Korpiklaani - Tales Along This Road
Napalm Records
Folk Metal
11 songs (46:01)
Release year: 2006
Korpiklaani, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Kayla
Album of the month

If you want to know what Korpiklaani sounds like, go out into a stand of northern pine woods with a bunch of your friends, build a campfire, and get drunk. Look at the trees around you, and raise your voices in drunken song, preferably about being in the woods and being drunk. Hailing from Finland, Korpiklaani (whose name means “forest clan” in their native tongue) play a wild brand of folk metal that’s especially heavy on the folk elements. They’ve changed very little since their first album, Spirit Of The Forest, but that only means they’ve managed to maintain their quality.

Most of Tales Along This Road plunges ahead in full-throttle party mode. The opener, Happy Little Boozer, gives you a good idea of what you’re in for, beginning with a quieter passage of melody from an accordion before kicking into a rousing ode to the drunken man. Like most of the songs on the album, it’s got an infernally catchy and melodic chorus, and the folk instruments feature quite prominently. Depending on your tolerance for violins, accordions and recorders, this can be a major selling point or cause to run and never look back. Korpiklaani are the masters of blending traditional instruments and sounds with metal, however, and after listening to a full album, one is left wondering why more metal isn’t played on a violin.

In fact, Tales Along This Road has more traditional instrumentation than their previous albums; while Spirit Of The Forest and Voice Of Wilderness mainly feature a violin in that role, Tales Along This Road has a great deal of accordion, recorder and other arcane instruments carrying the folk melody. This doesn’t mean Korpiklaani has sacrificed one iota of intensity, however. Rather than toning down the metal, the folk elements are bolstered by the metal, giving the bagpipes a heretofore-unknown set of teeth.

This more even balance between the folk and metal elements should come as no surprise, given the preponderance of the former. The guitars are more of a base to build the acoustic melodies on than an end in themselves. There are exceptions – both Kirki and Rise are dirtier and more driving, letting the rough, grating riffs come to the fore, making the songs more metallic on the whole.

There are two instrumentals on Tales Along This Road, fewer than both their previous albums, and only one slower song, Tuli Kokko, which flows along in a grave, chantlike manner. That particular song also features yoik, a kind of Sami throat singing, which adds to the traditional atmosphere. Most of the vocals are Jonne Järvelä’s mid-pitched rasp, a feral tone which fits the frenetic music perfectly. The lyrics are the band’s one weakness, and it’s a subjective one; as English isn’t their first language, the syntax on their English lyrics is sometimes a little flawed. However, much like levels of accordion in metal, how big of a liability this is depends on one’s taste, and the music is so good that I find it easy to ignore as trivial.

If you’re a folk metal fan, or simply planning a weekend of drunken camping and need music to fit the occasion, this is the album for you.

Killing Songs :
Väkirauta, Rise, Kirki
Kayla quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Korpiklaani that we have reviewed:
Korpiklaani - Noita reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Korpiklaani - Manala reviewed by Olivier and quoted 78 / 100
Korpiklaani - Ukon Wacka reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Korpiklaani - Karkelo reviewed by Kyle and quoted 64 / 100
Korpiklaani - Korven Kuningas reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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