Have you ever wondered what FINNTROLL would sound like drunk… or, well… drunker? Have you ever thought it’d be cool to listen to KORPIKLAANI, ENSIFERUM, and FINNTROLL all at once? If you answered yes to any of those, here comes VERIKALPA with their second full-length album, “Tuopitanssi,” which apparently means pint-dance or as Finns would (presumably) call it – a Friday night out. VERIKALPA come from Oulu, a city in northern Finland, and released their debut, “Taistelutahto,” in 2018, which received a fair amount of attention in the crowded Finnish metal scene, as well as attracting folk metal fans worldwide.
Firstly, let’s delve into the overall sound of the band itself. VERIKALPA immediately sounds like just another ridiculous band singing about beer, but they’re so much more than that. They are, in fact, a quintessentially Finnish-sounding band, combining death metal with a lot of Finnish folk elements. This is where they are slightly reminiscent of KORPIKLAANI, but they are a lot heavier and the vocals are fairly typical blackened folky growls in the style of FINNTROLL. The band has nicely found a niche of their own and fills a space we perhaps didn’t know existed before.
“Tuoppitanssi” doesn’t waste time with an intro and jumps straight into the drunken debauchery with “Naulattujen Vaellus,” an extremely catchy song – just as an opener to an album full of drunken battle-anthems should be. The feeling is continued into the second track of the album – which was also the first single to be released – “Talonväen Teuraat” and easily one of the best songs on this release. The vocals manage to be rather melodic while also being quite troll-like and the folk melody is driven by the keyboards emulating an accordion in a classic Finnish humppa style.
Following that, there is the titular song “Tuoppitanssi,” which, as the name suggests, sounds like a jolly song one would hear at a tavern somewhere in the Finnish woods where you find more creatures from folklore enjoying a pint than actual humans. The album continues in a good rhythm with “Sankari, Saatana, Kostaja,” which according to my Finnish friend means “Hero, Satan, Avenger”. I’m not entirely sure what to make of that, but you have to admit it sounds promising and quite intriguing.
The songs often start with a very folky tune played on the keyboards before turning heavy and fast such as on “Verimaat” and “Mettäväinö.” I’m not sure if those songs are based more on folklore and such because my Finnish skills consist of three swearwords and the album is written entirely in Finnish (and apparently in a northern dialect as well), but either way, it does work very well. “Tuoppitanssi” is not an album that throws surprises at you; it’s extremely consistent in delivering very solid folk metal celebrating beer, blood, and war.
VERIKALPA has replaced two of its members since the release of their debut album and switched to Scarlet Records, but neither of those seem to have slowed them down at all. “Tuoppitanssi” continues in the same style that “Taistelutahto” was presented to us, but builds on it and expands the band’s sound. With the abundance of metal in Finland, it must be hard to get noticed, but VERIKALPA has surely managed it again and will continue with their rise in popularity with this terrific release.
- Naulattujen Vaellus
- Talonväen Teuraa
- Sankari, Saatana, Kostaja
- Peikon Kieli
- Tuonen Miekka
Jani Ikonen – vocals
Sami Knuutinen – bass
Jussi Heikkilä – guitars
Jussi Sauvola – keyboards
Jarri Huttunen – drums
Sami Ikonen – guitars