Last Ride: Evenmore

Rating: 80%

61rR1r9xPTL._SY355_.jpg“Last Ride” released in 2016 is Evenmore’s debut record. For those who never heard of the band since they are not on a major record label, does a great job in combining elements of Power, Symphonic, and Folk Metal to create their sound. The band itself is made up of vocalist Melissa Bonny, guitarist Landry Pernet, bassist Frederic Jorand, drummer Florian Bard, keyboardist  Lionel Blanc, and Matthieu Bopp performing all of the whistles. Guest musicians include Anna Murphy of Cellar Darling and Henning Basse of Firewind.

The album opens with a spoken ballad “The Eternal Kingdom”. After that, the album goes into “The Ride Begins”. This song has a nice melody to it. The guitars, bass, and drums go along with the vocals and the flute. “Poisoned Thorn” changes the pace. You now go from this Power Metal attack to a more melodic and technical complex guitar work. It also showcases vocalist Melissa Bonny’s clean and dirty vocal style. The entire instrumentation on this song is excellent.  “In the Forest” is another Folk inspired spoken word with Anna Murphy on the hurdy gurdy. That leads right into the more Folk inspired Heavy Metal for the song “Tavern”. I love how the whistle and guitar play off one another. “Breaking the Silence” is a smooth flowing song. “The Throne Room” is another spoken word track with whistles. I know that these little bits tell a story, it does kind of turn me off. It’s like an introduction to another introduction. “Eleana” this ballad style song features a duet with Henning Basse of Firewind. I am not a ballad type, but the vocals work well giving the song more harmony. “Bloody Wedding” is another spoken word Folk inspired song. “Bitter Victory” starts off slow and then goes right for the jugular. It features both clean vocals and growls, plus a kick ass riff at the bridge that leads into the chorus. “Will You Cry” brings us back to a cool ballad approach. It has a kicking guitar solo that has a Bluesy feel to it. Something that is very different. “Last Breath” features Anna Murphy on vocals. “Valhalla” is an outro song with spoken words and more background music that becomes more epic sounding as the timer counts down for the end of the album.

Musically, from what I hear, the band is playing very tight for an independent release. The production is really good. All of the riffs work well with one another. The cleaner vocals to the more growly just adds to the atmosphere of the overall feel to this record. It’s not forced nor is it being overdone. Although, this album has been classified as a Power Metal record, it proves to be more than just that.  It’s an adventure to hear, but I could do without the filler and there are a few filler songs on here. Everything else I liked.

Tracks:

1. The Eternal Kingdom 04:08
2. The Ride Begins 03:54
3. Poisoned Thorn 04:29
4. In the Forest 00:37
5. Tavern 03:14
6. Breaking the Silence 06:02
7. The Throne Room 00:51
8. Eleana 05:08
9. Bloody Wedding 01:04
10. Bitter Victory 04:40
11. Will You Cry 04:32
12. Last Breath 04:48
13. Valhalla 03:00

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Kulkija: Korpiklaani

Less than one month, on September 7, Korpiklaani will release their 10th record “Kulkija.” I have previewed four tracks from that album already and I must say…from what I hear, it’s not bad. Here is a preview of their upcoming album.

Tracks:

1. Neito 03:52
2. Korpikuusen kyynel 04:07
3. Aallon alla 04:05
4. Harmaja 05:08
5. Kotikonnut 04:23
6. Korppikalliota 05:38
7. Kallon malja 09:46
8. Sillanrakentaja 06:44
9. Henkselipoika 03:56
10. Pellervoinen 03:19
11. Riemu 05:15
12. Kuin korpi nukkuva 03:56
13. Juomamaa 03:49
14. Tuttu on tie 07:22

Noita: Korpiklaani

Rating: 85%

Korpiklaani_-_Noita.jpgReleased in 2015, “Noita” I think delivers a great arrangement of songs. Although, many will argue that this is just another album release as their previous works.  That could be due to the Folk instruments. They can be somewhat limited due to their complexity in Heavy Metal. While, maintaining a strong Folk element, one thing I notice, is the hardness of the guitars. There are some brilliant riffs on this album. But there are some elements that do sound exactly the same as their previous albums. However, Folk Metal is basically the same from one band to another if you think about. Just like any genre of music. 

I think vocalist & guitarist Jonne Järvelä gets the job done. His whiskey drenched vocal style hasn’t lost that touch since their first album. Guitarist Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi still delivers those riffs. Bassist Jarkko Aaltonen still has that thunderous punch in his bass lines. Drummer Matti “Matson” Johansson also delivers well. Here are the Folk elements of the band. Accordionist Sami Perttula and violinist Tuomas Rounakari both do a great job. I do hear more of the violin throughout this album. 

There are a lot of strong points on this record. “Lempo” and “Ämmänhauta” are my favorite two tracks. I love the riffs and the vocal style. They are also very powerful songs to hear, because of the music itself. They are perfect. “Pilli on pajusta tehty” has a weird and heavy riff which makes that song good. “Viinamäen mies” was redone for the English version “Man With A Plan.” The music is exactly the same, just different lyrics.

Tracks:

1. “Viinamäen mies” (Vineyard Man) 2:58
2. “Pilli on pajusta tehty” (The Flute is Made of Willow) 2:42
3. “Lempo” (Darn) 5:35
4. “Sahti” (Moonshine) 3:28
5. “Luontoni” (My Nature) 3:01
6. “Minä näin vedessä neidon” (I Saw a Maiden in the Water) 6:08
7. “Jouni Jouni” 4:51
8. “Kylästä keväinen kehto” (A Springlike Cradle from the Village) 4:41
9. “Ämmänhauta” (Witch’s Tomb) 5:17
10. “Sen verran minäkin noita” (There’s Some Witch in Me Too) 6:37
11. “Antaja” (Giver) (bonus track) 5:13

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

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