Manala: Korpiklaani

Rating: 90%

Korpiklaani_-_Manala.jpgReleased in 2012, the eighth album by  Korpiklaani features the hit “The Steel” or “Rauta” and the heavier side of things “Sumussa hämärän aamun”. This is one of those bands, that to me, sounds better when you have had a few beers in you. It’s happy music with some darkness to it, pending on the song.

The musicianship is very talented. It’s very balanced as far as what you hear when you hear it. You have vocalist and guitarist Jonne Järvelä whom, I respect for keeping traditional music alive. I love his whiskey drenched vocal style. Bassist Jarkko Aaltonen is another very talented musician. I love his bass riff on “Rauta”. Guitarist Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi keeps the riffs coming. Drummer Matti “Matson” Johansson has some really good moments here. Rather than having a keyboardist, you have Juho Kauppinen on accordion. Then you have violinist Tuomas Rounakari. 

The music and song structures are put together nicely. Although, with Folk Metal, you are somewhat limited to the melodies and harmonies, Korpiklaani does a decent job of keeping the listener entertained with out recycling the same thing over and over as many other Folk Metal bands sometimes do. This album is also a bit more aggressive especially the last song “Sumussa hämärän aamun”. All and all, this album is a step up compared to their last few albums.

Tracks:

1. “Kunnia” 3:25
2. “Tuonelan tuvilla” 3:10
3. “Rauta” 3:06
4. “Ruumiinmultaa” 3:37
5. “Petoeläimen kuola” 3:15
6. “Synkkä” 5:25
7. “Ievan polkka” 3:08
8. “Husky Sledge” 1:48
9. “Dolorous” 3:05
10. “Uni” 3:49
11. “Metsälle” 5:41
12. “Sumussa hämärän aamun” 6:19

Digital English Version:  I had to download this from Amazon. My CD also had “Soil of the Corpse” as the 13th of what would be disc 1. If you download the English versions, remember that tracks 8 and 9 are instrumentals.

1. “Honor” 3:25
2. “At the Huts of the Underworld” 3:10
3. “The Steel” 3:06
4. “Soil of the Corpse” 3:37
5. “The Predator’s Saliva”  3:15
6. “Dismal” 5:25
7. “Ieva’s Polka” traditional 3:08
8. “Husky Sledge” instrumental  1:48
9. “Dolorous” instrumental 3:05
10. “Dream” 3:49
11. “Off to the Hunt” 5:40

Advertisements

Erdentempel: Equilibrium

Rating: 90%

Equilibrium2014, saw the fourth release by the German Folk Metal band Equilibrium. This album is one of reorganization for the band leaving René Berthiaume as the only original member since it’s conception in 2001. This is also the second album to feature vocalist Robert “Robse” Dahn. 

The overall sound has pretty much stayed the same. You have a lot of these epic moments where you hear classical style European Folk instruments being played, mixed with the heaviness of Heavy Metal, complete with some harsh vocals. The songs all sound very good with a few that really stand out. One of my favorites is “Wirtshaus Gaudi” Tavern Fun. I love the Heavy Metal sound mixed with the German Polka drinking song feel to it.

Aside from the overall sound being good, there are several great guitar riffs being performed by René Berthiaume. He also happens to the one who records all of the drum, bass, and keyboard work on the album. The vocals by Roso are what you would expect, but it’s not overwhelming to take anything away from the music. Overall, this is a nice step in the right direction for the band.

Tracks:

1. “Ankunft (Instr.)” Arrival 0:51
2. “Was lange währt” What Lasts Long 5:10
3. “Waldschrein” Woods Shrine 5:21
4. “Karawane” Caravan 4:52
5. “Uns’rer Flöten Klang” Our Flutes’ Sound 4:21
6. “Freiflug” Free Flight 4:58
7. “Heavy Chill” 6:06
8. “Wirtshaus Gaudi” Tavern Fun 2:41
9. “Stein meiner Ahnen” Stone of My Ancestors 5:42
10. “Wellengang” Waves 5:11
11. “Apokalypse” Apocalypse 5:14
12. “The Unknown Episode” 5:46
13. “Aufbruch” (bonus track) Departure 11:16

