|Stylistic origins||Heavy metal, Folk|
|Cultural origins||Early to mid 1990s across Europe and the Middle East|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar - Bass - Drums - Vocals - Folk instruments|
|Mainstream popularity||Europe since the early 2000s; underground in United States|
|Celtic metal - Oriental metal - Medieval metal|
|Germany − Ireland - Scandinavia - Baltic states - Russia|
Folk metal is a type of heavy metal music that started in Europe in the 1990s. This music is a mixture of heavy metal and traditional folk music. Folk instruments are used a lot and sometimes traditional singing styles are also used.
The earliest example of folk metal was the English band Skyclad. Their first album The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth was made in 1990. In 1994 and 1995 more folk metal bands appeared in Europe and Israel. Some of these early bands were the Irish band Cruachan, the Israeli band Orphaned Land, and the German band Subway to Sally. Each band started to develop their own kind of folk metal. These styles became Celtic metal, Oriental metal and Medieval metal.
In the 1990s, folk metal was not well known and there weren't many folk metal bands. In the early 2000s, folk metal became a lot more popular. It was especially popular in Finland. Some bands in Finland were Ensiferum, Turisas, Korpiklaani, Finntroll and Moonsorrow.
Different bands play folk metal music in different ways. A lot of different instruments are also used. Many bands have six or more members so they can play many different instruments at the same time. A few bands also use keyboards to make the sound of folk instruments. Lyrics in folk metal are normally about nature, fantasy, mythology and history.