Total Time: 1:00:35
Label: Nuclear Blast
The Folk Metal Superstars have returned! Two and a half years since “Kulkija”, they come back with their 11th album. And while, during their first years, they used to make an album annually until “Manala”, it took them up to three years to create new material from then on. Lack of ideas? Musical and spiritual maturity? But, let’s see what transpires in “Jylhä”.
All along, KORPIKLAANI’s music has been characterized by wonderful melodies, dressed with folk instruments (mainly violin and accordion), that allows the listener to easily recognize them from the first moment. During the first decade of their presence, they gave us unique anthems with the main lyrical subject being alcohol consumption (according to a research, during festivals, the largest quantities were being consumed while they were performing on stage). But, with all this being repeated for so long, it eventually became tiresome, therefore limiting the audience to the “fanatics” and to the rest who wouldn’t bother because they knew that they were about to listen to another “drink metal” song. Thankfully, the situation seems to have changed.
In “Jylhä”, the songs are about ancient myths and legends that took place in Suomi Land, while themes of nature and modern society show their presence too. The lyrics are once again in the band’s native language. A significant change in KORPIKLAANI’s composition after twelve years was Matti Johanson’s (Matson) replacement by Samuli Mikkonen on drums.
The dynamic “Verikoira” is an ideal start for the record. The drum beat at the beginning creates a martial pulsating rhythm, like commanding the oarsmen of a Roman galley. Jonne’s screaming vocals during the second half stand out in a classic heavy song. Coming up next, “Niemi” gives us the first big hit. With a catchy melody from Rounakari’s violin and Perttula’s accordion, the murder of three young boys in lake Bodom is being described, in the fastest song that the Finns have ever recorded. “Leväluhta” starts with a Reggae beat that, even though it seems strange at first, it evolves ideally in the process and concludes with a magical violin solo by Tuomas. “Tuuleton” walks on a thin line between heavy guitars and folk melodies, while “Sanaton Maa” is a “punchy” mid-tempo Folk Rock song destined to stand out.
One of the most special songs of this album is “Miero”. The way Jonne sings, brings to mind the tension of traditional Greek laments, while “Huolettomat” with its frenzy rhythm could easily be included in one of their first albums. The surprise in “Pidot” comes with the name of Jack Gibson. The bass player from EXODUS participates by playing the banjo and the outcome is refreshingly entertaining. Finaly, the exquisite “Juuret’ brings, in the best way possible, their new album to an end. The “holy Totems” of KORPIKLAANI (Jarvella-Cane-Aaltonen) give their best, while Mikkonen’s pompous drum playing provides that extra power that was missing from their last work. Janne Sakka’s production is extraordinary and another plus is the return of “Vaari” (the mascot) on the cover drawn by the hand of Jan Yrlund. On the downside, the long duration (one hour) of the album that marginally does not tire the listener.
More mature than ever, they have offered us an exceptional work. Even though they experimented enough on “Jylhä’ adding touches from Reggae up to Punk, the Kings of Folk Metal have returned to give us their best album in the latter years. KORPIKLAANI’s music exists to bring a note of joy in the hard times we are now living. To put a smile back on our faces. Is there anything, more beautiful than that?
Editor: Nikos Vlachos
Related Link: KORPIKLAANI – Official Page