posted on 1/2009 By:
You could look at the debut full length from Kivimentsan Druidi (which consists largely of the band's demos and EPs) one of two ways - why release this kind of album the same year as Equilibrium’s Sagas or is it actually a good idea to release it at a time when the folk metal iron is hot due to the critical acclaim of Sagas?
Either way, like Finsterforst, there are a lot of similarities between Equilibrium and Finland’s Kivimetsän Druidi (Druids of the Stone Forest); heavily synthed, cheesy, bombastic epic viking metal (mid era Moonsorrow) filled with all sorts of snippets of death metal, black metal, a brash folk sheen and a sense of Finnish bouncy, melody and energy (Finntroll, Ensiferum, Turisas, etc)- all rendered with a confidence and polish that has them certainly seem potentially one of the fast risers in the genre.
However, where Kivimetsän Druidi differ slightly is the more abundant use of operatic female vocals courtesy of soprano Leeni-Maria Hovila as the primary vocal, with various degrees of harsh vocals to back her up. This Battlelore/Alkonost sense of theatrics/operatics gives Kivimetsän Druidi a slight change of vocal clarity to their peers, almost treading on Nightwish-like territory, but the enjoyable and downright epic take on viking/folk background music keeps things grounded in metal.
After “Northwind-Prelude” Shadowheart gets right to it with the fierce “Blacksmith” a six minute romp of blast beats, soprano vocals, growls, sweeping synths, galloping humpa melodies and a raucous death metal jig. It’s a perfect opener and sets the tone for the rest of the album as tracks like “Jäässä Varttunut,” personal favorite “Pedon Loitsu,” (with synths and pacing that reminded me of Valda Galga era Thyrfing), and epic “Burden” Granted, the latter half of the album, (complete with delicate, requisite interlude "Tiarnäch - Verinummi") seems to be a bit jumbled, with less cohesive and less memorable songs that seem to be reworking the previous songs, but its still a enjoyable affair, especially for fans of the genre. Hovila’s vocals may distract some, as they are pretty dry as well as overly operatic, but as a whole the enjoyable canter and catchy throes of the music does a good job of offsetting her.
Ultimately, if you are fan of any of the bands mentioned anywhere above, chances are even with such a familiar sound, that you, like me, will enjoy Kivimetsän Druidi and their take on a tried and true formula. While not quite up there with Equilibrium, this is still better than the likes of Myrkvar, Natan and a few other recent folk/viking metal releases I've heard lately.
Register to post comments.