Kivimetsän Druidi

Betrayal, Justice, Revenge

Written by: EW on 17/04/2010 09:57:10

If there is one thing about the music industry any young band ought to know is that success is rarely dealt to those who are the best; a million other factors are involved with the not least of them being in the right place at the right time and exploiting the prevailing market trends. This may sound an inauspicious intro for Finnish fantasy/symphonic/folk/?!? metallers Kivimetsän Druidi and their second album, "Betrayal, Justic, Revenge", but to read that it is being released on Century Media and the band have already totted up a number of big support & package tours, I can only imagine it has come about from appealing to a young and naive metal audience rather than through any over-whelming quality contained within their music.

Straight away, my major unsurpassable gripe: 'operatic' female vocals. Get them out of metal immediately. I'm all for experimentation, deviation within the genres but I've seen vocalists of this kind live and I've heard them on record before and I have never felt any energy whatsoever from such a kind of vocal style, and metal without energy is metal not worth bothering about. You might then ask why I'm reviewing this (after all, to say I hate Nightwish wouldn't be far from the truth) but I'm an open-minded and well-versed metal fan; anyone kidding themselves such powerless vocals work with electrified and pummeling riffing, and alongside the far superior 'dirty' male vocals, is kidding themselves.

To leave poor Leena-Maria's voice alone (for I'm sure she's a lovely girl), sugary synth usage is a dangerous proposition in heavy metal and should only be handled by qualified experts. The strong synth element in "The Visitor" and "Chant of the Winged One" recalls Turisas in no half-measures, but unlike their Finnish counterparts, Kivimetsän Druidi haven't yet got the knack of backing this up with interesting and varied enough song structures to make it work in practice, even if some of the synth work is perfectly acceptable on it's own. The band do at least have the decency to balance out the female/male vocal ratio throughout the album, best evidenced in "Chant..." where a nice comparison between the two can be made. Though based within some sort of symphonic metal camp, Kivimetsän Druidi spill over into classic festival-folk metal mood in "Tuoppein'nostelulaulu", which would be fine in itself if it did not sit so awkwardly with the other songs and feel mere like an obligatory number to hook in the Ensiferum and Korpiklaani fans of this world. With a thrashing song in "Seawitch and the Sorcerer", Kivimetsän Druidi can clearly play acceptable enough metal to appeal to a demographic I don't fit, but this genre-hopping suggests a band not sure of their exact style yet, which is fair enough for one only on their second album.

They may have made it to a top label and thus got on a few excellent tours, but don't read this as Kivimetsän Druidi being the finished article; for them to succeed in my eyes they need to inject a much stronger and physical dynamic and feeling into their tunes to back-up some of the songwriting potential that is however lurking within the ranks.


Download: Tuoppein'Nostelulaulu, Chant Of The Winged One, Aesis Lilim
For the fans of: Nightwish, Turisas, Battlelore, Ensiferum
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.04.2010
Century Media Records

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