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The Heavy Metal GM

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Metal

Reviews and thoughts on albums, artists and songs.

Deep calleth upon Deep – Satyricon

Nay sayers will tell you that Satyricon finally went over the deep end with their self-titled album. While it was a far cry from the “black n’ roll” style of Now, Diabolical and Age of Nero, I found it to be an artistic masterpiece. It’s an atmospheric album that showed Satyricon could be thoughtful in ways we may not have expected. The album, Satyricon had me excited for this new adventure, and Deep calleth upon Deep just simply couldn’t come fast enough.

I wasn’t disappointed, just left slightly confused.

The opening track to the album, Midnight Serpent proved to be vastly different from the opening of Satyricon. It comes out strong, reminding you who Satyricon really is. The lyrics are carefully crafted and placed, making this track a powerhouse. Weighing in at 6:21, it seems like it would run out of steam, but it doesn’t fail to satisfy. However, the middle of this album takes a really drastic turn from that signature sound we came to know and love from this band. The track Blood Cracks Open the Ground has an amazing feeling to it… for the first two minutes or so. There’s this giant interlude that leaves much to be desired. It’s almost like they didn’t know what to do with the rest of the track. The tone just fizzles out and gets really choppy for a moment before jumping into this weird, scale-like riff. Around the three minute mark is when it starts to make sense again but it had quickly become jumbled that I had a hard time enjoying the finish. Well, the first time, at the very least.

Two tracks I had a very difficult time getting into were The Ghost of Rome and Dissonant. They feel like they don’t fit with the rest of the album. Before the vocals start with both songs, they sound straight up like Black Sabbath. The song that bears the namesake of the album has the same atmosphere, but I like the riff they chose for that over the other two. Stranger still is the use of the saxophone in the beginning of Dissonant. It’s like this freestyle, jazzy bit that hides in the background but is too noisy to miss. After a couple listen throughs, I was able to appreciate the vision that went into the two songs, yet there’s still just something missing from them. I would have preferred two tracks that are more of the same from Satyricon, because they just leave you scratching your head.

While a couple of the tracks have some amazingly concrete bits to them (To Your Brethren in the Dark and Deep calleth upon Deep), there are some shifts in key, scale, and tempo that make you question why they were put there. It’s almost as if this album can’t decide if it wants to sound like Black Sabbath, a love letter to some of the older stuff, or just a refreshing reboot to the band’s sound. There are many familiar aspects to it in overall tone, like the opening riff in Black Wings and Withering Gloom which reminds me of Mother North, but I find myself being whipped around  by the nearly conflicting sounds that are littered throughout. The lyrical content follows a similar artistic view as the self-titled album, which I very much enjoyed. In all honesty: at first, I didn’t like this album. I’m still not sure if I really do, but there are, without question, pieces of it that’ll keep me coming back.

More than anything, it’s a brain exercise. It’s almost like Satyricon wants to deliver a message that clashes with some of the tones used. In an interview, Sigurd “Satyr” Wongraven said that he wasn’t sure if this would be the last Satyricon album or not. That said, he wanted the album to be special. He goes on to talk about how the album art was chosen and so on. Listening to Satyr talk about this album, you can tell it’s something important to him. If one thing is clear between this album, the self titled, and what has been said in that interview, it seems as though Satyricon will continue to experiment (if they continue at all) with sound and paint a more existential picture with their work. At the end of the day, I think I do like this album as a whole, though not all of the individual parts. It’s at least worth a listen, if nothing else.

Stay Metal \m/

Excited for Ensiferum

Though they have stayed virtually the same over the years, Ensiferum has never failed to deliver top notch music that hits a certain aesthetic. Surfing the wave that was One Man Army, they’re back with steel and fury to bring us Two Paths on September 15th of this year. Interestingly enough, it seems like they’re kicking up the production a notch since their track record shows they released an album every three years. This time they gave the spurs a good kick, since One Man Army was released in 2015. With the lyrics video for the single For Those About to Fight for Metal, I am incredibly excited for this album.

The song itself is exactly what you’d expect from Ensiferum: a satisfyingly powerful tune with a touch of grandeur. It sets the stage for an album that brings “more bombastic orchestral and down-to-earth folk aspects,” says bassist/vocalist, Sami Hinkka. From the looks of it, Ensiferum plans to take this album on tour, the first leg of which starts on September 27th, 2017 in Europe. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be seeing any of that as I’m in the US.

