Sunday, June 24, 2012

Korpiklaani - Ukon Wacka

Here’s what I’ve noticed when it comes to European folk music (not the shitty American folk), there’s two types: the really atmospheric and melodic kind, and the really upbeat and fast kind that they play at get-togethers. Ok, now let’s put that into folk METAL perspective: the soft and melodic folk can be found in Ensiferum and Eluveitie, and the really upbeat folk can be found in none other than KORPIKLAANI! Being all about fun and (obviously) beer, Korpiklaani delivers a one-of-a-kind musical experience that is hard to compare to anything else (no, Alestorm doesn’t count, they’re not nearly cool enough). When I had the pleasure to see Korpiklaani live a few months ago (in case you’re wondering, I was in fact totally smashed by the time they came on), it was like a party instead of a metal show. In the pit, people weren’t moshing, they were running towards each other from opposite corners, interlocking arms, and dancing around like some kind of motherfucking square dance! It was one of the most fun metal experiences I’ve ever had and I suggest you check them out since they’re coming back again with Moonsorrow. But let’s talk about my personal favorite record by these Finns, Ukon Wacka.

For some reason, Korpiklaani’s music is hard to break down because it’s so damn easy to just describe it in a few sentences. But I’m going to make an honest attempt at it. Well first of all, all of the songs on this album (except for the Motorhead cover) are in Finnish, which I understand perfectly. And after reading all the lyrics, whoever wrote them was obviously either really fucking happy or heavily intoxicated because they’re all about partying, alcohol, and having a hell of a good time.

The coolest thing about Korpiklaani is that they go all out and be ORIGINAL. They wear elk-skin clothes and leather moccasins, they have an accordion player, a fucking amazing guy on the fiddle, and I think one of the guys plays the bagpipes but I’m not sure. The one thing that I DO know for sure is that none of the folk instruments are tracked or played on the keyboards. Not that it makes any difference, but it really shows how dedicated these guys are to being PURE FUCKING FOLK METAL!

 Although personally, folk metal usually isn’t my first choice, Korpiklaani, Ensiferum, and Eluveitie have never ceased to impress me. In other words, I’m not a huge fan of folk metal, but this album is fucking FANTASTIC and one of the most fun records in my collection. My favorite member of the band is the fiddle player. And it’s not because of the instrument he plays, it’s because he’s one of the best fiddle players that I’ve heard since I first started listening to The Dixie Dregs (a southern progressive rock band my dad is obsessed with) when I was ten years old. Overall, the individual members don’t have too much technical skill, but as a whole band, the creativity is undeniable; I repeat, UNDENIABLE. These guys have managed to play the exact same kind of music for almost ten years and have it NEVER get old or bland. Instead, each album seems to be better than the last. I would give this album 18/20 for being my favorite non-Eluveitie folk metal album. My favorite song on this record is definitely Tequilla (which is ironically the single). This album NEEDS to have a home in EVERYBODY’S music library.