Nattfödd (Nightborn): Finntroll

Rating: 90%

Finntroll-NattfoeddReleased in 2004, Finntroll’s “Nattfodd” has been one of my favorite releases, in fact, I don’t think there has been a bad release by Finntroll. There is a great quality of musicianship that these guys demonstrate. They are also having a lot fun it seems. The band is really into it when it comes to their fans. I love the vocal performance of Tapio Wilska. He adds a certain overall appeal to the sound of the music when he sings into the mic. Throwing out these fast catchy riffs are guitarists Samuli “Skrymer” Ponsimaa and Mikael “Routa” Karlbom. You can not deny the fact that the bass also sounds fantastic. Sami “Tundra” Uusitalo really throws out some heavy and enjoyable bass lines. Bringing home the rest of the important aspects of the music is drummer Samu “Beast Dominator” Ruotsalainen. Then you add all of the background elements such as horns or whatever, you have the talented keyboardist Henri “Trollhorn” Sorvali Jan “Katla” Jämsen is the original vocalist who no longer can sing due to health reasons, so he helps to write the lyrics for the songs. So, the musicianship is top notch and plays very tight. 

Musically, I love the fast tempos and the way the music just swings. This could be because of the fact that Polka is being used as an outline. Then you add in the Black Metal and Folk Metal aspects, and you have a band that sounds great. The music just makes you want to dance, swing, and or head bang. I love how the music can be very aggressive and heavy one minute and very Folk and light the next. This album is a great example of how Folk Metal should sound.

Tracks:

1. “Vindfärd/Människopesten” (“Windtravel/Human Plague”) 05:36
2. “Eliytres” 03:46
3. “Fiskarens fiende” (“Fisherman’s Enemy”) 03:47
4. “Trollhammaren” (“The Trollhammer”) 03:33
5. “Nattfödd” (“Nightborn”) 04:51
6. “Ursvamp” (“Ancient Mushroom”) 02:03
7. “Marknadsvisan” (“Market Tune”) 02:00
8. “Det iskalla trollblodet” (“The Icecold Trollblood”) 03:54
9. “Grottans barn” (“Children of the Cave”) 04:37
10. “Rök” (“Smoke”) 02:23

This Is The Sound: Cellar Darling

Rating: 95%

cellar.jpgAfter leaving Eluveitie, vocalist Anna Murphy, guitarist/bassist Ivo Henzi, and drummer Merlin Sutter formed Cellar Darling in 2016. Shortly after the formation of their new band, “This Is The Sound” was released. This album is a perfect blend of Rock, Metal, and European Folk. So, if you’re into Folk Metal with strong female vocals, then this may be something you’ll want to check out.

The band itself is very tight. After all, they played with each other for ten years in Eluveitie. The vocals are outstanding. The music has lot’s of guitar riffs. There’s lot’s of great drummer. The hurdy-gurdy is a great touch to the overall sound of the music.   

This trio of musicians had something to prove and they did. The result is a solid debut album. Musically, this is a step down from full fledged Heavy Metal, and more along the lines of modern Hard Rock. It’s very tasteful, creative, original and well balanced. The album has some heavy melodies. It has a along with a great overall sound.

Track list:

Avalanche
Black Moon
Challenge
Hullaballoo
Six Days
The Hermit
Water
Fire, Wind & Earth
Rebels
Under The Oak Tree…
…High Above These Crowns
Starcrusher
Hedonia
Redemption

No Grave But The Sea: Alestorm

Rating: 90%

ale.jpgReleased in 2017, Alestorm proves that ideas are not running dry when it comes to Pirate themed adventures and quests in song. This album is just as strong as any of the band’s previous releases. And if you’re a pet owner, the band even did a version for dogs. Get the deluxe edition for that second CD. 

The songs are catchy and the music is fine. This album does have it’s funny moments on songs like “Fucked With An Anchor.” The band seems to be having a blast and the creativity seems to be ongoing. Some of the songs have a bit of harshness to the vocals with Elliot Vernon’s vocals. Listen to him on the song “Alestorm.” Musically, the songs are all done very well. It features great guitar riffs and leads, excellent drumming and bass line, along with great keyboards.

