I don't generally review albums with vocals and lyrics in a language other than English. Frankly, while the music may be interesting, I usually can't wrap my head around it when I can't understand the words. Yet, there are exceptions. One is the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani. These workaholics, eight albums in the last ten years, bring us Manala on Nuclear Blast.
The simple reason I like Korpiklaani is that they effortlessly blend classic melodic heavy and power metal with Finnish folk elements including traditional instruments. It takes some conojes to add accordion to heavy metal. Yet merged with violin (fiddle), hurdy-gurdy, and ethnic themes, it sounds great.
An exceptional example is their cover of a popular Finnish song Ievan Polkka. Their lyrics date to the 1930s, but the melody to the 18th century. Yes, it's that 'polka' music: the music that Lawrence Welk made popular in the States back in the Sixties. Now that takes some big stones to polka to metal!
The album title, Manala, is the Finnish word for the realm of the dead. The album revolves around the Finnish national epic Kalevala ,and the 16th poem where Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero travels to Manala in search of knowledge about the dead. This concept is perfect for heavy metal, and Korpiklaani infuses their songs with the three elements of folk tradition, melodies, and heavy metal. Kunnia, Tuonelan Tuvilla, and Ruumiinmultaa, by example, bring this all together on the heavier side. A Song like Dolorous, tends more to folk side emphasizing acoustic guitar and violin. It's pretty cool stuff even I can't understand a damn word of it. Though, the bonus track Soil of the Corpse is done in English. Nevertheless, the band will be issuing a special edition of Manala which includes an English language version of the songs.
If you've been skeptical foreign language metal, give Korpiklaani a listen. Their native and folk inspired style will appeal to anyone who digs melodic heavy and power metal. Recommended.
If you've been skeptical foreign language metal, give Korpiklaani a listen. Their native and folk inspired style will appeal to anyone who digs melodic heavy and power metal.