Korpiklaani - Korven Kuningas
Nuclear Blast
Folk Metal
15 songs (70'52")
Release year: 2008
Korpiklaani, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Alex

Imagine getting ready for an important job interview. Your stature in the company has been growing, but not everybody is yet aware of your prowess. Your style, a very distinct one at that, has been gathering raves with some folks in the field, but the wider crowd considers it somewhat of a gimmick. So, with the stage getting bigger and the panel getting broader, you decide to spend the extra effort to give the explanation to the uninitiated, and, unfortunately, in the process you have to be a little less true to form. In the end, the job interview goes well, you will continue to move up, but somehow you were a touch uptight, and the feeling remains that the special effort to explain yourself was not worth it not getting 100% self-satisfaction.

This may be a stretch, but an allegory generally fits the latest album Korven Kuningas by Finnish folk metallers Korpiklaani. With this album the band is opening their Nuclear Blast chapter, which will undoubtedly bring them a better distribution. With Korven Kuningas the Forest Clan is bound to graduate beyond their faithful followers and be evaluated by the broader audience. Truthfully, I myself wasn’t a convert from the beginning Spirit of the Forest days. But then a couple of reviews by my lost colleague Kayla (see PS below) sounded the Voice of Wilderness in my head and set my feet onto the Tales Along This Road. As a result, I always happened to take Korpiklaani in by the bunch, digesting several albums at a time. Inevitably, out of many songs a few favorites were picked and then played endlessly. In a way, Korven Kuningas was another large bunch, as the main question was whether the band will have enough in a hook department to last 15 songs.

By its general principle Korven Kuningas does not deviate from what made Korpiklaani who they are and brought them recognition in the first place. Rowdy, rascal, hilarious songs about drinking, mystical stories and Finnish nature, composed using authentic melodies and played with native instruments – all of this is present on Korven Kuningas. Except, as the sentiment tends to be a bit more mystic/mythology as well as hard every day life oriented, drinking and boozing has been expunged from the lyrics. The bitchin’ accordion (thanks, Kayla) and violin are still woven into the music, and often assume the leading role with guitars providing the general rhythmic backdrop. Tapporauta, Metsamies and Runamoine are still the jumpy humppa songs with repeating parts from your closest Finnfest. Head-bobbing rhythms, accordion solos, gang vocals – this is Korpiklaani as we know it. But on the whole, it seems to me that the band wanted to make more serious and more reflective album. Ali Jaisten Vetten, Gods on Fire, Syntykoski Syommehessain are introspective, these are the songs when, all worn out, all you want to do is sit down and play your flute at the end of the working day. The life in the Finnish forest is no picnic after all. And after this overexertion the happiness of humppa dance in the closing title song, playful mandolin in Kantaiso and flowing accordion amidst the forest logger anthem Paljon on Koskessa Kivia sound as a release, escape and retreat.

There is still bite and muscle in Korpiklaani guitar sound (Nuolet Nomalan), and there is still the “grrr” factor in Jonne Jarvela vocals, but Keep on Galloping staccato sounds a bit too Iron Maiden, Kipumylly melody is borrowed from Como Poden by In Extremo and Suden Joiku has almost unexpected syncopated progressive rhythm. It is if the grit factor has gone down a few notches, so instead of scraping it bare, the new brand of Korpiklaani sandpaper merely polishes. There are simply not enough obscenely catchy hooks on Korven Kuningas to plant deeply in my flesh, and that is an absolute pre-requisite for a successful Korpiklaani album. Don’t get me wrong, this is a collection of very good songs, but not all of them are great. Still, the whole album gives me a positive energy shot in the arm, as well as some music me and my kids can scream our lungs out to while driving to their next event. Yup, Korpiklaani is a family event in my house. The booklet with its comments and insights makes the whole experience complete.

P.S. I want to dedicate this review to the hope that our colleague Kayla is feeling better, has found her way and can rejoin the team.

Killing Songs :
Tapporauta, Metsamies, Paljon on Koskessa Kivia, Kantaiso, Korven Kuningas (until the drum beat sets in)
Alex quoted 80 / 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 - Spirit Of The Forest reviewed by Kayla and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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