Without a doubt, when the name Korpiklaani comes up in a conversation or print, we all know them as the Finnish masters of folk metal. They do it well and like no others in the game. Their eleventh full-length studio album, JYLHA, brings all the well-known and essential ingredients to the table: heavy-duty guitar riffing, rhythmic folk melodies, and more.
I haven’t listened to any of Korpiklaani’s studio albums for a while now. I have been a bit hooked on their 2017 release, LIVE AT MASTERS OF ROCK, since it came out. I wanted to get a copy of their previous release, KULKIJA, that saw the band heading towards a more polished and serious direction to their sound. I can say that JYLHA must be an extension of the last album.
I have always associated Korpiklaani’s brand of folk-inspired metal with heavy amounts of alcohol and fun. They, to me, are the party band of the genre. Like Tankard is to thrash or Steel Panther is to heavy metal. You know what I am getting at here. I do not get that sensation after listening to this one.
While the album tends to be directed in a more serious-minded musical direction, the folk elements still prevail but do not overpower the heavy metal sound on this one. The accordion and fiddle playing seem to be toned down a touch. It makes me want to get my hands on KULKIJA now more than ever. Musically, this album is quite the masterpiece! It is filled with plenty of epic melodies and a more straight-forward metal approach.
I was expecting that signature style, punchy and up-tempo folk-metal sound Korpiklaani has been producing for so many years now. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Not that it would not be of good quality, but by the fact that it is so good. I am not sure what I am singing along to, but I am. For those naysayers of the folk-metal genre, and one that I am no expert in, I am going to say that Korpiklaani’s JYLHA is a game-changer here. I may be wrong, but I’m sticking with it for now.
Cane – Guitars, Vocals
Jonne Järvelä – Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Hurdy gurdy, Violafon, Shaman drum, Djembe, Flute
Jarkko Aaltonen – Bass
Tuomas Rounakari – Violin
Sami Perttula – Accordion
Samuli Mikkonen – Drums