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Verikalpa - Tunrurihauta

by Huw Eggington at 21 February 2022, 12:25 PM

Finnish blackened folk metal, about trolls and well whatever it is that trolls do, this was only ever going to go to ways. When I received the link for Verikalpa’s sophomore effort Tunrurihauta needless to say I was nervous. The Finnish scene has a tendency to be a bit… silly, cheesy over the top and downright naff, or be utterly brilliant and rarely is it anything in between. And so I find my myself surprised, and despite including every one of those notes above, despite of my self and every fiber of my being telling to hate this record and to run a mile from it. I absolute love this!

Let’s get the basics out of the way quickly
Is it the best album ever written?…No!
Is it silly and naff?… Absolutely!
Accordion?…Damn straight!
Is it fun?… You bet!

That’s what I want to start with in this review, the fun, this is a fun album, it is fun to listen to and I bet it will be even more fun to witness live. From the opening licks of “Verikahau” there is a sense of pure enjoyment throughout this whole record, less whimsical and more reveling in the glory of a troll hunt in some frost bitten mead hall in the middle of the Finnish countryside and if it doesn’t make you smile and want to bang your head at least a little bit then your heart is frozen as cold as this band’s homeland. This is a band who are totally self aware, totally confident in their abilities and totally carefree of what metal is “supposed” to be.

Album opener “Verikauhu” is as big of a statement of intent as you can find anywhere, laying bare exactly what this bands sound is in the first 10 seconds and it more or less, with the exception of the slow opening “Raivokansa” does not let up for the duration of the albums run. An anguished scream launching straight into tremolo picked riffs and blast beats underpinned by synthesised accordions, forcing you along this journey whether you want to go or not. In fact it matters very little that the lyrics are in Finnish you know exactly what these songs are about by the sheer feel alone, drinking, trolls and battles!

There’s enough swing and groove in the songs to stop this from going all out silly, take the intro to “Kalmoarmeija” snare and high hat sitting just behind the beat creating a rhythm that is simply impossible not to move to. These are accomplished musicians attacking every second of each song with technically proficient playing, the guitars both rhythm and lead complimenting each other perfectly with flair and fire. The tone they produce full of crunch and floaty mid ranges giving them a vicious bite and epic, uplifting melodic capabilities in equal measures. “Rautanen Herra” meaning “Iron Lord”is probably the standout song on this album, the soaring melodies both in the vocals (yes they are there) and the instrumentation, especially in the leads and keyboards helping to give and air of glory whilst the thundering low ends in the bass and drums adding some much needed heft and power.

This is an album of real heart, you can hear they love what they do and they do it well, the production job on this is excellent and really serves the record, clean enough to hear every detail of what’s being played (and there is a lot, almost no space is left unfilled) but enough icy atmospherics running alongside this not to loose site of the primary driver of this being Black Metal. This would actually be a really good entry point for people who are unsure about Black Metal as a subgenre, there’s the bombast of a band like Dimmu Borgir with the sheer entertainment value of fellow Finns Children of Bodom albeit with a very different sound to each of those, their feel and approach is in the same vein.

Songwriting: 8

4 Star Rating

2. Kalmoarmeija
3. Riitti
4. Raivokansa
5. Rautanen Herra
6. Tunturihauta
7. Jotunimmalja
8. Taisto
9. Hurmos
10. Suohon Suotu
11. Talven Varjot
Jani Ikonen - Vocals
Sami Ikonen - Guitars
Jussi Heikkilä - Guitars
Sami Knuutinen - Bass
Jussi Sauvola - Keyboards
Jari Huttunen - Drums
Record Label: Scarlet Records


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