Korpiklaani
Korven Kuningas

So after 5 years and four albums of balls out partying and after a major label change, it appears that Finland’s Forest Clan have hit that part of the party where you start to taste bile, slur your speech, get all sad and moody, tell all your friends you love them loudly and hug strangers.

Make, no mistake, this is still a Korpiklaani album, however, it’s the most restrained and somber album of the band’s career, especially after the balls to the wall Tervaskanto. All the elements of Korpklaani are here in spades, the catchy power metal riffs, the gruff beer hall vocals, vast amounts of ethnic string/woodwind instrumentation and humpa/polka backing-but it all just seems…..hungover? Where as the last album and especially the continually upbeat Tervaskanto, were the life of the party, Korven Kuningas is the wise, grizzled old man sitting in the corner of the pub imparting deep thoughts.

Korven Kuningas (Kings of the Wilderness) starts well enough with the raucous “Tapporauta”, arguably the albums most upbeat number, but then the six song stretch of “Metsämies”, “Keep On Galloping”, “Northern Fall”, instrumental “Shall We Take a Turn?”, “Paljon on Koskessa Kiviä” and “Ali Jäisten Vetten”, while entertaining, seemed strained with a more introspective and reserved (almost native American/tribal?) tone. Then the seventh track “Gods on Fire” is a flat out downer of a ballad, and while Korpiklaani have always flirted with their more somber side, Korven Kuningas seems to fully delve into it. “Kantaiso” picks up the pace a bit, finally causing a grin inducing jig, but even the catchy canter of “Kipumylly” seems riddled with a more despondent violin/fiddle backbone that’s fully realized for the tangibly saddened “Suden Joiku”. “Runamoine” is one of the three or four track that truly got me excited before “Syntykoski Syömmehessäin” brings me back down again before the largely wasted 21 minute title track sends me crying into to my glass.

I think part of the problem is the bands prolific nature, I mean, I only reviewed Tervaskanto in July of last year, and its still on my mp3 player, plus the fact there’s just no “Journeyman”, “Beer, Beer”, “Happy Little Boozer”, or “Karhunkaatolaulu” on this album and personally, the fact is, recent releases from former labelmates Alestorm and Heidevolk have been giving far more pleasure than Korven Kuningas.

I could have taken the safe review route and simply told you this is another great rollicking, Korpiklaani party album, but its not, and fans need to be aware of that. Granted it is still Korpliklaani, and that’s worth the price of admission alone for fans. Still, here’s to Korpiklaani having a little hair of the dog and ready to party harder for their no doubt soon to be released next album.

Somewhere, the folks at Napalm Records are smiling…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 14th, 2008

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