Release Date: 7th September 2018
I have been a fan of Korpiklaani for many years, and so of course I was very excited when they announced the release of their 10th studio album Kulkija (translation: Wanderer), and I would be a(n even more) terrible review writer if I didn’t review the release of one of the biggest folk metal bands out there!
Some may be disappointed at the lack of a Korpiklaani drinking song, but I really enjoy the heavier lean towards the more traditional folk melodies on this album. Another thing to note is that a few were disappointed in the lack of shaman on the album cover. However, he is there, just not in his usual guise or prominence.
The album starts off with Neito. There is a slow buildup, with the drums consistent, and other instruments fading in and out before kicking into the full folky, dancey melody. You can immediately tell without a doubt that this is a Korpiklaani album, and this is by no means a bad thing. Korpikuusen Kyynel has a slightly slower pace that Neito, but it is definitely no less upbeat and dancey. There are also some Slavic elements to the instrumental which I really like.
Aallon alla slows the pace of the album right down, it is heavy on the fiddle and has a more sorrowful tone. It is a song to sway to. Harmaja is similar, but even more sorrowful and ballad-like. Kotikonnut has an accordion and fiddle intro, with a more hopeful tone, and although not fast, has a more bouncy tempo.
Korppikalliota is heavy on the accordion, and the intro has a carousel vibe to it. It has a similar pace to Kotikonnut, and has a waltz interlude which is a nice change of pace. Kallon malja has a slow violin intro which transitions into accordion, the more tradtional metal instruments come in, but the song does take a more sinister turn, with heavier and slower alternating sections.
Sillanrakentaja is again heavier, with a doomy vibe and lots of guitar chugging, and a child choir sing the outro. Henkselipoika bring the pace back to happy and folky, it’s the kind of track you want to dance around with a friend to. Pellervoinen has a Witcher 3 style intro using the fiddle accompanied by drums. There is a heavy bounce to the tone of the track, and the violin melody gets happier as the track goes on. I could listen to the violin melody for ages.
Riemu begins with accordion and then the violin takes over the melody. If I knew more than two or three words of Finnish, this is definitely a song I would be singing along to! Kuin korpi nukkuva begins with a fast polka style instrumental, but has slower fiddle sections, and there are also Slavic style interludes within the track.
Juomamaa is a seamless transition from Kuin korpi nukkuva, it is very fiddle heavy and definitely another track to dance around to, it has such a happy vibe! Finally, the album ends on Tuttu on tie, which has a slow buildup starting with a slow, sorrowful violin. As with Harmaja, it is a balladt track, but more of a track you would put on at the end of the night, swaying side to side with an empty cup of whatever your poison is.
Once again, Korpiklaani has not disappointed me. I love this album, a lot. From personal tastes, I’m not so keen on the slower tracks, but I appreciate the composition and great skill that has gone into creating these tracks. I am very much looking forward to seeing Korpiklaani live again at Wacken Winter Nights in February next year, and there will be a lot of dancing to keep me warm in the northern German winter! All I have left to say in my very limited Finnish vocabulary is “Kiitos” to Finnish folk metal superstars Korpiklaani for yet another smashing release!
Buy Kulkija (and other music and merch): https://www.korpiklaanishop.com/
Like Korpiklaani on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/korpiklaani/