Record Reviews

Album review: Korpiklaani “Jylhä”

Finnish folk metal masters Korpiklaani return with the band’s eleventh studio album.

Finland is a super power when it comes to heavy metal. The Nordic country has world-class acts in most metal subgenres. Korpiklaani is one of the best bands in the folk metal subgenre and at the same time they are one of the most Finnish bands. Korpiklaani’s music is a melting pot of heavy metal and traditional Nordic folk music. The instrumentation in the band also represents the two genres with a combination of electric guitars and accordions, mandolins and violins. Some songs are folk music with some metal injections while others are heavy metal songs with an added accordion. It should be weird but it isn’t. It’s great. Unlike many other folk metal bands who play metal with added folk parts, Korpiklaani has its roots firmly in folk music and has evolved into a folk metal band. It shows in the quality of the folk parts and in the very Finnish lyrics which are stories about nature, folklore and murders. During its career, Korpiklaani has sung in both Finnish and English. “Jylhä” is the band’s eleventh full-length studio album and it is sung entirely in Finnish. Frontman and founder Jonne Järvelä is still leading the band. New in the band since the last album is drummer Samuli Mikkonen. The splendid and heavy folk song “Mylly” is my favourite track. It has everything I love about Finnish music: melancholy, heaviness, catchiness, a great melody, energy and an accordion. “Sanaton maa” is another excellent song that puts the violin at the centre of a very catchy song. “Tuuleton” is also terrific song which is something of a campfire storytelling session deep in a dark Finnish forest. Having said that, this is a very even album with no duds and no fillers among the thirteen songs. I know that folk metal is not for everybody. But if you are into ethnic metal, then you should give this very Finnish folk metal album a listen. Finns know how to be melancholic and dark while still being catchy and melodic.

Korpiklaani’s new album “Jylhä” will be released on 2nd April in Japan via Ward Records. The album is available internationally via Nuclear Blast Records.