What’s probably the most exciting thing from my angle is that Netta Skog is now in the band (as I’m a huge Turisas fan). This is old news from April, when Emmi Silvennoinen had to leave the band for some family matters, but it doesn’t dilute any of my zeal. Getting these little bits and pieces over the months has been nothing but a tease. Now that it’s all put together with some huge announcements, I can say that the hype train has officially left station.

But what about this single? Well, like I said, it’s exactly what you’d expect. Maybe it’s because it’s still new, but the bits with the chorus just drives me wild. I always love when bands take the sound of a vocalist and amplify it by added ten other voices. Metal is about unity, and to me, expert placement of such a sound set is a perfect reflection of that philosophy. I can’t wait to see them play this song live someday. The song is relentless, with but a small break for an orchestral piece that lives up to the praise that Hinkka gives the album overall in the Facebook post from today. Simple, strong, and satisfying: the words I would use to describe this single in a concise manner.

In that post, you’ll also find the complete track listing and the preorder link for the album. Show some love and pick it up, because I’m definitely going to.

Perpare yourselves, for the time has come to Fight for Metal!!!

 

Stay Metal \m/

Crowdfunding in Metal

This seems to be a pretty dividing subject among the metal community, so I said, “What the hell? Might as well throw my two cents into the hat too.”

The bottom line of my opinion: Crowdfunding could save this community. Period.

 

With the pirating of music being ever so rampant, I would imagine that music in general is having a hard time combating the outright theft of their income. The small community (relatively) that the metal scene is, it likely cripples us the most. There’s plenty of articles out there about album sales numbers and blah blah blah, which I’m not here to talk about. It’s no secret, everything has been going down although 2016 has been a big year for music thanks to streaming services like Spotify. Overall, however, people just don’t buy albums anymore. I know I sure don’t, and if I do, it’s the digital version instead of an actual CD.

Apple revolutionized the “micro-transaction” that allows you to buy single songs on the cheap and still make it profitable for musicians and, of course, the parent company that created the damn thing. Having a digital version of a song makes pirating it leagues easier, not that people had troubles when tapes were the big thing either though. Since there was, and still is, a really big market for digital sales, bands and record labels pretty much shifted the media platform in which people buy/experience music. That was a big source of fear in the industry when that whole bit came about, crowdfunding is no exception.

Crowdfunding basically removes a record label as the middle man for a band or artist. It allows a group to thrive off of an income based on their popularity, not based on how much a company agrees to pay them. When Protest the Hero launched their crowdfunding campaign back in 2013, there was so much negative backlash from the community that my stomach still does back flips to this day when I think about it. I don’t listen to Protest the Hero, not because I don’t like them or their ideals but I simply just don’t know their music. Yet, despite that, I was flabbergasted at all the people out there saying, “Stop begging and get a real job,” or, “Wow, I can’t believe they’re just asking for people to give them money.”

 

Are you people fucking serious?!

 

Isn’t that what any business is? Asking people to give you money so they can consume a product they need and/or want? Whether it’s food, lodging, clothes, art, furniture, whatever you buy, you’re giving someone money in exchange for a product you would like to own. If that’s the attitude you hold towards crowdfunding, it makes logical sense. It breaks down the need for huge companies that get fat and happy off some teenage kid working his ass off to make a buck playing the guitar. Isn’t that the dream? If musical artists don’t shift with the times and make money in an economical way, what happens to music? It disappears. Then your ignorant ass doesn’t have any metal to listen to anymore.

There’s going to be someone out there that’s going to get mad at me for that statement, and that’s okay. The idea is, “I have to work a ‘real’ job during the day and play music at night for nothing. How come someone else can simply ask for money in exchange for music that I am forced to do for free?” I can answer that question with a simple word: Risk. Business is about risk. If these people quit their jobs and try to live off of a Patreon campaign for their music, don’t you think there’s a big chance of failure? If you like their music and want them to continue making it, wouldn’t you like to support that? It can be manageable in your income to pay five bucks a month or whatever to a band that puts out music and probably gives you some extra bennies for being a patron. How can somebody logically get mad at that? It helps both parties have a working business relationship and keeps the stuff we love blossoming. If you get mad at a band for having a Patreon page, then you have to get mad at anybody and everybody having a Patreon page. Music isn’t any different from any other business, except for the fact that it’s not essential to keeping you alive.

