Absolutely the best album yet from the clan of the wilderness.
I've always been a fan of Korpiklaani's live performances but with this album they have won me over with their recorded material. Right from the start I found myself bobbing my head and my spirits raised. The songs have an almost disco feel to them and stick to a four to the floor brand of tubthumping folk-Metal that is sure to have fans moving more than ever before.
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At times things feel almost straight enough to be Ramstein but the fiddle plays the role of carrying the melody while the squeeze box brings the elbow raising swing. The guitars have been brought to the fore to create gorgeous rich bedrock on which to build the songs.
When 'Synkkä', the ballad started, I was fully expecting the typical droll rollout of the authenticity adding guest female vocalist. To my surprise Jonne Järvelä carries on with the same fry-vocal style and proves how musical it can be.
The album quickly returns to the up-tempo feel of the first five tracks before ending on a couple of ear soothing slower numbers. I love the slight step the guitar has taken toward Metal as the band folk up everything else in the arrangement.
The themes are consistent with their earlier offerings and the words seem catchy even in Finnish. My Finnish is not quite up to scratch so here's Jonne's summary of the storyline:
"'Manala' is the realm of the dead - the underworld in Finnish mythology. This place is best known for its appearance in the Finnish national epic Kalevala, on which many of our new songs are based. In the 16th poem of Kalevala, Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero travels to Manala in search for knowledge about the dead. On his journey he meets the ferrywoman - a girl, Tuonen tytti, or Tuonen piika (Death's maid), who takes him across the river of Tuoni. However, on the isle of Tuoni he is not given the spells he was originally looking for and he barely manages to escape the place. After his return he curses anyone trying to enter the place alive."
This Metal-folk album is just enough to give your ears a treat. If like me, your Finnish isn't as polished as you'd like, have no fear as the band will throw in an English version of the CD with every copy bought.