International metal bands Korpiklaani and Eluveitie brought their unique sounds to American fans
By Lisa Burke
On Friday, September 27 in downtown Los Angeles, a fully international tour headlined by Eluveitie and Korpiklaani stormed in for an exciting evening at the Regent Theater.
Gone in April opened for the Wanderers Towards Rebirth Tour around 7 p.m., sharing its gothic-symphonic death metal from Canada. This tour amplified the band’s third album release, Shards Of Light. Having been around since 2011, the group now seems to be gaining momentum, and it certainly helps that female vocalist and violinist Julie Bélanger Roy also acts as the touring violinist for Eluveitie.
While the overall consensus of the live performance was slightly underwhelming, perhaps due to mixing issues, Gone in April stood out for its two dueling vocals and violin. All in all, the band brought a fun start to the night.
Right around 8 p.m., the Regent packed up with die-hard Korpiklaani fans. This Finnish band has existed in one form or another since 1993 and has always maintained its folk metal roots, singing happy tales of drinking and frolicking in the wilderness.
Founder, vocalist, and guitarist Jonne Järvelä pranced around stage with his dreadlocks flying, all smiles and full of life. The rest of the band performed in stylish black and white garb, adding a mix of strings, drums, and accordion.
Even with six members, unique instrumentation, and a large sound, the band still brought on a guest guitarist for a couple songs to make the sound more rich.
Korpiklaani always seems to tour with the full band, a rarity with international bands since it is difficult to attain American visas, and it returns to the U.S. at least once a year with a fresh set list. This particular show was no exception.
On this tour, the band was still representing its album from 2018, Kulkija, but it performed a good variety of older hits as well, including “Happy Little Boozer.” Korpiklaani ended its magical 90 minute set with another fan favorite, “Vodka.”
Headlining for the appropriately titled Wanderers Towards Rebirth Tour was Switzerland’s Eluveitie. Originally starting as a studio project in 2002, Eluveitie has seen many members come and go and is always exploring new sounds. With an already creative concept of mixing traditional Swiss folk with melodic death metal, the band also benefits from the dueling vocals of founding member Chrigel Glanzmann and new vocalist Fabienne Erni.
Chrigel brought the harsh vocals while Fabienne’s vocals were strong and clean, bringing a refreshing, opposing vibe into an already fulfilling mix. She played harp as well. The metal band’s experimental sound also included bagpipes, the tin whistle, and the hurdy-gurdy.
Eluveitie just released a new album back in April called Ategnatos, its eighth studio album to date, and its set list included seven songs off the album. It began with the title track and ended with “Inis Mona” off the album Slania.
This was perhaps the strongest show Eluveitie has played. Its energy was electric, the song choices were incredible, and Alain Ackermann performed a fiery drum solo midway through the show.
The three compatible bands brought energetic sets, delighting the crowd the whole night long. The Wanderers Towards Rebirth Tour continues through mid-October, ending its North American travels in New York City.