 

So if you’re against crowdfunding because it’s “begging” in your eyes, I’m sorry. I hope that you realize that there will be a day where metal dies if everybody suddenly shares your opinion. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fund anybody on Patreon, at all. Not metal, not RPG podcasters, not game companies, no one. The difference lies in the fact that I don’t fund anyone simply due to the way I manage my income and I absolutely refuse to bash somebody for using that business model. Music isn’t easy to live off of. Let the fans decide if an artist has earned the right to their money.

 

Wintersun, congratulations on your successful campaign. I don’t listen to your music for the same reason I don’t listen to Protest the Hero, simply no prior exposure. Keep metal alive.

 

And for the rest of you,

Stay Metal \m/

Why Metal?

I feel like a lot of people don’t really understand the genre(s) of music. As a reader of this blog, perhaps you do to some extent, or maybe you’re just here for the RPG stuff. Either way is fine, but this post is to talk about my experience with music and why I like what I like. You know, for the sake of understanding.

So first off, I have to lead with saying that metal music is probably the only music genre I can think of with a community. Pop just has people who like background noise (in my opinion) or just a catchy tune without much substance. Hip-hop and rap has a community, but from the outside looking in it seems hostile to the people within and its very polarizing. Classical (which I actually am also very fond of) tends to bring people together, but very much so in the sense of high-class snootiness. If someone thinks your take on a piece is stupid, they just smile and nod instead of perhaps starting a nice little debate or discussion. Mistake #1: even if you don’t like someone’s taste in music, never belittle it. Music is for enjoyment and if someone disagrees, let’em. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m guilty of this. I’ll be flat out, too, I really dislike pop and rap/hip-hop. It just doesn’t have enough meat to it and the lyrical content is uninteresting, pretty much the same across the board and too simplistic for me. That said, there are some artists, within rap anyway, that are really amazing on a lyrical level. Mainly on the stance of vocabulary or stanza structure. I can tip my hat to that, easily, but for the most part, to me it’s just a way to make a buck for some people.

Long story short, that’s how I found metal. I was bored with everything else and got back into rock music, spiraled downward from there and found myself in the depths of the sub-genre war. Well, except for classical. Classical rules and is actually very close to metal, a brother to it, if you will. That’s a whole other topic for discussion that I won’t address here but do some homework, you’ll see the resemblance eventually.

Those of you that are sharp will look at the paragraph addressing other genres of music too and ask yourself, metal doesn’t have all that? If I said that was true, I’d be lying. The perfect genre/community/group or whatever else you want to call it doesn’t exist. There’s always crap music/philosophy, fame mongers, elitist jerks and all that nonsense everywhere you go. In good conscience, I can’t lie to you and say that metal is the perfect music community, it’s far from it. What I do find, however, is that amidst all the junk in the drawer, it’s easy to navigate and find all the good bits. If you have a group of friends who are truly good people and into the genre for the genre, not to be “edgy” or “cool,” then you’ll find that metal can be one of the most welcoming communities anywhere. That may come as a shock to someone reading this who isn’t within, and I can’t say I’m surprised. There’s a really large reason for that. Statements such as: “That’s not music, they’re just screaming,” “It just sounds like a bunch of noise to me,” and “You’re going to hell for listening to that trash” are just a couple of the disgustingly closed minded idiocy we face every day. Honestly, it’s probably the reason why we look like such jerks from the outside.

We’ve been conditioned to think that this is the opinion of the popular majority. So instead of proving it’s not the case, we simply embraced it and make everybody truly think that’s the case. Was it the best approach? No, not really, but it is super funny to flash the horns at some religious nut that doesn’t get it and see the expression of horror. Just to be clear; that’s not to say that everybody who is religious is a closed-minded metal hater. It does seem to be the overwhelming majority though. So to sum up: If you’re an outsider, chances are we’re not going to be so quick to welcome you. If you’re an insider, chances are that you’re treated like family.

