By Dr. Abner Mality
Fact: nobody has ever found a way to make accordion or hurdy-gurdy sound dark and evil. VERIKALPA from Finland try mightily to incorporate the sound of these instruments into their "frosty" black metal, but the minute you hear the trademark sound of the accordion, any hope of staying dark and evil vanishes like snow in the tropical sun.
Despite their grim frostbitten appearance and the subject matter of "Tunturihauta", there's just too much jolly accordion music for VERIKALPA to be real black metal. Let's call them folk/pagan metal with a dark touch, like a KORPIKLAANI gone feral. The first three or four songs here actually have a strong speedy black metal touch, but with "Raivokansa", the folky accordion makes its way in and the tone of the album changes.
Now that does not necessarily make this a bad album, although those seeking a raw black metal experience will be disappointed. These dudes know how to write fast, catchy metal songs with riffs and hooks you can remember. They don't go overboard in terms of songlength or orchestration and keep things moving right along. The vocals are a wolf-like snarl and you don't have to worry about opera divas or tubas showing up. The Finnish lyrics are jawbreakers, but that comes with the territory.
Not a bad folk/pagan metal album at all, but don't expect the legions of Hell to be summoned up by an accordion.