The journey of Korpiklaani has been of many great successes after one another. After 9 highly acclaimed albums, the band now is releasing their 10th studio album “Kulkija” (“The Wanderer”). The album is the band’s longest album up-to-date, including no less than 14 tracks and also their most natural sounding one.
The album opens up with suspense and a lot of excitement in “Neito”, gradually more and more instruments are layered on top of one another until the track unfolds into a fast-paced typical Korpiklaani sound with Jonne Jarvela‘s unique sound. The high energetic start is followed by “Korpikuusen kyynel” that keeps up the same mood. While “Aallon alla” brings the pace down, the first break comes with “Harmaja”, a beautiful example of the atmosphere the band is creating with this album. Like in any other album, Korpiklaani tells stories, this track specifically is a beautiful ballad, showcasing Jonne Jarvela’s beautiful deep clean vocals. The blend of acoustic guitars, and the laid-back drumming, together with hauntingly beautiful violin melodies, make this one of the first highlights of the album for me. It also shows another side of Korpiklaani. Being on the road all the time is not always fun and games, but also has a melancholic side. The song refers to a poem by Zachris Topelius titled “Sylvian Joululaulu” written in 1853, centered around homesickness. Now, you don’t have to excel in Finnish, to understand that sentiment. The song delivers the meaning by itself by its melancholy. “Kotikonnut” integrates a more poppy folk sound in the song, it has a nice beat and it mostly centered on the vocals. A highly melodic song. “Kallon malja” is perhaps the longest song that Korpiklaani ever has written and for a Korpiklaani song, it’s fairly progressive. The band takes the time to build up the song quite nicely and it progresses really smoothly. Changes in tempo, melodies, and heavy riffs give a nice flow to the song. The vocals by far are really amazing in this song. Jonne has an amazing grain in his voice and it suits the track overall very well, especially in combination in the sections dominated by the bass. “Henkselipoika” is one of the singles of the album, in general, the song was received very well. It has a strong focus on accordion and an upbeat tempo. The instrumental track “Pellervoinen” is another highlight for me. While listening to the track, I had problems to sit on my chair. It’s the kind of track that you makes you want to jump up and dance to, well you know… Typical Korpiklaani, I guess. “Tutto on tie” is the conclusion of this epic journey of “Kulkija”. Slow-paced and goosebumps inducing melodies drive the song to vocals that are a lot slower and more sorrowful. Again, one does not need to understand Finnish to feel that sensation of sehnsucht. The album definitely ends with a climax, that gave me shivers from start to the end. “Tutto on tie” is the perfect example of how the Finnish melancholy can be an ingredient in a recipe of success.
The story of the album might be centered around the journey of the character of The Wandered, but it truly feels like a magical path you are entering. With each song, you get a lot of diversity and opportunity. This album, as a whole, sounds different than their previous work. The band shows that they still have refreshing and innovative ideas, while still maintaining their own sound. “Kulkija” is truly a success, all the tracks work easily by themselves, but it’s better to listen to the whole thing as a whole. Not only is the album great, the production makes it so that the band sounds really natural. Instead of heaving this super polished, almost plastic feel to the album, you get the true Korpiklaani, the one that you hear when you see them play live.
So, if you’re a fan of Korpiklaani, make sure that you get this album. In some years this album will be seen as a true classic of the band and in the genre of folk metal.
Jonne – Vocals, Guitar, Hurdy Gurdy, Percussion
Sami – Accordion
Matson – Drums
Rounakari – Fiddle
Jarkko – Bass
Cane – Guitar
2. Korpikuusen kyynel
3. Aallon alla
7. Kallon malja
12. Kuin korpi nukkuva
14. Tuttu on tie