Spotlight on Pagan Music

A weekly feature highlighting the best music from Pagan, Pagan – influenced, and occult artists. You can hear many of these artists on my weekly radio show and podcast, or you can check out the annual “Darker Shade of Pagan” music special available for download online.


Corvus Corax

Band Bio:
Already in the mid 80s the Corvus Corax minstrels were roaming as street performers throughout the country (East Germany). They found fragments of medieval-secular music in old writings and reworked them, in a completely new way. Many medieval bands have sought to emulate the style of Corvus Corax and there is certainly no medieval market in Germany where the songs from Corvus Corax are not played. The 5 bag pipe players and 3 percussionists of Corvus Corax have created an unmistakable sound, which unites the haunting medieval melodies with hypnotic dance rhythms and drives audiences wild every time they play. Corvus Corax have long been acclaimed for their legendary concerts and few can avoid getting caught up in the ecstatic power of their acoustic performance in their fantastic self-created costumes.

Corvus Corax web site.
Corvus Corax MySpace page.
English fan site.

Song download:
Their song “Filii Neidhardi” appears on the 5th annual “Darker Shade of Pagan” special available for download, here.

Corvus Corax side-projects (with sound samples and downloads)
Cantus Buranus (MySpace)
Castus Rabensang (MySpace)
Cornix Maledictum (MySpace)
Cultus Ferox (former members)

Video download:
Cantus Buranus videos.

“Imagine bagpipes and percussion performed by a group of eight men who look, if the cover photo is any indication, like the outest of outlaws — in this version, an outrageous blend of leather drag, half masks, monks’ robes and period instruments. (I gather that this is more or less normal — some sources refer to the musicians performing “half-naked, dressed in unusual clothes, wearing different ancient decorations, and often tattooed.” Sounds like my kind of people.) The music is totally captivating. Largely instrumental, the sources are medieval but branch out into world-beat and contemporary rock, and probably a few other places I haven’t figured out yet.”Green Man Review

“While other artists such as Faith and the Muse and Loreena McKennitt would infuse modern music in with medieval folk music, the band relies solely on a combination of pounding percussion and instruments such as bagpipes and shawms, transporting the listener back to a time of swordfights and jousting, knights in armor and tartan-clad warriors…”ReGen Magazine

“A great idea whose time – well, came about 500 years ago, but you can’?t keep a good pack of leather-toga-draped medieval minstrels down. Historically correct in every aspect, Corvus Corax has been a fixture at German ren fairs and the like for twenty years, playing extinct music on painstakingly researched hand-made instruments. Whereas bagpipes are the weapon of choice for the front quintet, fearsome kettle drums hold down the percussive fort in the primal tradition of Stomp, Blue Man Group or like concepts geared more toward mass hypnosis than intricacy…”Glide Magazine

My Two Cents:
What do you think of when you think “bagpipes”? Do you think of a band of scantily clad men from East Germany stomping across Europe like modern barbarians? If not you might want to start. This is what would happen if heavy metal was played with bagpipes, flutes, and drums. A brilliant cacophony of ancient and modern that is at home at Renn. fairs as it is on modern dance floors. If modern Pagan music seems a little too wimpy and anemic for you, Corvus Corax might just be the remedy.

Further Reading:
Interview with Corvus Corax. Another interview.