NINE times have Korpiklaani dipped into the folk metal well, sometimes with mixed results. And, after what was a relatively disappointing performance in Belfast last year we approached that ninth release with some trepidation.
But ‘Noita’ turns out to be one of their most impressive releases. Compositions all work, arrangements are well thought out, and the pacing of the album is peerless.
Much has been made of the addition of Sami Perttula on accordion, who worked on the more folksy arrangements with Tuomas.
And, it pays off on then likes of ‘Mina Nain Vedessa Neidon’, which has six minutes of arrangements that veer between a mid-paced rocker and an exemplar of folk metal, with fiddle breaks and impassioned vocalisations.
That ‘Noita’ is a themed album about knowledge is something bassist Jarkko is keen to emphasise
“A ‘Noita’ is a person with wider knowledge and understanding of nature and who also was believed to possess paranormal or unnatural abilities,” he said. “These people were often also referred to as “Tietäjä”, which translates as someone with wider knowledge and understanding of pretty much everything. The Native American medicine man and all the different types of Shamans of the primitive people are other examples.
“Finnish “Noita” had the ability to heal, just like their North American counterparts. They were very respected members of the society. Only later Christianity changed the word to mean something negative since those people were considered rivals by the church.”
With our limited [Editor’s note: Non-existent!] knowledge of Finnish most [all] of the lyrics are beyond us. However, musically ‘Jouni Jouni’ is a rocker with real passion and some serious fiddling going on!
Jonne’s vocals are gruff and passionate at the same time, such as on ‘Sahti’ and ‘Luontoni’ – a pair of tracks sitting unassuming at four and five on the track listing, but are a perfect duo in the middle of the release.
Truth be told there are no weak tracks on here: rather a series of well-balanced songs, placed perfectly in the context of an album. Penultimate track ‘Ammanhuata’ has a series of accordion sections that sit well with Cane’s riffing.
Noticeable is the dominance of the fiddle throughout, something that the band say was deliberate.
Violinist Tuoumas said: “This album has more violin solos than ever before. Violin is more in the role of a lead-guitar now just as Jonne had originally intended it to be.”
And, vocalist Jonne said: “We have finally managed to create the balance between folk and metal in the way I’ve always dreamt it to be. Thanks to Sami’s arrangements and Tuomas’s crazy shredding of the violin.”Given that Korpiklaani had their first release – ‘Spirit of the Forest’ – out in 2003 that Jonne says this is a release that captures his vision suggests, perhaps correctly, that until very recently they have had some great songs, if not totally coherent albums.
With number nine they have produced a comprehensive set of songs, concluding with the quite awesome ‘Sen Verran Minakin Noita’, a track that encompasses all that is good about the genre, and Korpiklaani themselves.
What can – and must – be said is that Noita is the album that the band have always threatened to release, but have now finally accomplished.Review by Jonny Noita is out now on Nuclear Blast
A lifelong Metalhead and prolific reviewer, Jonny is a part of the team here at Devils Gate Media. Since 2006, Jonny has been the owner of BELFAST METALHEADS REUNITED.
Check out Jonny’s blog for more album and gig reviews.]]>