Kivimesan Druidi – Betrayal, Justice, Revenge (Century Media Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Sometimes it’s good to know what to expect when going into an album. Sure, the occasional curveball or surprise is always a treat, but in the realm of epic/folk metal, straying from the course (which is probably patrolled by elves, mind you) isn’t always the best idea. For Finland’s Kivimesan Drudi (that’s “druid of the stone forest,” by the way), adhering strictly to the subgenre’s rulebook has worked in the band’s favor on their second full-length,Betrayal, Justice, Revenge.

Considering there’s nothing that sticks out about this six-piece, there are at least a handful of gallant, sweeping numbers that stack up well against the competition. Case in point, the manic thrash of “Seawitch the Sorcerer,” a song that wouldn’t be out of the reach for Ensiferum if they felt the need for a female vocalist. Speaking of female vocalists, chick singer Leeni-Maria Hovila proves to dependable, able to go with the flow when she needs to (see the chorus of “The Vistor”), as well as the clunky, but enjoyable “Manalan Vartija.”

Elsewhere, we’re treated to the standard mead hall, beer-clanker in the form of “Tuoppein’nostelulaulu,” a jam that would make Korpiklaani proud, while the bombast of “The Chant of the Winged One” and battle-ready “Of Betrayal” help fortify the back-end of the album. And of course, album closer “Desolation White Wolf” sends things off in typical heroic fashion, with again, nods to their Finnish countrymen, Ensiferum.

As is the case, we’re so inundated with bands like Kivimesan Druidi that there’s a good chance they’ll get lost in the shuffle. Betrayal, Justice, Revenge isn’t going to score any points in the originality category, yet it’s one of those albums that demonstrate the strength of the folk/epic metal style. You don’t have to be flashy with this stuff; just put your head down, strap on your boots and be ready to die with them on.

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