Live Review: Korpiklaani w/ Turisas & TrollfesT | Islington Assembly Hall, London | 26.02.19

As a bit of a one-off show this may seem strange but the line up is magical. Turisas and Korpiklaani with first act TrollfesT are quite a strong unit. TrollfesT being brought in as more than just openers as they have collaborated with Korpiklaani and it helps the immediately evident camaraderie between the bands. Folk Metal is fun, fantastic and fighting hard. This marks for a show to make a statement of some of the important bands of Folk Metal history. Turisas broke amazing ground with 2004's Battle Metal, whilst Korpiklaani have given us many classics to drink and to party by: 2009's 'Vodka', 2005's 'Beer Beer' or 2006's 'Happy Little Boozer'. Pairing these bands up is inspired and if there is any that could pull off such a one off show, it's these.

As previously hinted at though, there is a certain sense of these bands being classics going back as far as fifteen years. Turisas perhaps unfortunately get this treatment the worst. This is in large part because they have been largely quiet since Turisas2013 – their fourth album. Amazingly though the band is completely aware of this and are self-aware of who they are and what their roots are. They visibly play to the crowd, delighting in bringing classic after classic to the crowd: 'Holmguard and Beyond', 'Stand Up and Fight', 'Battle Metal' and 'Rasputin'. They're old songs but their songs that the crowd almost sings louder than they do. Affording the band a massive party together both on stage and in the crowd. It's an amazing leap forward for a band that hasn't been all that active in recent years. Before finishing, the band take to an acoustic and atmospheric set. This rightfully comes after the excitement simmers down and teases the themes of the night out. [8]

Korpiklaani may not be in the same position as Turisas at all. Their reputation has been solidly built over the years, with an impressive back catalogue to take from. With thirteen albums to their name and consistently being able to bring out anthem after anthem, and many of which in Finnish. They also come in support of new album, Kulkija. Korpiklaani's stage presence is exactly on point, exactly what you'd expect and exactly what you'd want. They visibly have a massive amount of fun with what they do. This energy may not be the exciting dynamism of the Battle Metal warriors but of the fun and cheerful drinkers, happy to sing a tale or two with you. Where Turisas knew where to take the crowd, Korpiklaani took a different route and their set was largely comprised of songs from their latest album, using this gig to really push it. It is more Folk-esque and evidently atmospheric. It made the set a little difficult to swallow at times. Unfortunately allowing the middle of the set to feel the strain of waiting for more beloved songs.

Further making things difficult for them, they were plagued with vocals never being quite loud enough and this created a noticeable strain towards the end of their set. Fortunately, when classics like 'Wooden Pints' or 'Pilli on pajusta tehty' came out, the audience were more than willing to take over. This picked up a colossal momentum which was all the more strong for Korpiklaani to take the stage once more, but with TrollfesT, drinking and having momental fun dressed as princesses to smash out 'Beer Beer'. This not only made for a distinctively fun performance but showed just how much these bands were like a group of drinking buddies. Korpiklaani could not help but miss this trick and finally gave the crowd 'Vodka' – a song so beloved you could question whether it was the band or the crowd that were playing. [6]

Folk Metal remains to be powerful and these bands are just as relevant and powerful as ever. Even at their low moments the night made for an amazing gig. It is everything that a Metalhead could want switched on to party, smashing out the night. The sheer success of the audience falling head over heals for each band just proves how important they are and how much a one off night like this, though a rarity, can still work so powerfully.


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Twitter: @_Korpiklaani

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Setlist: See Here.


Facebook: /turisas


Setlist: See Here.


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