Now that seems all mixed up, doesn’t it? Well, yes, but look at it from the perspective. Many metalheads are jaded and annoyed with being ostracized their whole lives due to a taste in music. That bitterness sometimes doesn’t go away. That’s why there’s people like me who try to be ambassadors to the genre rather than just a grumpy outsider. I try to challenge everybody who asks about why I listen to what I do to attempt to understand the music. I don’t mean lyrically, because that comes with some practice (screaming vocals aren’t always the clearest) but just from a structural level. How a song flows, how the two guitars mingle, how the drums take a supporting role. It’s not just senseless bashing, just take a second to really pay attention.

With all that depression crap out of the way, why do I like the music simply for the music? The first and foremost reason I can think of is passion. By that, I don’t mean passion as in the enthusiasm of someone who likes the music. The sound of the music itself sounds like passion. Most seem to be confused by that and mistake it as anger or hatred, but passion has many faces both positive and negative. For example: the band August Burns Red has exclusively screaming vocals. I’ve had people ask me why they’re so angry at the world and have to make that terrible sounding music. I always laugh at that one, it’s good. Anybody who doesn’t know why that’s funny: ABR is actually a religious band. Almost all of their music is about finding God or having a relationship with Him. It’s actually happy music, cloaked in what sounds like anger to someone who can’t discern between types of passion. Personally, I’m more anti-religious in nature and it is a little ironic I like these guys. I don’t like them for their lyrics, although they are fantastic, and I don’t like them for their philosophy, although it is very well mannered and good hearted. I like ABR  because they make me feel something. I can pull whatever I want simply out of the sound, it’s not about the words. Music shouldn’t be about the words, that’s why it’s called the universal language.

Furthermore, the intricacy of metal as a genre is appealing for this reason. If you remove the vocals from most any metal song, it’ll still stand strong on its own two feet. Layer upon layer of technical guitar riffs, insane drum patterns and bass lines that would shock most other players help solidify metal as probably the most interesting music on the planet. This is where part of the parallel to classical comes from. Classical is renowned for its synergy among all of the instruments, and metal is very much the same.

So, in conclusion, do everybody a favor: before you sneer in disgust at the guy wearing an Immortal t-shirt that you’ll probably assume worships Satan, think of this post. There’s more to it than the imagery put forth.

 

 

Oh and also, that guy probably thinks Satan is at least an alright dude. ‘Cause… y’know… he’s a little demonized if you catch my meaning.

 

 

Stay Metal\m/

Moonsorrow: Jumalten Aika

Some of you may have noticed but for those who haven’t, I’m totally biased in the realm of Scandinavian, folk and/or black metal. I just love the shit and I love Moonsorrow, and although I’m late to the party, ’tis why I’m reviewing this album.

I have to start with my first impression, which was with their single Suden Tunti. All I can say is, “Holy fuck” simply because of the sheer volume this track brings. It’s a six minute track which is decently sized for a single. Once I decided to listen to the whole album, I realized I was sadly mistaken in regards to the length. The first track, Jumalten Aika is a whopping 12:43. That’s insane. This makes the aforementioned track seem like an interlude in comparison!

Now the album is only five tracks long. That was shocking for me to look at, at first glance. Once I decided to dive in, I started to understand why they did this with the album. The sound is absolutely HUGE! Their potency as a band has only refined itself, sounding better with each release. This album, although I’m impartial to Kylän Päässä, is probably one of their best yet. They very much carry that Finntroll-type of black/folk medley. It’s astounding how they make the two genres mesh, more black than folk. The minor choir presence in Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän Päivän Kansa is atmospheric to the point of pure ecstasy. It also has a very nice interlude in the middle of it that reinforces the folk roots of Finnish tradition. A sentiment I am very thankful for. To tell it true, you can find these oases of traditional music throughout the album and it serves as an intimate reinforcement of what the artists believe in.

The first half of the album, Suden Tunti being the middle ground, captures a lot of the elegant nuances of the northern mindset. Whereas, the track mention in the lat sentence, brings that fantastical metal sound and does not fail to get the blood pumping. Standing alone, it is a fine track, but hearing it in the middle of the album completely changes the context and makes it a hundred times better. Not to mention, that freaking guitar riff. Damn.

The juxtaposition posed by the intro guitar of Mimisbrunn is very refreshing and atmospheric. I keep referencing Finntroll, but it just reminds me very much of their style. The track explodes into a similar riff, though with the electric guitar, that carries the same melancholy of the acoustic. However, this transition is more urgent and emotional in sound, passionate, perhaps.

