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Review: Korpiklaani - Karkelo

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 51:23
Tracks: 12
Genre: Folk Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: November 11, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 2.88/5 (57.5%) (16 Votes)

I was so prepared to be blown away by Korpiklaani's latest album Karkelo. I had heard of the band but never heard them, so when the opportunity arose to review their latest, I jumped at the chance. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe I misunderstood what Korpiklaani are all about. I was hoping to hear a sweeping, majestic Pagan Metal epic and what I got was a Finnish language Alestorm.

Let me start by saying that, my disappointment aside, Karkelo is a fun album. There are upbeat, heavy guitars, Jonne Järvelä's gruff vocals and plenty of "folk" instrumentation in the form of Jaakko Johansson's violin and Juho Lemmetty's accordion. It's the accordion which gives Karkelo it's noticeable "pirate" feel, lending a "sea shanty" air to several tracks. Many of the songs have a similar song structure; slower verses and faster, almost double kick, choruses and this tends to hinder any one song from standing out from the others. I actually preferred tracks like "Mettänpeiton Valtiaalle" and "Khomelo" where the band slows down and "goes native" with acoustic guitars or a chanted vocal delivery. These songs sound the most "folk" on Karkelo. Songs like "Vodka" and "Bring Us Pints of Beer" leave little doubt as to why the band chose the name "Karkelo," which means "party" in Finnish, as the name of the album.

There is nothing wrong with Karkelo, and the performances are good, but it just wasn't what I expected, or really wanted to hear, from Korpiklaani. That'll teach me to make assumptions, won't it? Nah, probably not.

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