The musicianship is excellent. You have keytarist and vocalist Christopher Bowes whose voice is amazing. It’s drenched in so much whiskey, that he sounds like no other out there. I love his approach. His keytar playing skills are amazing. Guitarist Máté Bodor really throws out some nice riffs and lead solos. Keyboardist and vocalist Elliot Vernon really seems to betaking his role with the band to a new level. Which is great. Drummer Peter Alcorn and bassist Gareth Murdock prove once again, that they can keep the tempos moving and providing some great rhythm that compliments the band.

So, lets go out and get drunk on some ale, mead, and rum. While you do so, make sure you have this album near by. You’ll want this for your next adventure.

Tracks:

No Grave But The Sea
Mexico
To The End Of The World
Alestorm
Bar Und Imbiss
Fucked With An Anchor
Pegleg Potion
Man The Pumps
Rage Of The Pentahook
Treasure Island

In The Navy: Alestorm

Rating: 90%

387451.jpgLate 2013, Alestorm released their single “In The Navy.” This single is a fun little party song that is drenched in whiskey and grit, only as Alestorm can do. I purchased the single off of Bandcamp for $1.99. That’s the only way you’re going to get this little treasure.

Musically, the single track is done wonderfully. It keeps it close to the original version, but does incorporate the heavier elements of Power Metal to it. The other song, “Shipwrecked” is remixed and features more of a electric dance vibe. But that is just as fun to hear. Both songs are a wonderful treat by Alestorm.

The musicianship is pretty tight by our favorite party guys. Christopher Bowes gritty and whiskey drenched style of vocals are top notch. You can tell he is having a lot of fun with this song. Guitarist Dani Evans throws out that powerful sound and makes this song part of Alestorm. Keyboardist Elliot Vernon is really good.Giving these songs balls is the backbone of the band. Drummer Peter Alcorn and bassist Gareth Murdock. 

So, when you’re having a ball or party, take this version of “In The Navy” and crank it up. Watch all of the jaws drop and see the headbanging that occurs next.

Tracks:

1. In the Navy (Village People cover) 03:14
2. Shipwrecked (Drop Goblin Remix) 04:15

M: Myrkur

Rating: 80%

Myrkur_M_cover.jpgSo, I heard all of this smack about this woman who is a well known Pop star that turned Black Metal. I was like huh? Then I heard how the Heavy Metal community was all up in arms that this woman couldn’t do Black Metal and instantly, everyone began trashing her music. So, I decided to take a listen. Well, I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.

Musically, this album contains a lot. Many influences and elements here from classical to folk and yes, classic Black Metal. It’s all thrown together. This album contains a little bit of everything, plus more. Plus, and this is a major plus, she plays everything. She is a one woman band. And talented she is.

The music is very rich and full when you throw in all of the elements of Black Metal, Folk, and yes Pop. Some of the chorus lines are very full. But as broad as this is, somehow Amalie Bruun pulls this off and brings it home. There’s a nice collection of melodies mixed with harsh and clean vocals.  I love the riffs of the guitar all the way down to the folk instruments. With all of the influences, Amalie somehow balances the music out to compliment the overall sound. There’s also some atmospheric pieces which is where the classical or folk comes in. The song structures are pretty good and yet VERY dark.

Amalie_album-36878.png

So, where are the complaints and controversy? I think, this woman pretty much pulled it off and made an album that isn’t perfect, but an album that damn good. She does have one hell of a good voice and song writer. I think that this album is very underrated.

Track listing:

1. “Skøgen skulle dø” (The whore had to die) 5:17
2. “Hævnen” (The revenge) 3:23
3. “Onde børn” (Evil kids) 4:09
4. “Vølvens spådom” (Prophecy of the Völva) 1:37
5. “Jeg er guden, i er tjenerne” (I am God, you are the servants) 4:03
6. “Nordlys” (Northern light) 2:15
7. “Mordet” (The murder) 3:41
8. “Byssan lull” (Swedish lullaby best known version by Evert Taube) 2:38
9. “Dybt i skoven” (Deep in the forrest) 3:09
10. “Skaði” (Skadi) 4:29
11. “Norn” 2:17