HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Inflikted (Roadrunner)

Max reunites with brother Igor - now Iggor - and the result mathematically (with points for being lead singer, guitarist and key writer of the classic material) becomes more Seps than the ones with the name. The rest of the lineup consists of Marc Rizzo from Soulfly and Joe Duplantier on bass. And they make beautiful music together, that's for damn sure, Inflikted sounding like the best, most directly metal-moving slices of life from the Seps and Soulfly (under-rated band - and far better than Green-era Seps). Fast, thrashy, even a bit hardcore, Inflikted leaves behind all the bad elements of those three descriptives through a walloping recording, major tightness, vicious, smart riffs, and then weird bits of Roots-y ear candy stuck in, along with weird guitar tones being used like a bored and searching Joe Perry. Max is barking up black sheets of wind, his voice avoiding death growl clichˇ and coming off punk and hardcore and angry - it's got an authority to it because it doesn't sound like a machine, rather a protestor about to lob a Molotov. And damn it if 'The Doom Of All Fires' wouldn't be an insane pit-frenzied Slayer anthem if Araya had come up with that amusing vocal. Knocked about a point off for Inflikted containing 22 to 27% too much hardcore ('Nevertrust' is just aggravating), but man, this is a wickedly grooving, egregiously heavy record displaying a grounded, solidly-footed balance between drunken heads-down headbangability and hookiness, even though I anticipate that some mind find this thing actually a bit too butt-shakingly catchy (see the aforementioned Slayer ref., opener 'Inflikted, as well as closer 'Must Kill').
Rating 8.5

Korven Kuningas (Nuclear Blast)

Forever my favourite one of these bands for "Happy Little Boozer" alone, Korpiklaani continue down the path of brisk, tightly thrashed humpa, this time with their richest, most full-bodied production yet. Key to their preeminence is vocalist Jonne Jarvela who on his own sounds like a Viking disputing his property tax assessment, but with recurrent avalanches of doubled and tripled vocals (of himself, it looks like) becomes a mead hall chorus of quaffing champs. Pervasisive is the "akkordeon" of Juho Kauppinen and by half, the violin of Hittavainen, who together really sweeten this toward a thing of melody not unlike the tamest power metals. Alas, however, I wish there were more English lyrics, because Jarvela's voice really becomes an amusing thing of rough-hewn beauty wrapped around tales I can understand. So yeah, still love these guys - 'Nuolet Nomalan' is insanely catchy, and 'Kipumylly' marks a new level of sophistication - but it's pretty darn Celtic musically hither and thither, quite light and sympathetically textured, and it's missing a breakout anthem like 'Happy Little Boozer'.
Rating 7

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