Korpiklaani are an example of good folk metal, this is strengthened by their choice to only sing in Finnish adding a real sense of Scandinavian tradition. Their music gets the foot tapping and the fist pumping fitting into the simple, wholehearted, good quality, catchy music category. In short, if you like folk metal you’ll like Korpiklaani.
So onto Noita; what I prefer about this album compared to older albums is a clearly discernible progression, they are clearly learning, improving and experimenting more as they get better at what they do. A new element to this album, and a fairly recent addition to the band’s lineup, is accordionist Sami Perttula, playing a traditional accordion as opposed to a piano-accordion which has been the band’s sound of choice previously, who from listening to the album is evidently very talented and is subsequently the driving force of this album’s experimental feel. The ambitious, intricate, and very cool, accordion solos bring a whole new level of immersion and enjoyment to the old world that folk music stems from and the punchy impact of combining that feel with all things metal. Additionally the album’s violin solos are also stepped up as well, bumping them into the facemelting category equivocal to some seriously epic guitar work. Singer Jonne has a raw folky power as always which really flows with the feel of the album and brings a great sense of melancholy to the songs.
The overall feel of the album is fairly melancholic, a reminiscent and powerfully quite emotional theme to the majority of the songs, the album begins with a traditional lively toe tapper but we descend into something a little darker and meatier that really transported me to a time of survival struggles atmospherically accompanied by electric guitar adding to an already dynamic, intriguing violin, accordion and rough, throaty vocals combination.
This album really is the best you can hope for from any folk metal band; a display of clear development, dedication to progression of themes and quality of instrumental skill, what more could you want? My only criticism of the album is that I can’t find the link between the album’s name Noita, which from the traditional Finnish translates to Shaman or medicine man, and although I don’t understand Finnish, the tracks don’t have a feel that I would associate with that sort of theme. This is a problem I find with a lot of folk metal; it seems to me that they’re following a well trodden path of picking a cool name or concept for an album that doesn’t really correlate with the tracks but sounds good, something which irritates me in general about a lot of bands, because they choose to go for style over substance leaving little below the surface, which is a shame because there is such potential to define and express the identity of an album through a really relevant name.
Despite this old faithful naming choice I am still optimistic, based on how much improvement in musical skill and experimentation they are displaying, it may not be too long before Korpiklaani are ready to provide us with a bit more substance to go with their brilliant style, and that’s an exciting prospect born out of a really promising and engaging album.