Lyrically, the album almost seems conceptual. Playing heavily on both Finnish and (presumably) Nordic myths, it makes for an interesting medley of ideals. For the English translations of the original Finnish lyrics, it almost seems as if it is written in the Kalevala metre. Such a fact would be interesting, especially if done on purpose. It slips up here and there in regards to that theory, but still interesting to think about nonetheless.

 

In conclusion: I think this album is great. Musically and lyrically, it demands your attention tenfold. The length of the songs are definitely not for the faint of heart. But for those with the ears and the patience, it will pay off. Jumalten Aika is an album well worth your time.

 

Stay Metal \m/

Jomsviking – Amon Amarth

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Break out your drinking horns and two handed axes! Because Amon Amarth is going to take us on another journey with their newest album, Jomsviking. Can i just start with something? I have been absolutely stoked for this album since there was even a whisper about it. Usually I’ll listen to an album before buying it, but the second I could, I bought this one.

Unsurprisingly, the album starts with their single, First Kill and it got me amped to hear the rest. While the beginning of the album overall is captivating, once One Against All came on, it took me back to their Versus the World album and made me horribly nostalgic. The overall rhythm of that song is straight out of that era of the band. Raise Your Horns is an awesome song that has a good chant in it, because what good drinking song doesn’t? During the track A Dream that Cannot Be, the vocals of Doro Pesch caught me off guard because I wasn’t listening to the lyrics. Listening to what the song is about, it makes sense to have the clean female vocals. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that they are bad because actually, when I listened a second time for content, it was truly brilliant and insanely well done. However, the first time through, it did take me out of the metallic trance I was in. The overall sound of the song is so damn good that I couldn’t help but headbang in my living room as it was playing. Back on Northern Shores brings the album to a clean and satisfying ending in the golden halls of Valhalla.

Overall, this album kicks ass. Solid purchase for both an overall metal album and even more solid as an Amon Amarth one. Jomsviking really highlights how Amon Amarth has developed and matured as a band yet still keeping to their fantastically heavy yet simple style. As always, I’m more than satisfied with their work and will definitely be listening to this album way too often for months to come. That said, I do wish that the album was a track or two longer. But, I do think that’s just me being a huge fan of this band. Go out and buy this album!

And most important of all…

STAY METAL! \m/

Dig Deep – After The Burial

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This is actually the first I have ever heard of this band and thought I’d give it a listen. After the Burial is a band out of Twin Cities, Minnesota currently signed with Sumerian Records, though they have a couple of other albums released under a different label. The general consensus classifies these guys as “progressive metal” but since genres tend to be so controversial amongst fans, I’ll let you decide for yourself.

One thing I noticed off the bat, holy low tuning! The first track, Collapse is a very breakdown oriented song, very heavy tone to it with some nice guitar working behind the breakdown. So far, I’m enjoying what I’m hearing. Anthony Notarmaso’s vocals flow very nicely with the overall tone of this song and make me excited to listen to the rest of the album. The solo in Collapse is sort of one dimensional and uninteresting but I can easily overlook it.

One thing that stuck out to me while listening to this album, the third track, Mire has a very groovy part to it that I don’t hear very often in metal, which I really very much enjoyed. There’s a breakdown that sort of dominates the song but the bass is the primary sound rather than the guitar. Very interesting, VERY good! As it goes on, I get the feeling that this is just another progressive album, but then there’ll be a bit that brings me back to being intrigued by this album’s work. The ending to Deluge and the first distorted riff in Laurentian Ghosts gives me goosebumps and makes the hackles on my neck stand up, what an amazing feeling.

Overall, this album is deceiving. At firs glance, Dig Deep is another cookie cutter, breakdown-laden album that has succumbed to the style of modern metal. However, if you’re paying attention, there’s some aspects to this album that really make it shine. These guys are talented and for the bands first impression on me, they blew it out of the park. Dig Deep is an album for someone who likes to listen closely to find the hidden nuances in music but also for someone who just likes to sit around and bang their head to some good jams. Check it out!

Stay Metal \m/

Abbath – Abbath

 

 Let there be ABBATH! Let’s be honest with ourselves, Abbath had painted a rather silly picture of the black metal scene but there is absolutely nothing silly about this album.

