Safe to say in the past twenty years we have seen the blending of every single genre of music humanly possible, there's disco-punk, symphonic metal, psychedelic techno, african indie, etc
Lately I have been exploring another pretty unlikely combination, Folk Metal, a genre of metal that blends the following;
* a large variety of folk instruments (pipes, bagpipes, lute, mandolin, violins, oud and more)
* hardcore guitar and vocals, borrowed from power metal, death metal, prog metal....
* medieval themes, fantasy, mythology....
The origin said to be the English band Skyclad, debuting in 1990, with Wayward Sons of Mother Earth
This was followed in the mid 90's by Curachan and Subway Sally (Europe) and Orphaned Land (Israel), followed by a mini explosion from what is becoming the home of metal, Finland (eg: Finntroll).
Where to start:
Probably Elvenking from Italy or Falconer if you want to hear the music in English and steer away from death and doom influences; kind of like a pop version of folk metal. Finntroll if you want to dive straight in.
Image: Courtesy Napalm