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Album Review: Korpiklaani – Kulkija

The long and excitedly awaited date has finally come and it is again time to pay the Finnish metal realm a visit. The good news for the fans of the genre is that we’re just about to look into the newest creation of one of the bands that never seem to disappoint – the folk metal legends Korpiklaani. And yes, you are completely right! This also means that it is time for happy feasts, pouring alcohol and lots and lots of music!

The 3-year wait has come to an end and the 10th addition to Korpiklaani’s discography “Kulkija” or “Wanderer” is now here to remind us of the sincere joy and playfulness that surrounds the Finnish bearded happy little boozers and has been dearly missed since the release of “Noita” back in 2015. They start off the album with the fast and energetic song “Neito”, possessing the familiar elevated party spirit, which has clearly already become one of their trademarks established throughout the years. Next on is “Korpikuusen kyynel” – an enchanting song about the moon, the moon signs and the forest, which are some of the frequently recurring themes that we are used to encounter when listening to Korpiklaani.

And after this fittingly positive opening of the record, they present us with the first more “serious” track called “Aallon alla”. It brings a bit more melancholic atmosphere, a little bit of heroic tragedy, braveness and sadness but also a lot of vigor and power. This time Korpiklaani definitely seem closer to nature, even more than ever before and they seem to be creating a strong homely vibe in most of the songs. The same feeling continues to grow stronger with the moody “Harmaja” and “Kotikonnut”, which manages to bring some of the energy back, as well as in the following “Korppikalliota”, the song about ravens – probably the heaviest one on the record so far. Shortly after that, we can hear “Kallon malja”, which is also a song about nature and the Scandinavian nature in particular – the Northern wilderness and the primitive as a whole.

The track shows the band’s love for their motherland, the incomparable beauty of the northern lights, the wolves and the peace and calmness of the forests, while incorporating a wonderful violin melody, which makes “Kallon malja” even more folk metal oriented than the previous songs. After this stunning experience, there is a slight surprise in store for all ol dschool fans of the Finnish musicians, which bears the name “Sillanrakentaja”. The composition proves to be more heavy metal than almost anything we have ever heard from the band, showcasing some amazing heavy vocals and technical guitar riffs.

After that the Black Sabbath like track comes “Henkselipoika” – a funny song about another one of Korpiklaani’s comical characters, described with old Finnish euphemisms and northern humor, all of this being accompanied by an addictively cheerful mood. The next and 10th addition to “Kulkija” is “Pellervoinen”, a slower but still quite dancy instrumental, where we can hear an incredible folk violin, as well as some intriguing stories about summer and some ancient myths.

“Riemu” continues where things have left off and shows one of the many different sides of Korpiklaani – namely, the pop rock influence. The absurd and funny, hit like and catchy track can get stuck in one’s brain really easily. And then, way too soon, comes the grand finale of the record, consisting of the staggering musical trio, which’s theme mainly revolves around the Finnish traditions, patriotism and most of all – the band’s passion and love for music. “Kuin korpi nukkuva”, “Juomamaa” and “Tuttu on tie”, combined together, create a very emotional and sublime ending to the album, finishing off with “Tuttu on tie”’s slow and affective melodies.

To make a 70-minute album with 14 songs, while being a band with 25 years of history and 10 albums behind your back and still engage and excite your audience… well, it is definitely not an easy task. But even after quarter of a century, Korpiklaani are still going strong, without even thinking about putting an end to their magical journey. In retrospection, “Kulkija” turns out to be more serious and earnest than expected but nonetheless, it still captivates everything we love and adore about the band. It offers a lot of compositional variety and genre diversity, high musical quality and of course, a lot of heart and passion. Whether you want to explore the depths of folk metal or you just want to have fun, “Kulkija” surely has a lot to offer.

Release Date: September 7, 2018
Run Time: 1:11:21
Label:Nuclear Blast

Track Listing:
1. Neito
2. Korpikuusen kyynel
3. Aallon alla
4. Harmaja
5. Kotikonnut
6. Korppikalliota
7. Kallon malja
8. Sillanrakentaja
9. Henkselipoika
10. Pellervoinen
11. Riemu
12. Kuin korpi nukkuva
13. Juomamaa
14. Tuttu on tie

Folk N' Metals recommended albums are for releases in the metal, and various fusion styles of metal subgenres, that we feel are essential. Albums awarded this badge are also top contenders for our "best of" end of the year list.
Folk N’ Metals recommended albums are for releases in the metal, and various fusion styles of metal subgenres, that we feel are essential. Albums awarded this badge are also top contenders for our “best of” end of the year list. To see all genres, check out our Recommended Albums

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