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Verikalpa – Taistelutahto
Band – Verikalpa
Album – Taistelutahto
Country of Origin – Finland
Genre – Folk/Troll Metal
Release Date – February 16th, 2018
Label – Inverse Records
Author – ArtificialBrian
Judging by their promo pictures, you can tell that this is a group that absolutely loves to have fun. Further going by said pictures, we can also assume that they love nature. Add in hundreds of acres of trees sprawled across vast snow-kissed mountains and we can extrapolate that Verikalpa dwells somewhere in the middle of it all with a mysterious, magically-powered PA. Perhaps said PA was even somehow constructed of organic material; it makes sense, after all this is Folk Metal. After studying Verikalpa in their natural habitat, we discover a fun group of folk with a style that sits quite comfortably between the warriors of Finntroll & their party-hardened brethren of Korpiklaani.
I’m going to be dull for a minute and continue on with these comparisons, as Verikalpa feels like a direct hybrid of the two. They have a sound almost too perfectly resembling Nattffödd-era Finntroll. There are harsh spitting vocals, melodious and rhythmic guitars, galloping drums, pulsating keyboards often mimicking the accordion, and enough gang-vocals to choke a choir. The music itself, however, is much more reminiscent of Korpiklaani, in that it is simple and catchy, with an average song length of barely over three minutes. That package as a whole fits nicely into an album titled “Taistelutahto”, which means “fighting spirit” according to Google Translate.
Unfortunately, where Finntroll travels down darker paths at times to keep their albums from becoming repetitive, Verikalpa doesn’t stray from the main trail until the very end (Rautatammi being my favorite track) and this journey ends up feeling all too similar until then, as if we are walking in circles. Depending on your perspective this could be a good or a bad thing. I can see it being good in a sense that this would most definitely translate into a great party album for drinking ale and mead to while dancing nude in the forest with your troll brethren, if that’s what you’re into. Playing the devil’s advocate, I can see it being bad as there is almost nothing unique to break up the monotony of this album after repeated listens.
Nothing new is being offered at the table here, but what we have is certainly something that will satiate the palettes of those already indoctrinated to the party-hard style of this particular brand of Folk Metal. However, I fear that it’s not likely to win any new fans over to the style. While it is fun, it can become tedious in time and leave you wanting more variation. I will be a bit lenient on these lads however, as it seems this is their debut. This is a fine album for a debut, showing a fair level of competency. I feel that most bands these days don’t sound this solid until their second or third attempt. On top of that, there is strong potential here for a matured and focused sophomore album with more depth and creativity. Then again, not all who wander are lost, eh?
Recommendation: Party hard with the trolls in the woods!