Korpiklaani - Karkelo
Nuclear Blast
Folk Metal
12 songs (51:23)
Release year: 2009
Korpiklaani, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Kyle
Major event

Korpiklaani’s latest release Karkelo may just be one of the most frustrating albums I’ve ever listened to. I really loved the band up until Korven Kuningas, which was a rather lazy record in my opinion, and I think ’Klaani realized at this point that they were just another Folk Metal band that uses far more vowels than necessary in their name, and that their sound was growing more than a little stale. Thus came Karkelo, their inevitable “Experimental” album, and clearly their weakest release to date. But it’s not the fact that the band has majorly changed their sound that frustrates me, nor is it that this album simply isn’t very good. It’s that I can’t figure out what the hell I’m going to quote this thing. Yeah, I don’t particularly LIKE Karkelo that much, but every time I would listen to any of Klaani’s past material, my predicted quote for it dropped about 15-20 points or so. After that, I’d leave the band alone for a few days before going back to give Karkelo another go, and my predicted quote would be back to normal, perhaps even a little higher. So I vowed to completely stopped listening to my Tales Along This Road and Tervaskanto (At this point I look at those albums in my music library and begin to whimper) until my review of Karkelo was done, and treat the album as if it were the Korpiklaani’s first release.

As I mentioned, Karkelo is 'Klaani’s experimental album of sorts. With this release, the band strays farther away from metal and goes for a more hard rock approach than in the past. They even toy with some stoner doom influence on the songs Uniaika and Huppiaan Aarre, the latter of which being a straight Doom Metal song with accordions (It’s actually pretty good!). The most metal track on here, Isku Pitkästä Ilosta, is basically Korpiklaani trying to do an Ensiferum song, and it ends up sounding unoriginal and unexciting; Exactly what Ensiferum ISN’T. There are some songs on Karkelo that carry on the tradition of speedy, fun 'Klaani tracks that are heavy on double-time snare hits and folk instruments, such as Vodka and Vesaisen Sota, but for the most part they’re only glimmers of the band’s former glory. One rare highpoint on Karkelo is Kultanainen, which features some great riffs and beautiful fiddle playing (or violin, whichever you like to call it). But a few good tracks alone aren’t enough to support an entire twelve track album.

Another big problem I have with Karkelo is the production. I didn’t mind it at all on first listen, but when you go back and listen to Korpiklaani’s past releases, the album sounds crystal-clear as opposed to the almost fuzzy sound of previous albums, and I soon realized that without it, the heaviness of the band is turned down a few notches too many. I am by no means a production freak, but still, a band that’s all about drinking should sound drunken, am I right?

The only song I would call “Really great” on Karkelo is Juodaan Viinaa, which I didn’t realize was a cover by a Folk musician called Hector until just before I began writing this review. But the song is so cheery and uplifting that I can’t help but wonder: Is this Korpiklaani’s true calling? Juodaan Viinaa is truly wonderful, and every time I listen to it, I’m instantly in a better mood. I think that for their next release, the Forest Clan should do a cover album of Finnish Folk songs if this is what happens when Metal meets tradition. I know I’d buy it in a heartbeat, but it’s unlikely that the band would consider doing something like that.

All in all, Karkelo is an album I’d recommend only to the diehard Korpiklaani fans. I’ll admit that I enjoyed listening to it, but now that I’m finished writing this review I most likely won’t come back to it for a long, long time. Now, my shackles are broken, and I’m off to listen to Tales Along This Road for the umpteenth time. If you need me, I’ll be happily listening to Happy Little Boozer.

Killing Songs :
Vodka, Juodaan Viinaa, Kultanainen, Huppiaan Aarre
Kyle quoted 64 / 100
Other albums by Korpiklaani that we have reviewed:
Korpiklaani - Noita reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Korpiklaani - Manala reviewed by Olivier and quoted 78 / 100
Korpiklaani - Ukon Wacka reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Korpiklaani - Korven Kuningas reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Korpiklaani - Spirit Of The Forest reviewed by Kayla and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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