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Album Reviews : Korpiklaani – Korven Kuningas

By on March 9, 2008

Folk metal is a somewhat new and small genre in comparison with other metal genres. There are limited bands out there that are genuinely folk metal, many claiming to be so merely due to the fact that they may have one folk instrument or they may play a few acoustic passages and as a consequence, the difference between each band within this genre can be quite significant. Korpiklaani however display the authentic meaning of the phrase true folk metal, it is fair to say that the accordion, with its unique tunes, has brought the greatest folk influence.

Korpiklaani (meaning Forest Clan) aspired to be a mix of traditional Finnish folk melodies and heavy metal. They have achieved this, and along the way also attained a distinctly large group of fans, for Korpiklaani is now one of the prominent names in the scene of folk metal. Whenever a discussion about folk metal takes place, Korpiklaani’s name is bound to turn up.

Their lyrics are mainly concerned with Finnish folklore, nature and of course, almighty beer. It’s not surprising that their lyrics are so powerful and beautiful considering the fact that they live in the middle of the forest, preferring to draw their inspiration from their surroundings. Now that shows true devotion and dedication!

Korpiklaani’s latest masterpiece, Korven Kuningas (meaning King Of The Woods), has once again failed to disappoint. It has been described by Korpiklaani as “…a tribute to the traditional Finnish lumberjack culture…a tribute with some of the songs and the album cover and the album title King Of The Woods as they (Finnish lumberjacks) were sometimes referred to.”. One of the greatest things about Korpiklaani is their sound; they have generally kept it steady. One may argue that they cannot stray from their sound, and that most, if not all, of their albums sound similar and become tedious. It seems however that many people disagree and do not have a problem with a similar and hence recognisable sound, stating that “Why should they change if everyone is so fond of it (the sound)?!”, thus those who enjoyed Korpiklaani’s previous albums will love this one just as much. Something which amazes me is that Korpiklaani have been able to create an album which is quite long, nearly touching an hour (minus the last track’s almost 20 minute ending), and yet you do not become weary of it. Their happy style of music makes you forget about all your worries and fears and just makes you feel alive and cheerful. Korpiklaani make any normal event, a merry occasion which to truly experience must be accompanied with friends and beer. For anyone interested or intrigued in folk metal, Korpiklaani, or who just want to have a good old joyous occasion, this is one album that must be listened to in order to understand and appreciate what this genre and band is all about. From start to finish the album is remarkable, you won’t experience a dull moment throughout this entire album.

Since their sound is appealing and familiar, it does not even take a few seconds of listening to the album to get into it. Straight away, the opening track Tapporauta fires you up with a nice upbeat tempo. If that isn’t enough, the following few tracks will most definitely bring you to light of the superb album and will make you certain that the quality is bound to be maintained throughout the entire album. Keep On Galloping is clearly a majestic song, the lyrics truly make yourself think about finding your own black horse and just exploring the beautiful land we live in; we can see why it was released as a single. The instrumental track Shall We Take A Turn? portrays pure folk metal at its peak, the superiority of the accordion is easy to take notice of in this song, as well as the song which preceded it, Northern Fall. The happy folk elements contained within these songs are magical and is sure to bring a smile to your face, the fact that they are catchy just makes you want to sing along, dance, headbang and drink all night long with a bunch of your greatest mates. The song Paljon On Koskessa Kiviä is a lovely folky song which tells the tale of a logger who is fighting to cross a rough rapid as he log floats, as depicted on the album cover with the old man Vaari (log floating was once one of the most important things in Finnish culture). As you progress your way into the second half of the album, the energy tends to die down a little, but the quality certainly doesn’t. Gods On Fire shows Korpiklaani’s slower and more acoustic side. Some lovely folk tunes are evident during Kantaiso which is accompanied with outstanding flutes, and Kipumylly with splendid violins. There are some songs that make you just want to shout out the chorus, such as Suden Joiku or Runamoine. The album finishes off nicely as the album titled instrumental song Korven Kuningas starts off slowly, but then reaches its upbeat characteristic as with many of Korpiklaani’s songs, reminding you once again of the album you’ve just been listening to. Eventually the song begins to slow down and quieten, until there is nothing left, but a shaman drum beating… 9.4/10

Band: Korpiklaani
Album: Korven Kuningas
Year: 2008
Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: Finland
http://www.myspace.com/korpiklaaniofficial

Track Listing:
1. Tapporauta (Killing Iron)
2. Metsämies (Forest Man)
3. Keep On Galloping
4. Northern Fall
5. Shall We Take A Turn?
6. Paljon On Koskessa Kiviä (The Rapid Has Many Rocks)
7. Ali Jäisten Vetten (Under The Icy Waters)
8. Gods On Fire
9. Nuolet Nomalan (Rabbit Arrows) (digipack bonus)
10. Kipakka (Japanese bonus track)
11. Kantaiso (Ancestor)
12. Kipumylly (Mill Of Pain)
13. Suden Joiku (Yoik Of The Wolf)
14. Runamoine
15. Syntykoski Syömmehessäin (Rapid Of Birth From My Heart)
16. Korven Kuningas (King Of The Woods)

Thanks to Hux for the review.

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