Jonne Järvelä | vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion, violafon
Tuomas Rounakari | fiddle
Cane | guitar, backing vocals
Jarkko Aaltonen | bass
Sami Perttula | accordion
Matson Johansson | drums
After 3 years since the last album, Finnish Folk Metal Superstars KORPIKLAANI offer their 10thalbum titled »Kulkija« (“Wanderer”), set for a September 7th, 2018 release.
Concluding 14 (!) tracks, »Kulkija« is their longest album, but also their most natural sounding one to date. “That’s what you can clearly hear. It’s closer to how we sound on stage, and we’ll be able to play all new songs live, that’s for sure,”explains Jonne. For tracking, the band members mostly used their current tour rig.
And the result was definitely worth the waiting. From the first to the last tone, a unique atmosphere guides the listeners through a long journey. “It’s not just a collection of songs, it’s a ‘real’ album,” states Sami. Adds Jonne, “It needed many songs to create this atmosphere, and the record’s flow is really good too. You should definitely listen to »Kulkija« as a whole. The more you listen to the record, the more details you can find.” SamiPerttula explains further, “We really took our time and recorded it piece by piece. All songs were also well prepared in advance and nothing needed to be arranged in the studio like sometimes before.”
Also, instrumentally, the band continues the way they had already started from »Manala« (2012) to »Noita« (2015). “The characters of all instruments are more balanced than ever before. For the first time, I had the chance to play such a wide range of emotions on a metal album, and didn’t only have to focus on playing everything hard or in a rock style. I could use more of my expressional skills,”comments fiddler Tuomas.
Lyrically, the album deals with the album’s title character, the wanderer. He appears in every song and every single track represents one of his life situations. For example, ‘Neito’ deals with his woman. “The woman is the road, and as much as the wanderer loves being on the road, so much he loves his maiden,”explains Jonne (all roughly translated song titles can be found below). The album can even mostly be transferred to the band’s life on the road, far from home, which makes it probably also KORPIKLAANI’s most personal and emotional album. But now onwards to KORPIKLAANI’s new music.
»Kulkija« begins with a band-typical opening trio in the form of ‘Neito’,‘Korpikuusen Kyynel’and ‘Aallon Alla’, but then a beautiful acoustic ballad entitled ‘Harmaja’, gives the listener a first break to take breath. Continuing with‘Kotikonnut’, also the first single, ‘Korppikalliota’leads to ‘Kallon malja’, which is the album’s longest track with about 10 minutes. Track 8, the doomy ‘Sillanrakentaja’, surprises with a children’s choir (feat. Cane’s and Jonne’s kids), before ‘Henkselipoika‘ takes over. This song could sound familiar to some people as it already premiered live on KORPIKLAANI’s extensive European tour with HEIDEVOLK,ARKONA and TROLLFEST in early 2018. The instrumental track ‘Pellervoinen‘, written by fiddler Tuomas, opens up the last third of »Kulkija« with its charming folk arrangements, followed by ‘Riemu’and ‘Kuin korpi nukkuva’, before another high-paced track, ‘Juomamaa’, leads to the peaceful outro, ‘Tuttu on tie’.
The mastering skills of renowned engineer Svante Forsbäck(RAMMSTEINa.o.), who already worked with the band on »Live at Masters of Rock« (2017), gave the record its unique sound. “This record is so easy to listen to and interesting all the time, the balance is simply perfect,”he states. “We’ve never been as satisfied with a final result as we are with »Kulkija«,”confirms Jonne.
»Kulkija«was recorded in November 2017 at Petrax Studio (Hollola, Finland) and mixed at Sound Supreme Studio (Hämeenlinna, Finland) with producer/mixing engineer Janne Saksa and the final result presents the band as you’ve never heard them before. The corresponding detailed cover artwork was designed by JanYrlund( BATTLE BEAST,MANOWAR a.o.), who has been designing their covers since their 3rdalbum, and shows a beautiful landscape, based on a real photo taken by Jan at Huhtalan torppa, Kuhmoinen, Finland.
After their foundation by frontman Jonne Järvelä in 2003, KORPIKLAANI was very productive and has already released an impressive amount of 9 studio albums (sometimes almost one album a year) plus a live DVD/Blu-ray (»Live at Masters of Rock«, 2017) in their only 15-year spanning career.
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