Being a black metal fan, I felt a little obliged to check this album out and that’s ok. The first track, To War! really sets the stage for the rest of them album. Winterbane, which was released in November of 2015, I had heard previous to the album release and I was thoroughly impressed. Not so much because of the song itself, but because I expected a black metal song and instead got something else only slightly reminiscent of one. 

As I went through this album it felt like a heavy metal album inspired by black metal, rather than a black metal album entirely. Don’t be fooled by that statement, though. There’s plenty of dark ambience to assault your ears, just not in the way you’d expect. I really do like this album! There’s some really cool guitar riffs in here that combine some interesting sounds, though not contrasting ones. Abbath’s vocals are still the vocals we all know and love, which really made this album shine to me. 

So my final advice? If you’re a black metal fan and are open minded, this album is an absolute must! 

Noita – Korpiklaani

  

I haven’t decided how I’ll do album reviews so I’m just kind of winging it here.

The first track on this album is Viinamäen Mies (or the Vineyard Man, for people unfamiliar with Finnish) has that very familiar polka-type Korpiklaani feel to it. It really makes you want to dance with a wooden tankard full of ale in the forest with some friends. This is a feeling many Korpiklaani songs bring and is very familiar and comforting for a new album from them. I always describe this band to people have never heard of them as “a folk-metal band that makes you want to drink and have a good time” and so far, this album reinforces that feeling. We hear the very crowd friendly “Hey! Hey! Hey!” embedded in the song so I would imagine that this song would be killer to hear live. Really looking forward to hearing this one.

The second track is titled Pilli On Pajusta Tehty (Whistle made of Willow). Ironically… there’s absolutely zero wind instruments in this song. I’m sure this was a joke in the studio whilst putting this one together. The song is pretty much a rock song with the violin and accordion taking a role in the backdrop of the song, which was something we saw on the album Manala more so than the others, which was actually a nice change. Again, more crowd friendly chanting, making for a really great rock song that you can get into.

Third track, Lempo (the Finnish god of fertility). Again we have the folk instruments taking more of the backdrop than the forefront. Some nice rock power chords again with an intro a crowd can take part in (sensing the trend?). This song is slower and more heavy. Jonne’s voice in this song is definitely something that draws attention, he almost sounds as if he’s pleading or praising. Shiver worthy, that’s for sure. The accordion plays actually sounds more Irish/Celtic in melody. Not a bad thing, it’s rather pleasing to tell it true. Towards the end of the song there’s a change in melody where there’s a fiddle solo followed by an accordion solo. Not as fast paced as most other instances in other Korpiklaani songs, but then again this song is heavier and slower as a whole.

Track four, Sahti (home-brewed beer). There’s that folk feel we know and love from Korpiklaani. The first verse (maybe call it the first beer for this one?) is mostly Jonne singing with the instruments coming in for a small bridge leading to the chorus. This album makes it apparent so far that Jonne has come a long way as a singer (compared to the earlier albums). One thing I picked up on going through this song is that the guitar tuning and tone almost has a sort of classic rock feel to it. There’s a bit where there’s some really impressive accordion work in this song and when you think about how fast that guys fingers are having to move, you can’t help but be impressed. Towards the end we have the classic Finnish singing of “Lai Lai” and I LOVE IT!

Track five, Luontoni (My Nature). This one comes out swinging with some faster guitar chord progressions with the accordion running a nice little almost pirate sounding melody (which is a little out of character but good nonetheless). The chorus in this song is really heabang worthy, what a catchy tune. Overall a rather one dimensional song but till very enjoyable.

Track six, Minä Näin Vedessä Neidon (I Saw a Maiden in the Water). The intro of this song reminds me of Synkkä from Manala, which very much pleases me. It almost sounds a little more ethereal, almost like a hymn or something. The guitars through the intro of the song are acoustic with some background singing to Jonne’s story telling. The chorus is HEAVY! Man, there’s a quick build up for the first one that prepares you for it before it smacks you in the face with some GREAT and simple distorted guitar riffs. A screeching fiddle solo in the middle of the song really gives it this sense of urgency, a nice touch right before a tempo change for the drums in the chorus to follow.

