as thus: “A beautiful journey through ancient, mythical lands; blending traditional folk instruments with modern electric versions. The tools of metal, fused in harmonious melody with their forefathers. It regales us with tales of mighty warriors and glorious deeds, as the bards did of old.”
When inquiring about their moniker, “Balyios”, and the meaning it may hold, I was saddened to discover that alas, it has none. It does however trickle as honey over one’s tongue. The idea of Balyios is non-iconic, it is an idea, a portal to another world, another reality with real characters and emotion; a world unknown, hidden in the mists of our own. If one would need a tangible item, Balyios would be the written history of this world, bound in leather and tartan, the band does not need a “mascot” for they are it themselves. That being said, each of the four would liken themselves to a beast of mythology! Werner is the dragon, mighty and bold, with power untold, and wisdom eternal. Frederik is the leviathan, a beast feared and and hunted; a beast that taunts its pursuers before returning to the depths. Arno is the troll, built solid, strong, and misunderstood, drinking the blood of children and Ruan is the griffon, head of an eagle, body of a lion, swift and powerful. A worthy adversary!
Having learned of the warriors four and their warband, I asked about their album, Homeward.
The quest to unleash it upon the world began in the winter of the year passed (2011), yet the recording only began in march of this year. They have chosen to include songs of past battles on the album, as they form part of the tale they weave upon it. Balyios have always strived towards the goal of releasing this album, and with it coming to fruition, they are in awe of themselves for reaching this point. When faced with the subject of the album, as it is tradition for any folk metal album to tell a tale, I believe Frederik puts it best: “In short it is a tale of a warrior, victorious from battle but cowardly in life, facing inner turbulence and personal issues.
The lyrics all contain stories following the main characters life. These adventures include a life-altering journey to a tavern, the acquiring of love and the betrayal that follows soon after. All these stories converge to where the warrior returns to battle to face his inner cowardice. He survives, barely, and returns home only to find that his village has been burned to a crisp (referencing the artwork and title.)” Werner added that the album is not a concept album per se, yet all the songs were written with this tale in mind. Also, what makes this album special is that this band has taken it upon themselves to complete the product. They each have a part to play, and they are not being aided from the outside, it is their album.
As for the finished product, for which they received aid, honourable mention goes to Christopher Moore for the artwork, Incompertus Vivii, for immortalizing the four on film, and production of the hard copy will be tackled by their trustworthy allies, SA Bandmerch. The Album will be available in September of this year.
The four have no signs of resting and it is their divergent course from the norm that keeps them inspired. They truly believe that our emerging scene needs diversity. In this they speak truth, though they love their brothers in the circles of death and black, they will when sharing stages with them, give the audience a well-deserved chance to drink and be merry! They will not succumb to weakness, or let themselves be forgotten, they are warriors of metal, defenders of the steel, they are Balyios.
When Homeward is complete, they will journey as far and wide as is possible to spread the warriors tale, before they themselves, after a long and arduous quest return homeward!
Below, you can hear the full version of their ode to the Realm of Ice, “Nifelheim”, exclusive to Metal4Africa!