Review: VERIKALPA “Tuoppitanssi” [Scarlet Records]

Review: VERIKALPA “Tuoppitanssi” [Scarlet Records]

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The Finnish folk band Verikalpa released their second album “Tuoppitanssi” on Scarlet Records this February (the first album was released on Inverse Records). Despite that Verikalpa exists for almost 15 years, they’ve started to record their songs only four years ago. Their debut album “Taistelutahto” was cheerful and intense, and their second album “Tuoppintanssi” echoes with the same merriness and fervency.

And again, the funny troll metal rain downs on you, something between Korpiklaani (but heavier) and Finntroll (but more positive). This is the perfect album for listening in the pub meeting with friends, ideally in Finland, because all the lyrics are in their native language (and with Oulu accent). Under such circumstances the one or two glasses of beer won’t do wrong, besides the whole atmosphere beckons you to it.

Verikalpa doesn’t mind about secondary material, this music is not innovative or original, but that’s the point, the band derives pleasure playing this particularly jolly folk metal to praise fairy-tales or booze skirmishes. And they do it professionally, and no doubt, with great pleasure.

“Tuoppintanssi” is melodic release and mostly with fast or mid tempo, but no one waits from such releases, ballads or thoughtful atmospheric pieces, it is filled with ancient battles and spilled alcohol. This album is full of cheery and positive moments, some of them are catchy and easy to remember, but in truth, not many of them. The second album of Verikalpa creates some sort of spur-of-the-moment atmosphere, actual while listening, but after that nothing left expect positive aura. Yes, there are some solemn and symphonic tracks (for example, Peikon Kieli or Tuonen Miekka), but even these ones sound merrily and vigorously, so there’s no reprieve from positive emotions.

The most important part is given to keyboards (performed by Jussi Sauvola), they create common folkish foundation, and mostly they sound like accordion (it is a pity, that there’s no accordionist in their line-up). But without synthesizers, it’s mostly melodic death metal (especially it is emphasized on song “Varjosahti”). But amazingly, sometimes the bass-guitar of Sami Knuutinen dominates, so the songs “Mettäväinö” and “Tuonen Miekka”, probably are his favourites. “Tuonen Miekka” is also the most epic on this record, but the symphonic and epic elements can often be found throughout the release, so characteristic to war metal. Almost every song is based on one primitive guitar riff, so no mood changes or smooth transitions, everything is classically folkish.

The vocalist Jani Ikonen for the most part uses the extreme singing technique, his voice is more brutal in the heaviest parts (humppa inspired trollish passages), but it becomes cleaner during more serious moments, but nonetheless, it doesn’t lose its familiar hoarseness. Sometimes the other band members sing along in choruses with traditional booze wailings (like in the most classical folk track “Tuoppitanssi” or “Haaksi”). So, this album sounds very smoothly, without all these strange or sudden elements, and that is a good thing, “Tuoppintanssi” helps to relax and entertains the listener, even if it is done without a pint of ale.

The folk metal scene is now overwhelmed with new bands, Verikalpa are not one of the most original, but they deserve to be compared with such big names as Korpiklaani or Alestorm. “Tuoppintanssi” is strong and traditional folk metal release, which provides with optimism and elevates the fighting spirit.

Release date: February 21st, 2020

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About the author

I am into metal music from the school times, started from traditional genres, and now exploring the experimental scene. I'm also interested in modern architecture and contemporary art.

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