February 1, 2021 Korpiklaani – Jylhä (Album Review)
Living in a time where lengthy travel bans do not permit us from first-hand overseas music and culture experiences, at least we explore newly created albums from far away lands. One band that deserves this exploration is Finland’s Korpiklaani, and hitting the market Friday, February 5th via Nuclear Blast Records is their newest conceptual music declaration, Jylhä.
For those interested, the band’s eleventh studio album title has no direct translation, but can be described as majestic and wild. Two words which can also relate to their sound, anyone who follows Korpiklaani through the years are tuned in to their brilliant mix of Folk Metal. Now, hitting above the mark, yet again, they return with this tale of murder and mystery.
A band of long time members, Korpiklaani returns featuring founding Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Jones Järvelä, along with Guitarist Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi, Bassist Jarkko Aaltonen, Violinist Tuomas Rounakari, Accordionist Samii Perttula, plus their newest smashing addition, Drummer Samuli Mikkonen. A tight knit team, what stands out as a fun, wild change for Korpiklaani with Jylhä is that the blend of some Punk and Reggae. A band which is quite notorious for creating serene and clean concept albums that fuel the fire for the particular musical direction of the album, Jylhä stands out in a positive light, telling a collection of tales of nature, murder, and more.
A delightful concept record, including the story of the infamous Lake Bodom murders, it all begins with six plus minute long tale “Verikoira.” A song which dives into Punk roots quite well, is is also submerging along with stylistic Heavy Metal. Picking up the pace is the speedy, fun, honest tale of mayhem “Niemi” where Järvelä carries out some well-executed aggression. This is before “Leväluhta” takes on a very different flair with its dominant Reggae vibe. An experiment the band pulls off very convincingly, it is definitely one of the most exciting moments of the album.
Then there is the cultural tune “Mylly,” sung in the band’s native tongue, offers a strong follow up to the previous agendas, despite its more somber undertone. Keeping with the mood, “Tuuleton” and “Sanaton maa” are more of the same vibe of serenity and nature before the well-balanced hard and soft approach of “Kiuru.” Moving along, the second half of Jylhä is just as good as the first with “Miero,” “Pidot,” which features Jack Gibson of Exodus on Banjo, and final track “Juuret” being the most noteworthy. Although, truth be told, there are no tunes that are not worth a mention, and it is recommended to listen to Jylhä from start to finish to really absorb the stories as they were written.
Unique to 2018’s Kulkija, Jylhä has a varied, and at times, heavier vibe which may excite even more listeners. Finland, like many overseas locations, has so many great Metal bands who have prospered into a global recognition. Korpiklaani usually travels to America at least once a year with their music. Although they cannot yet make an appearance this year, they deserve recognition and support for this successful new album. Therefore, Cryptic Rock gives Korpiklaani’s Jylhä 5 out of 5 stars and wishes them to always stay metal!