Symphonic Metal: Apocalyptica Release New Single Featuring Joakim Broden

Cello-centered symphonic metallers Apocalyptica have been closely collaborating with Swedish heavyweights Sabaton since last year, when they released their own single version of the Sabaton song ‘Fields of Verdun’.

Since then, the two have toured together, as well as released another collaboration in the track ‘Angels Calling’.

Continuing this trend, the band has released a new original song featuring the talents of iconic frontman Joakim Broden, called ‘Live or Die’.

Killer chorus, right?

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Verikalpa – Tuoppitanssi Review

Score7.5/10
GenreFolk Metal
CountryFinland
Runtime46:16
Release Date21 February 2020
Record LabelScarlet

Serving up another piece of melodeathy folk metal are Finland’s booze-fueled Verikalpa in their sophomore album, Tuoppitanssi. While I couldn’t tell you what in the fuck they’re singing about (well, I could because I read the album’s info sheet, but I really can’t say for sure), I can tell you that you’re in for a lively album with an edge. With strong melodies, a heavy rhythm section, and ferociously rough vocals, this style is hardly new, but it’s really fun it’ll probably pull you back at least once.

I can’t pinpoint the thing keeping Verikalpa from sounding like yet another generic offshoot of Korpiklaani, like so many folk bands do, but they have enough charm and individuality to steer clear of sounding too derivative. Regardless, the prevalence of the accordion is always a welcome trait. Weirdly enough, a good portion of Tuoppitanssi could be described as “viscious polka”; it’s hard, it’s gritty, and the vocals could peel the bark off a tree, but the accordion’s bounciness changes the entire feel.

Alternatively, when Tuoppitanssi isn’t in ska mode, it offers a pleasing variety. In fact, my favourite track on the album is ‘Varjosahti’, which is one of the album’s slower tunes (and a tad extra piratey). ‘Verimaat’ is also a notable track, largely due to those stupid-fast kicks. Otherwise, most of the tracks are up-tempo (like the blitzy ‘Karhunkaataja’), and there’s a pretty even split of 4/4 and 6/8, as you would expect from this style of music. That being said, the album is far from repetitive.

Fans of anything from Ensiferum to Vanir to Blodiga Skald will thoroughly enjoy Tuoppitanssi. It bites hard throughout its entirety but is catchy enough that you’ll be able to remember the songs without much effort. If you like drunk and bouncy, Verikalpa are right up your alley.

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Merging Flare – Revolt Regime Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryFinland
Runtime47:41
Release Date14 June 2019
Record LabelRam it Down

Kicking off the summer in a blazing inferno are Finland’s melodic metal masterminds Merging Flare in their second album, Revolt Regime. It’s hot, heavy, and hard as steel, but still maintains that beautiful, cocaine-fueled sense of fun that made 80s heavy metal so fucking awesome.

It’s been eight years since Merging Flare’s debut, which is understandable, considering how many other projects the bandmembers have had on the go in recent years. Axeman Kasperi Heikkinen was still playing for the symphonic outfit Amberian Dawn upon Merging Flare’s debut, and shortly after he was the guitarist for U.D.O. until joining Anton Kabanen’s Beast in Black. On top of that, vocalist Matias Palm and bass player Harri Leinonen have also been involved in numerous bands alongside Merging Flare.

But, the wait has definitely paid off, because Revolt Regime kicks some serious ass. Supporting its 80s metal foundation are absolutely killer riffs and solos, raspy but powerful vocals, and a pounding rhythm section. There’s so much energy coming out of every song that you might want to keep a fire extinguisher handy for when your speakers fucking explode.

Revolt Regime‘s song selection definitely has something for every metal fan. There are some straightforward bangers and double-time power metal drivers, as well as synth-laden choruses from time to time. And, finishing off the album (if you happen to have the bonus track on your copy) is a heartfelt, vocal-rich cover of Laura Branigan’s ‘The Lucky One’. However, the true gems of the album are the victorius ‘Clarion Call’ and shred-crazy ‘War Within’. Both tracks stand above the rest and deliver their own special taste of badassery.

While there’s not a whole lot to complain about, there is one small issue that picks at me from time to time. The mixing in the album makes for some really messy moments, namely in parts of ‘Alliance in Defiance’ and ‘Devastator’. It’s not lost on me that the finish isn’t supposed to be pristine here, but when the bass is nearly absent in sections, a bit more clarity wouldn’t hurt.

With all of its huge melodies and nostalgic riffage, Revolt Regime is a must-listen for fans of Accept, Van Halen, Gamma Ray, Running Wild, and Judas Priest (which, yes, is every fucking one of you).

Merging Flare – Clarion Call (Ram it Down)

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