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Korpiklaani - "Manala" (CD)

Korpiklaani - "Manala" CD cover image

"Manala" track listing:

1. Kunnia (3:25)
2. Tuonelan Tuvilla (3:10)
3. Rauta (3:06)
4. Ruuminmultaa (3:37)
5. Petoeläimen Kuola (3:15)
6. Synkkä (5:25)
7. Ievan Polkka (3:08)
8. Husky-Sledge (1:48)
9. Dolorous (3:05)
10. Uni (3:45)
11. Metsälle (5:40)
12. Sumussa Hämärän Aamun (6:19)
13. Soil of the Corpse (Bonus Track) (3:37)

Reviewed by on August 7, 2012

"Even if the highs and lows aren’t quite as memorable, 'Manala' still offers up another dose of pretty much everything Korpiklaani fans loved about earlier releases, and there’s no reason this one shouldn’t grace the collection of any folk metal fanatic."

The liquor loving Finns in Korpiklaani keep up a very steady release schedule, with new album “Manala” following only a year after “Ukon Wacka,” which itself was released less than two years after “Karkelo.” Despite the pace, the quality hasn’t suffered too much, and this is still high-quality folk metal that’s meant to keep friends and comrades-in-arms slapping pints against the table and telling tales long into the night.

Like many Korpiklaani releases, the album immediately starts off with an infectious anthem, and there are others sprinkled throughout the disc, like the immensely fun and humppa-ish “Ievan Polkka.” That being said, this latest release unfortunately doesn’t really have the instantly iconic sing-along songs like “Vodka” or “Tequila” off the last two albums. If the energetic jigs don’t work for you, there are some departures from the standard Korpiklaani formula, like the low-end and bass heavy sounds on “Tuonelan Tuvilla” that defy the usual bouncy tone of the music. “Petoeläimen Kuola” is the guitar-focused song on the track, starting off as a thrash piece first and foremost, and then adding string instruments in the background. There’s also the more somber and completely instrumental “Dolorous” to break things up.

Every song essentially uses one main hook – a traditional instrument segment, a drink raising guitar riff, etc. – and bases everything else around that main sound or idea. It’s a simplistic approach, but gives the band an opportunity to try new things on each track, while still having a core, recognizable sound throughout the run time. It does make the songs a bit one-dimensional though; once you’ve heard the hook, you’ve pretty much figured out what the song has to offer for the next three minutes.

As a whole, the fun drinking atmosphere doesn’t seem to reach the same heights or provide the same unforgettable atmosphere as previous albums. Likewise, the somber folk-focused tracks don’t hit quite the same emotional note to make a lasting impact. But even if the highs and lows aren’t quite as memorable, “Manala” still offers up another dose of pretty much everything Korpiklaani fans loved about earlier releases, and there’s no reason this one shouldn’t grace the collection of any folk metal fanatic.

Highs: It's Korpiklaani - bouncy fun drinking anthems, laced with folk elements abound.

Lows: There's not a real standout track, the interlude song is completely unnecessary, and the forlorn folk track doesn't hit the same emotional tone as on previous albums.

Bottom line: The formula is a tad stale, but overall this is still high-quality folk metal that's worth raising a glass to.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)