Korpiklaani
Kulkija


3.5
great

Review

by Scuro F. STAFF
September 16th, 2018 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The party bards but not as you know ‘em.

Here’s something to set the skeptics abuzz: Korpiklaani have legitimately delivered something unexpected with the release of Kulkija. Now I hate to burst the bubble before anyone gets too excited, but it isn’t exactly subversive enough to challenge the opinions of many hardened naysayers, nor impressive enough to change the game even amongst seasoned folk-metal aficionados. And yet, the alcoholic Finnish larrikins we all know and love (well, we all know them at least) have seemingly sobered up, followed their 12-step program, and emerged with a clear vision packaged in a cohesive concept album. The result is surprisingly lucid and refreshingly earthy.

Translating to “Wanderer”, Kulkija explores a variety of folkloric tales with simpering sentimentality, treating its travelling themes with more presence of mind than a Korpiklaani album can generally muster. The listener is invited along to trespass through the countryside, arm-in-arm with the titular wayfarer, exploring many jovial settings across fourteen tracks of folky goodness. While maintaining a largely positive and jolly tone, Kulkija is much less rambunctious than its predecessors, aiming for feel-good tunes rather than the typical in-your-face celebrations the band has become known for. There’s a genuine sense of maturity and progress present here. It's still a Korpiklaani album, but an authentic effort to stay focused has lent the troupe an emotional depth which has hitherto been absent. The folky side of the band’s sonic palette clearly had its thumb on the scale throughout the writing process, heavily outweighing the metal elements that poke through, and honestly the record is much better off for the injustice. Overdrive has been rolled back, tempos have softened, and in general relaxed contentment seems to be the aim of the game. Something feels bitter-sweet about the optimistic gaiety which bleeds through in tracks like ‘Aallon Alla’ and ‘Harmaja’, matching the album’s general concept of reflection and reminiscence. More than anything, Kulkija comes across as an honest and organic attempt to capture something personal about the life and origins of the band members.

Though the source of this praise-worthy material may seem unlikely, Korpiklaani have indeed managed an album capable of stirring hidden feelings – who knew they had it in them. Rather than resuscitating their bombastic drinking music for another round, the crew have resurrected memories of homely atmospheres, and one ends up strangely appreciative that they've managed to do it so well. A few duds aside, most notably those out-of-place romps where well-worn paths are travelled, Kulkija is a wholly pleasant experience. Ironically, this ode to the past bodes well for Korpiklaani’s future.



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user ratings (8)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2018


11531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel like this might grow on me more, they did well to mostly ditch the metal and strip things back.

Digging: Isegrimm - Der Herr von Verona

Elynna
September 16th 2018


252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Korpiklaani is the pinnacle of mediocrity for me, they have yet to produce something noteworthy. Your review encourages further listenings though, so I will give it another spin.

Digging: Riverside - Wasteland

Alastor
September 16th 2018


1961 Comments


I've stopped listening to them after Tervaskanto, as every album that followed was more or less the same. Good to see they are challenging themselves a bit again.

JS19
September 16th 2018


6809 Comments


worst genre of music around

Digging: Leech - For Better or For Worse

Evrimen
September 16th 2018


96 Comments


"Korpiklaani is the pinnacle of mediocrity for me, they have yet to produce something noteworthy."

I'd say the pinnacle of meme metal but yeah fair enough

sonictheplumber
September 16th 2018


9278 Comments


fart music

Pho3nix
September 16th 2018


516 Comments


The album cover is very nostalgic to me, might check this out. Thanks for the review!

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2018


11531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for reading (:



This is worth checking out even if the band haven't impressed you much in the past. I happen to like their dumb fun stuff too, but this is quite different.



Nice dig btw @Elynna

Meridiu5
September 16th 2018


611 Comments


Great music but i favor the drunken stuff

Digging: Merzbow - Flare Gun

chug73
September 19th 2018


3595 Comments


Is this what they listen to up in Finland? Weirdos...

sonictheplumber
September 20th 2018


9278 Comments


Checked this out an I'm blown away. Ditched the silliness and the folk crap I can hear john cage, residents, beefheart

dbizzles
September 20th 2018


12096 Comments


I haven't heard anything by these guys but party bards sounds awesome.

Good review, as far as I can tell : )

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2018


11531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers db, I have a feeling you'd like this



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