It’s actually impossible not to feel affection and appreciation for Korpiklaani, the Finnish band that since twenty five years are playing around with their catchy, happy and light-hearted folk metal. On the other hand, perhaps not everybody knows that differently from the majority of folk metal bands, which have included the folk element in their metal songs, Korpiklaani startedas a 100% folk band, adding only later in time the metal component inside their songs. It is no accident, therefore, that their music has always preserved that spirit of revelry, parties, meetings with old friends, and getting drunk.
It is also true, however, that age advances for everyone and this crazy style of life – and all the physical fatigue it entails – becomes increasingly difficult to sustain. Observing the career of the black wood clan (that’s the meaning of Korpiklaani in the finnish language) we see that the frequency of their publications is slowly decresing, and when we listen to their most recent works we also feel that some sign of tiredness begins to emerge also in their music.
It is as if a second transformation is taking place in the band’s lymph: day after dat the heavy-thrash components are becoming less significant and, in the end, it’s the folk root which remains the living part of their music. It’s not by chance, therefore, that among the 14 tracks of Kulkija, which is their latest studio LP, the less “metallic” pieces are those that seem more “alive” and inspired. like for example the beautiful Pellervoinen.
So what’s my overall opinion about Kulkija? For the time being, a narrow sufficiency. There are a bunch of very nice songs, those kind of tracks which give you good feelings, energy, and everything you expect from Korpiklaani. But there are also more repetitive pieces, poor in content, certainly less inspired than others. I am convinced that if someone in the production office had the courage to cut out from the album the 4 or 5 less emotional songs (and with fourteen total tracks it wasn’t for sure an impossible operation to do), the album – as a whole – would have gained in compactness and effectiveness. Perhaps this is what one should learn with age: at a certain point quality becomes more important than quantity.
Kulkija can be streamed from Spotify.
Highlights: Pellervoinen, Juomamaa and the opening track Neito.