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Korpiklaani - "Ukon Wacka" (CD)

Korpiklaani - "Ukon Wacka" CD cover image

"Ukon Wacka" track listing:

1. Louhen Yhdeksäs Poika (3:25)
2. Päät Pois Tai Hirteen (3:14)
3. Tuoppi Oltta (3:37)
4. Lonkkaluut (5:41)
5. Tequila (2:44)
6. Ukon Wacka (5:08)
7. Korvesta Liha (4:34)
8. Koivu Ja Tähti (4:20)
9. Vaarinpolkka (2:19)
10. Surma (6:22)

Reviewed by on January 5, 2011

"While it doesn’t have as much counterbalance as on the last album and tends to always stick with one theme, it’s a theme that makes for a great party and an awesome listen for folk metal enthusiasts."

Whenever Korpiklaani starts playing music, one thing is absolutely certain: these Finns are going to make sure the crowd has a hell of a good time. Regardless of whether it’s playing bagpipes, flutes, or electric guitars, Korpiklaani knows how to use music to make a group of people start knocking back the drinks and enjoy each other’s company. Although it doesn’t quite reach the same heights of folk metal perfection found on the last album, “Karkelo” (reviewed here), “Ukon Wacka” is a worthy addition to the Korpiklaani lineup and a must-have for fans of the genre.

Even though “Karkelo” translated to “party,” this new album is even more focused on keeping the good times rolling and never lets up the upbeat attitude. While “Karkelo” had a few somber side treks, perhaps exploring that point when a partier has had a few too many and decides to reflect on past decisions, “Ukon Wacka” doesn’t bother with anything that might stop people from pouring more tequila shots.

Echoing the “Vodka” track from the last album, “Tequila” is the band’s tribute to a specific liquor on this outing. Now granted, it may just be because this particular reviewer prefers the one drink to the other, but “Tequila” just isn’t as catchy or fun as “Vodka,” although it makes a drunkenly valiant effort. The way the songs are constructed is very similar, however, so maybe it’s just the lack of English lyrics that makes it less quotable and memorable. Finnish speakers will probably get a lot more out of it than drunk Americans.

Several of the songs show a much more rock and roll influence than on the band’s previous works, using guitar riffs that bring to mind traditional metal melded with folk instruments. Most of the time it’s a great mix and just another way for Korpiklaani to express it’s unique blend of styles. The one main exception occurs early on at the second track. Even though it’s only slightly longer than three minutes long, “Paat Pois Tai Hirteen” still manages to be overly repetitive. The repeating rock and roll riff is great the first few times, but by the end of the song it has long overstayed its welcome.

These quibbles shouldn’t be taken as reasons not to hear “Ukon Wacka,” however. From start to finish, the album has everything that makes Korpiklaani a driving force in Finnish folk metal. While it doesn’t have as much counterbalance as on the last album and tends to always stick with one theme, it’s a theme that makes for a great party and an awesome listen for folk metal enthusiasts.

Highs: Even more awesome drinking music from a band that knows how to expertly blend the folk elements with the metal

Lows: The album doesn't often change modes or go in different directions, and a few of the rock and roll anthems are overly repetitive.

Bottom line: Another folk metal winner from Korpiklaani and a great excuse to pull out a bottle of tequila.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)