Band : Korpiklaani
Album : Manala
Genre: Folk metal
Release Date: 03.08.2012
Label: Nuclear Blast
Korpiklaani (meaning : wilderness clan) is a folk metal band from Finland. They were formed in 1993 by the vocalist/guitarist Jonne Jarvelä ; their name then was Shaamani Duo. Under this name, Shaamani Duo released an album called Hunka Lunka and the band changed its name to Shaman and they released two albums with the new name in 1999 and 2001. After the two releases, the band’s name was changed to Korpiklaani for the last time. With the name change, Korpiklaani also changed its style from folk to more metal. Their first debut album has been Spirit of The Forest which was released in 2003. Including this album, Korpiklaani released 8 debut albums, including the latest album Manala. They have also toured lots of countries including European countries, USA and Canada. Korpiklaani is known for their ‘fun’ and ‘drinking’ songs such as ‘Vodka’ , ‘Beer Beer’ and ‘Tequila’ which are also some of their most famous songs.
Korpiklaani has recently released a new album called Manala. This album is based on the Finnish epic poetry “Kalevala”. The cover artwork is also related to this story; the band mascot Vaari, which was drawn by Jan Yrlund, represents Väinämöinen, who is the main character of “Kalevala”
Korpiklaani is currently on tour with Tyr, Moonsorrow and Metsätoll in the US and they will then join bands like Wintersun and Finntroll in Heidenfest in Europe starting from October 2012.
The album starts with “Kunnia”, which is a typical Korpiklaani song. This song also reminds me why I love this band ; “Kunnia” is full of fun, groove and that Finnish folk metal that everyone loves. The guitars and accordion make the song much more colorful as well. This colorfulness continues with the songs “Tuonelan Tuvilla” and “Rauta”. Especially, the melody and the lyrics of “Rauta” are so captivating and ‘fun’ that it is impossible not to dance to this song. The lyrics of “Rauta” , which is also the first single from ‘Manala’, are sort-of repetitive (the word ‘iske’ will explain it ) but in my opinion, it’s not so disturbing since the lyrics are in perfect combination with the melody. As a matter of fact, the listener might get addicted to “Rauta” after listening to it a few times. Another addictive song is “Ruuminmultaa” in my opinion; the violin solo played by Tuomas Rounakari is so amazing and adds another dimension to the song as well as to the album. “Ruuminmultaa” also reminds me of the old-Korpiklaani era which featured more violin and accordions and less riffs.
Although ‘Manala’ is an album based on the folk-ish elements, songs like “ Petoeläimen Kuola” and “Sumussa Hämärän Aamun” are the only two songs which feature less folk-ish melodies and more heavy riffs. Apart from these two songs, the other songs in the album are the typical Korpiklaani songs with a lot of accordion and violin songs in the foreground and less riffs in the background.
There are also some highlights in the album. One of them is surely the song “Husky Sledge” which is quite different from the other songs in the album. As a matter of fact, this song is originally not a Korpiklaani song but it is a composition of the violinist Tuomas Rounakari for his solo project Shamanviolin. I was quite surprised to see this song in the album but it fits perfectly to the album and it shows how talented Tuomas is and how well he fits Korpiklaani after joining the band on September 2011. I am sure the Korpiklaani fans will love Shamanviolin’s other songs if they love “Husky Sledge”; the songs have just violin and stomping. There are no heavy riffs and no singing but just the two elements and the listener will be surprised at how powerful and great the songs are with just little elements.
Another highlight of the album is the Loituma cover “Ievan Polkka”. I have to say the cover is even better than the original song. I wonder why Korpiklaani has not covered this song before; it is just the perfect-cover song for them but better late than ever, right?
Generally, the album has a fast rhythm from the first song so we can say that it is a cheering folk-metal album. There are slow-paced songs like “Synkkä” or “Husky Sledge” which add different elements to the album but other than that, this album will make everyone drink and dance for sure! Although it is really hard for me to choose a favorite from this album, I have to say it is a tie between “Synkkä” and “Ruuminmultaa”. Those songs show the true Korpiklaani spirit.
One thing I didn’t like about ‘Manala’ is the English version of the album. (Manala has both Finnish and English versions). I understand that Korpiklaani released the album in English to attract the English-speaking audience but I think that there is no need for an English album when it comes to Korpiklaani ; it is elements like Finnish lyrics, violin and Jonne’s funny accent which make Korpiklaani unique and fun so the English version of the album ruined the whole spirit for me a bit. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that ‘Manala’ is still an awesome album.
All in all, “Manala” is a great folk-metal album. As a matter of fact, it can be considered as one of the best albums of 2012 along with Ensiferum’s Unsung Heroes and Eluveitie’s Helvetios. The listener might think that this is another typical folk-metal album but this is not the case. There is a bit of everything in this album ; a bit of heavy metal with folk elements and fast songs as well as slow songs. Once again, Korpiklaani managed to handle this so-called ‘proportion’ of heavy songs and folk-ish songs pretty well ; all in all, they are also huge fans of heavy metal but with ‘Manala’ they prove that they are still sticking to their roots and never giving up on their ‘shaman’ and ‘folk-ish’ style.
Rating : 9/10
Manala Tracklisting :
02. Tuonelan Tuvilla
05. Petoeläimen Kuola
07. Ievan Polkka
08. Husky Sledge
12. Sumussa Hämärän Aamun
Bonus CD (English Version)
02. At The Huts Of The Underworld
03. The Steel
04. Soil Of The Corpse
05. Predator’s Saliva
06. Dark Side
07. Ieva’s Polka
11. Off To The Hunt
Jonne Jarvelä – Guitars/Vocals/Hurdy Gurdy/Percussion
Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Jarkko Aaltonen – Bass Guitar
Juho Kauppinen – Accordion
Matti “Matson” Johansson – Drums
Tuomas Rounakari – Fiddle