Three years on from their last, Finnish Folk Metallers Korpiklanni are back with their tenth album ‘Kulkija’, which means ‘Wanderer’. The band state that this album is the closest to their on stage sound, as for tracking they used their tour set up, so will be able to easily perform all of this live. As well as being their longest album to date, in many ways it is also a concept as the wanderer of the album title appears in every song, with each track representing one of his life experiences. For example, opening song “Neito” (which translates to “Maiden”) is about his woman. The road is a wanderer’s bride, a maiden who he misses and who he travels with. However, the real maiden is waiting for his return home. After a journey you may bury your carriage, but the wistful traveller’s songs and music will be carried where it lies. A traveller was born to wander.
It must be said that I am not always a great fan of the folk metal genre, as it often feels that both sides suffer, but this album is definitely one of those where it all works together incredibly well. Far more folk than “just” folk metal, the album has a musical continuity which allows it all to hang together, and although there are times when they allow themselves some metallic guitar, for the most part this feels far more about a logical progression of a musical form as opposed to two opposing styles being brought crashing together. There is a great deal here that pure folkies will find to enjoy, especially with the lyrical violin and the delicate accordion, and one has to wonder what metalheads will think of it. I can imagine this album getting far more play at Cropredy than Wacken, although for some reason I am sure there is more chance of them playing at the latter than the former. Of all their albums I own, this is the one to which I will most often be returning.