Vera : Three years after ’Noita’, Korpiklaani comes out of the studio with new work, entitled ‘Kulkija’ (wanderer). And what a work it is! From the very first spin on, I was really positively flabbergasted. In addition to the usual (hup)tempo songs about spirits and booze, there were loads of moments full of melancholy. Okay, that has been always the case, but now with an album of 72 minutes length, you get many diverse impressions and that’s amazing. Together with (a different) producer Janne Saksa, the hard working Finns worked out fourteen songs, one of them is no less than ten minutes long.
Well, let’s put it straight: Korpiklaani happens to be one of the most authentic and innovative bands in the folk metal genre. Someone who only knows their partying side, will possibly ignore this with a grin, yet Jonne Järvelä and his mates always raise the bar album after album. At right angles to the nowadays ‘consuming’ culture, Korpiklaani releases an album with five quarters of an hour length, more than ever it includes kind of progressive twists and turns and the band just does what he wants to do. Isn’t that amazing? Indeed, the regular fans will sing along with up-tempo songs like opening track ‘Neito’, the single ‘Kotikonnut’ and the drinking song ‘Juomamaa’, but there is more than what instantly leaps to the eye. Korpiklaani always had a melancholic tinge and the thematic subject of ‘band on the road’ suits these melancholic moments very well. Result is the epoch-making single ‘Harmaja’, the dark captivating ‘Sillanrakentaja’ (with doom-laden riffs and children’s choir) and the storytelling ‘Allon alla’. The band even flirts with progressive and quite inaccessible moods in the ten minutes long ‘Kallon malja’ with its scraping violins and proper intensity. There are enough party songs to enjoy the regular fan, but those who have an open mind for an authentic experience, will find a lot of interesting stuff on ‘Kulkija’. Your familiar Korpiklaani is here, but also a kind of innovative version of it is featured in galore. Maybe the fans are only interested in the party side of the band, but then they really miss something of a great culture with food for thought, myths and legends they get in addition for free.