Vesperia
An Olden Tale

Formerly known as Bolero, Toronto’s newly remaned Vesperia are part of a suddenly surprisingly strong Canadian folk/Viking metal scene that includes the likes of Will of the Ancients, Crimson Shadows, Valfreya, TrollwarNordheim, Battlesoul, and of course Blackguard just to name a few.  I’m not sure why the canucks have latched into the sound and delivered it so well, but Vesperia is definitely one of the better ones.

I enjoyed the bands previous effort Voyage From Vinland, under the Bolero moniker from back in 2011 (particularity the song “Pints Held High“), so was intrigued to hear the follow up, albeit an bit late after its release. I’m happy to report the sound from Bolero/Voyage From Vinland is still present and the name change has in no way affected the band.  That’s to say the sound is still rooted in the Scandinavian/Finnish folk/black/power metal tones of Ensiferum/ Finntroll/Trollfest/ Turisas/Norther, etc  and Children of Bodom: Shredding, galloping power ish metal with rasped black metal vocals and some blast beats, and LOTS of synths.

Where Vesperia is a shade different is the use of some deeper death metal growls (even more than the last album, possibly being the lead vocals at times) amid the rasps and on this album, a much fuller guitar tone (along with the synths, the early Stormlord albums came to mind), but other than that, this is exactly what you would expect. The synths still sound a bit ‘fake’, rather than organic and truly Celtic/Viking, but they do the job and complement the abundance of rousing, galloping riffs well.

All of the songs are solid, fun, beer /sword raising examples of the genre, but the album’s mid section of “Forsaken Shores” (though I wish the mix was a little better so those epic back ground choirs were a bit more up front) , “Huntress” and  rollicking “Bring Me Triumph” might be the one of the best run of three songs I have heard in the genre in a long time, each bringing the triumph in fun, cantankerous, catchy style, especially the accordion galloping melody line that rises of “Huntress”.

Not that the other songs are duds, as you get the mid paced march of the album’s first single ‘The Swordsman“, the huge title track (though the last seven minutes or so is wind blowing), and there is a stupid fun, beer drinking anthem cover of Canadian folk artist Spirit of the West‘s “Home For a Rest” ( though that song my be part of the digital promo I received and not the actual cd), that comes across like The Pogues meets Finntroll.

The end result is a fun romping, energetic album that might have kick started my somewhat recent apathy towards viking/folk metal that along with the recent Will of the Ancients  and Norheim albums is furrher proof that the Vikings very well might have discovered the Northern shores and left some influence behind.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 14th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    this is awesome. I love the deep guttural death metal approach combined with the lighter folk elements.


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