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When I dove head-first into the ever-swirling waters of the Folk Metal world, this was one of the first bands I'd had to get into, mainly due to the attention these dorsal Finns had gotten due to their obviously being within the forefront of popularity regarding all things Folky (note the wordplay). I remember hearing a track or two but never understood where all the attention came from, as I'd found my fair share of acts who should stand out more so. However, I had to keep my critical tongue within its proverbial sheath until a full-on investigation took place, wherein I would let forth floodwaters of elative praise or blackened wrath depending on what I'd heard.
It turned out to be the former, thankfully.
While not exactly registering as the most creative and clever songwriters in the metal scene, Korpiklaani is nothing if not fun. More than once I'd found myself bouncing along while listening with headphones, feeling the urge to do a serious jig. While the songs vary in tempo track-by-track, they still remain entertaining and may require a bit of energy to enjoy thoroughly, primarily the faster tracks like "Tervaskanto" and "Palovana", as well as the slow-down tracks like "Viima"'s waltzy rhythm and the stein-swinging madness of "Let's Drink". All the instrumentation are as they should be and come off tight and necessary, and I found the accordian used as the main instrument very nicely done. I can be a sucker for when unconventional instruments are used in the forefront, but it doesn't drown out the other necessiities, like the guitars, drums, and vocals; if nothing else each instrument does its own thing, and the end result is a delicious blend of styles that fifteen years ago would possibly have been laughed at. Well, the joke's on them then.
So in the end, this being my entry into the Klaani klaan, I've been left satisfied and longing for more. At such a positive upturn I'd possibly find it hard to get an album of theirs that can usurp this in terms of fun factor and overall awesomeness.
Korpiklaani is a Folk metal band from Finland. They blend “humppa” (Finnish polka) and thrash metal. Thier fourth album Teravaskanto (Finnish for ‘old man’) delivers the best folk metal around.
The album starts with the catchy, happy and beer chugging anthem “Let’s Drink”. This song gives you a great idea of what this band is all about; beer and having a good time. The violin starts out the song for a brief second and then the band kicks in. You can’t help but sing along and smile.
The next track is another great song called “Tervaskanto”. This track is just as catchy as the first track, only the lyrics are in Finnish. This song starts out with a good guitar riff for a few seconds then all humppa hell breaks loose. It’s fast but not too fast. You will find your self singing along (as best as you can) and headbanging and having a strange urge to dance. In the end, this song will stick to you for a long time.
“Viima” is the next track and it really is more humppa than metal. It starts out with the accordion with some sort of distortion on it so it sounds like it’s being played on an old record player. Then the rest of the band comes in and you get fully engrossed in the song. You try to sing along with the Finnish lyrics and tap you foot to the beat. You almost feel like you have aged by about 20-60 years (depending on how old you are to begin with) because it really is more of a polka song than a metal song. But still nontheless, it is a great song.
The next few tracks “Veriset Aparat”, “Running with the Wolves”, “Liekkion Isku” and “Palovana” really do not stand out too much because they are basically the same songs with a different name. The only one that stands out amongst those said songs is “Running with the Wolves” because it is an instrumental. They all are good, but have no variation between them.
This brings us to track eight, “Karhunkaatolaulu”. It opens with a very “dark” (I use this term very loosely with this band) accordion and violin intro. Then the drums start and get ready to go on the craziest trip on this album. Jonne’s vocals are very harsh in the spoken beginning of this song. Then every member gives it their all and delivers a very fast and chaotic master piece. From beginning to end, the song goes from fast, happy and drunken to just really anger filled vocals back to the happy drunken folk metal. My favorite song on the whole album.
The next track is “Misty Fields”. It starts out with an extremely catchy intro then it goes into the actual song. The vocals start and you can’t help but try to sing it like how Jonne does (with poor English and a strong Finnish accent). The song repeats it’s self a lot and gets stuck in your head for days. Very strong track.
Now it’s time for the all mighty “Vesilahden Verajilla”. It has a very folk-ish intro with an acoustic guitar and a steady and almost trance educing drum beat. After a little while of this, the folk instruments come in. This repeats its self for a while then the acoustic guitars make their return during the verses. The song repeats the intro, but they include vocals. But, for some reason, it just doesn’t get old or annoying. Great track from start to finish.
Now, the last track, “Nordic Feast”. This song is an instrumental that will make you smile. It is by far the happiest song on the whole album. An great choice to close the album with.
Teravaskanto is a great album if folk metal is your thing. And if you can, try to find the Digipack with the bonus DVD, “Live at Wacken 2006”. They put on a great show and do not disappoint. You will find your self singing, dancing, headbanging and (more than likely) drinking to every song on this album. Great album from start to Finnish (pardon the pun).
…as in the tree stump meaning. Well, here we have Korpiklaani’s fourth effort, and while it’s a step down from “Tales Along This Road”, its still a very good album. It was fun to listen to. However, while “Tervaskanto” sounds extremely similar to “Tales Along This Road”, it’s not as good as the previous album.
As always, Korpiklaani don’t waste time planning and recording a useless intro (something many bands do), instead, like the previous albums, they start out with, what else, a beer song. However, most of the album’s sound is actually quite different from the first song, though “Let’s Drink” (the first song in the album) doesn’t feel out of place; it might not prepare you adequately enough for the album as a whole. Whereas previous Korpiklaani albums had a happy atmosphere mixed with other feelings and atmospheres, “Tervaskanto” practically throws away the happy feeling on most songs and replaces them with the epic, must-die-in-battle feelings many other folk metal bands have. That isn’t to say you can’t find some good ol’ happy songs. “Let’s Drink” and “Viima” definitely have a happy atmosphere.
Another difference “Tervaskanto” has with the previous album, are the lyrics. Most lyrics here are written in Finnish rather than English. This isn’t bad, by any means; however, to those who like reading the lyrics and don’t know Finnish, it might be a slight problem. However, the lyrics that are in English (a language I’m fluent in) are really good, as always, and many native-English speaking bands would be put to shame when comparing the quality of them. I would like to point out though; I did not take the Finnish lyrics into account when deciding on the score, since I don’t speak Finnish.
Overall, “Tervaskanto” is a very good album, it definitely is, but when you listen to Korpiklaani’s previous offerings, you gotta wander, what went wrong? Its still a worthy album though, and, like all of Korpiklaani’s albums, should be checked out by fans of the band, and anyone whose heard even just one measly song. Korpiklaani have experimented with a more traditional atmosphere (in terms of folk metal), you can hear that they’ve done a helluva job, but at the same time, saddened, because they decided to abandon that which made them original, or at least, separated them from the folk metal pack, and that was the happy atmosphere, the sing-along songs, the feeling many of those songs evoked, its really very sad. But should Korpiklaani continue down this path, it will definitely be interesting to hear the results, and I’m sure that they will make many more great albums!