Finnish folk metal gods Korpiklaani have returned with album number nine and, even though it doesn't quite measure up as the best album they've ever released, it still packs a punch that will have you jigging up and down if you manage to capture one of their fantastic gigs. 'Noita' has been three years in the making and, for a band who are usually quick at turning around releases, I imagine there are more than a few fans out there chomping at the bit to get their lug holes around this! What's different this time is that Korpiklaani sing the entire album in their native language (and all the song titles are completely incomprehensible for a language buffoon like me) but, like Rammstein, are one of the few bands that can do that without a release becoming tedious. In fact, several of the tracks really benefit from the lyrics being spat out in Finnish even if I haven't got a clue what's being sung.
What also seems to be more prevalent on 'Noita' is the folk aspect of their sound. Now I know this is what Korpiklaani are famous for; however, the accordion and fiddle playing, along with some of the woodwind passages, really seem to be coming to the fore but without any diminishing heaviness. In fact, the guitars seem more rhythmic and industrial, leaving those instruments to provide the melody and solo sections; another reason why the name Rammstein springs to mind. Other than the obvious differences in language you would swear on a couple of occasions you were listening to Till Lindemann and friends!
What is missing this time around, and what perhaps lets 'Noita' down, is the lack of a standout sing-along track or two. Don't get me wrong, this is still a great release but, overall, the songs don't stick quite like you want them to. To seemingly make up for this Korpiklaani have included a cover song, and a very clever one it is! Tommy James and the Shondells released 'Mony Mony' in 1968 and it has been used in films and covered numerous times since then. Here, though, it is called 'Jouni Jouni' and is translated completely into Finnish. It works a treat and will be an instant hit in the live setting; it's just a shame that a forty five year old song is the one you'll remember most after listening to 'Noita'.
You pretty much know by now, well, unless you've been living in a cave somewhere, what this band of merry men are going to release and that remains the case, but it almost seems as if Korpiklaani are treading water just slightly and saving the really, really ace songs for album number ten. We'll just have to wait and see, but this will definitely keep fans of the band happy until that point.
Review by Rick Tilley
4th May 2015
1) Viinamäen Mies
2) Pilli On Pajusta Tehty
6) Minä Näin Vedessä Neidon
7) Jouni Jouni
8) Kylästä Keväinen Kehto
10) Sen Verran Minäkin Noita
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"You pretty much know by now... what this band of merry men are going to release and that remains the case..."