Korpiklanni's 2008 LP release, "Korvin Kuningas" is a wonderfully bold work of Finnish folk style heavy metal. Although not the first attempt at this sort of experiment, "Korvin Kuningas" is nevertheless very successful at carefully fusing the two musical genres with a high level of authenticity. Lyrically and vocally, the songs are written and sung in both English and Finnish. The accent of gravel-laden growler Jonne
is so thick; however, that it is difficult to differentiate between the two. Here, though, it works. That
"native tongue" feel is everpresent and highly complimentary to the music at hand. To add, some of the chorus parts are sung by what can be described as a drunken choir kind of feel ("Ali Jaisten Vetten", for example). Tracks that feature that can certainly double as drinking songs. From a songwriting standpoint, the concept is quite narrow with very few variations between songs. Again
, this works because this sharp focus keeps every song honest in terms of the creators' intention, and that's keeping the folk parts pure. Basically, the songs are short, folksy (almost like polka, if you will), mid-tempo to fast metal cuts dominated by the accordion and fiddle (in reference to the lead parts) and peppered with organic intrumentation throughout. Some of those highlights would include "Kipumylly" (viola), "Kantaiso" (mandolin and recorder), and "Suden Joiko" (mandolin). On the metal side, there's plenty of it including some nice licks on "Ali Jaisten Vetten" and a sweet drum and guitar scratch on "Northern Fall
". The rhythm section throughout "Korvin Kuningas" is very limited, but well directed. On "Keep on Galloping", the rhythm part is that classic three note gallop - very simple, but so effective (there's even a sound bite of a galloping horse!). Percussion is also rarely highlighted, assuming you don't count the way overdrawn track "Korven Kuningas" which features an almost funeral procession like ending that lasts almost twenty minutes. "Syntykoski Syommehessain" and "Nuolet Nomalan" are better showcases. The range in tempo is also quite narrow with only two songs that would be characterized as slow: "Gods On Fire
" (a soft piece with mandolin and fiddle) and "Suden Joiku" (where the soft mandolin and accordion parts bookend the faster middle part). Without taking away from the vocals, the best track could be the instrumental "Shall We Take A Turn?". If not for anything else, it serves as a sampler tune of all that can be heard everywhere else. Realistically, any song could be the best one for the overall tone, sound, and direction is constant. Any standout track would just be a matter of choice. This doesn't take away from the result that is "Korven Kuningas". Korpiklanni's interpretation of metal and Finland folk is a very legitimate and enjoyable experience.