Track seven, Jouni Jouni (John John). This sounds like an 80s rock song to me, not a Korpiklaani one. The track starts with a chugging palm muted guitar riff but a light hearted sound to it. I’m no expert Finnish speaker but this song seems to be about a drunk guy that likes to burn down Saunas and gets arrested for it. Interesting. Maybe this is why it sounds like a classic rock song? Sound like something that would happen to Mötley Crüe. There’s some nods to some iconic guitar riffs from the American music scene in here and it’s kind of funny. The overall feeling of the song reminds me of a Bar scene in a movie or something, bunch of tough guys hanging around playing pool and smoking cigarettes indoors. Ooh, how badass.

Edit: It hit me like a brick wall after i posted this. The song is a nod to Mony Mony by Billy Idol. Wow.

Track eight, Kylästä Keväinen Kehto (A Springlike Cradle form the Village). Again, I can’t help but get this like classic rock/80s feel from this. I don’t really have much to say about this one besides that it doesn’t feel like Korpiklaani to me. If you take the song as it is, it’s really not bad but simply not what I crave when listening to this band. There is a break mid-song with a nice accordion bit but then  shortly after I’m greeted by this 80s tough guy sound again. One thing I can speak for again is Jonne showing off his voice for the chorus, a very big strong point of the album thus far. Overall, I didn’t really care for this song.

Track nine, Ämmänhauta (Witch’s Tomb). The start of this song is some nature sounds, with a crow cawing occasionally, though it only lasts for a few seconds before we’re greeted by a flowing fiddle melody with an electric guitar following in not long after. Very nice. Then, we slink into a rock guitar riff that I’m not very impressed by. The chorus has a nice flow to it and an overall enjoyable ambiance to it. After the first chorus, there’s only a slight difference in guitar riff but it changes to a sound that is a lot more palatable to me. Overall as another slower/heavier rock tone, it’s enjoyable as the song goes on.

Track ten, Sen Verran Minäkin Noita (There’s Some Witch in me too). Double bass and some tremolo picking, interesting start. I open a beer to enjoy with this tune. Still a heavy rock presence felt for this tune leaning more towards heavy metal, but in a way that I’m very much enjoying so far. As the title suggests, this song has a darker sound to it but not so dark as to impeach on Korpiklaani’s style. This is about as close to angry as this band has gotten by my memory but man, do I like it! About 2 mins in there’s some joik singing in the background which I have always liked about Korpiklaani, but you have to be paying attention or you won’t hear it. Only just paying attention, this is a long one at 6 minutes 37 seconds. There’s a big atmosphere change halfway through, slows way down and heads deeper into the heavy territory. Lot’s of accordion and fiddle diddling around towards the end of the heavier bit, makes for an interesting medley of sounds. A hard strum of a guitar chord takes us to the conclusion of this song as it fades out and we are greeted by the joik we so know and love.

Track eleven, a bonus track, Antaja (Giver). Now THIS is the Korpiklaani sound I’ve been wanting from this album! Some very nice folk sounds in the start of this song, though slow and not much polka-style as a lot of their other music. Well… I spoke too soon. There’s the rock again. Though not bad, just very generic. The chorus on this one keeps with the heavier trend of the album with some big sounding power chords but is a good break from the rather pressing chorus. As this song goes on, and even as the rock elements present themselves again, I find myself enjoying this song immensely. There’s a break towards the end where all instruments rest while the bass plays a segment of the verse riff that catches me off guard but makes me smile.

So here’s my final thoughts:

This album is a far cry from what I know and love about Korpiklaani. The previous albums Manala, Ukon Wacka and Karkelo did hint at more of a rock direction from this band, but Noita took that and ran to the other side of the hall. The first four tracks had me very excited for the rest of the album but I soon was disappointed. I wouldn’t consider Noita a bad album but not so much a Korpiklaani album that I would prefer, I’d rather listen to Korven Kunnigas or Voice of the Wilderness. However, this will not deter me from actually purchcasing this album. A poisitive point on this album is that Jonne was able to branch out vocally, while the music took more of the background. The last two tracks did grab my attention as much as the first two as far as atmosphere, simply because it was a linear story and I do enjoy when bands do that. In conclusion; If you like a rock sound, then reach for this album. If you expect this to be like the older Korpiklaani, maybe give it a try but be warned. Do I like this album? Yes, because it’s Korpiklaani.

 

Stay Metal! \m/

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