Ukon Wacka

1. Louhen Yhdeksäs Poika
2. Päät Pois Tai Hirteen
3. Tuoppi Oltta
4. Lonkkaluut
5. Tequila
6. Ukon Wacka
7. Korvesta Liha
8. Koivu Ja Tähti
9. Vaarinpolkka
10. Surma
11. Iron Fist" (Motörhead cover; bonus track)

Jonne Järvelä (vocals, guitar)
Jaakko Lemmetty (violin, jouhikko & woodwinds)
Kalle Savijärvi (guitar)
Matti Johansson (drums)
Jarkko Aaltonen (bass)
Juho Kauppinen (accordion)

Spirit of the Forest (2003)
Voice of Wilderness (2005)
Tales Along This Road (2006)
Tervaskanto (2007)
Korven Kuningas (2008)
Karkelo (2009)

Tuomari Nurmio (V on 6)


Released 4/2-2011
Reviewed 8/2-2011

nuclear blast

Accordion, Finnish vocals and hard rock. Three things you are bound under law not to mix, almost at least. But Korpiklaani (the forest clan or wilderness clan) breaks every law there is and makes this anyway. This is a band that traditionally have been awarded with good scores in Hallowed, although this is the first album we review since becoming a webzine. So, has the wilderness clan kept their class on the albums that has passed?

Traditionally Finnish music is pretty influenced by folk music, and it was first in the 80's that the popular scene was more or less free from it but then at the end of the 90's it had a flashback when folk influenced metal bands like Nightwish and Finntroll became popular. In 2003 Korpiklaani (the band formerly known as Shaman) released their debut and in opposite of their previous formation had an instant success with their brisk accordion metal sung in Finnish. With this one in count, Korpiklaani has released seven albums and back in their home country they're another of these metal bands reaching top 20 on the album charts while the rest of the world stares into thin air without the slightest clue of how that can happen. Us with Finnish roots on the other hand doesn't have the slightest problem to understand.

With a solid melodic foundation, Korpiklaani plows through 10 songs in a tempo fast as a Finnish Rally. They build the entire lead section around violins and accordions, while the rhythm section get their fuel from pounding bass and the drums that's been mixed down quite a lot. The guitars lies a little on the side of it all, sometimes going in on the lead side and at other times going in to the rhythm section. In either case they have a very electronic sound to them and doesn't play with a folk music at all but a pure metal sound. Despite how stupid this might sound, the music actually sounds good. It's really cheerful, yet hard and at the same time as it sounds like folk music, the foundation of it still is a merciless death machine that can crush stones with the jaws. Jonne Järvelä, who is the voice of the band, has a voice that shrieks Finnish primeval forest, like an old troll that has crawled up from one of the thousand lakes. Beautiful is far from the word you'e looking for, but it suits the music great and Jonne almost become this bearded old wise man that tell the youths tales around the campfire that all pagan villages used to have.

The music gets the inspiration from Humppa and Polka and other Finnish national music styles. Instruments like lyre and also some sort of flutes, I think, sneaks in to the already wacked out mixture of instruments and the sound becomes exactly what the band has tried to accomplish: Finnish folk music played as hard rock. It's catchy and fun, and the album has just the right amount of work in it. It's not super advanced, but with the many odd instruments (at least odd in this context) still gives the album a well solid feel to it. This is also true on the production side, it's not sloppy or left to nurture itself without anyone caring, but neither is it thrashed by endless work that suits million dollar pop albums. The album has a power and sharpness in the production and the sound is sharp as a knife edge without taking it too far, and that is in my opinion exactly what this album needs. I also must add that I like the mixing, which gives a real glow to the album, it's absolutely wonderful! I like that you can hear all these folk instruments, but they don't go too far with it. It remains a metal album, only that it's knocked up a notch.

My personal opinion is that this album is really, really good and really, really fun to listen at. It's voluptuous and catchy without taking anything too far. I don't care much for lyrics and what's sung so I don't have any issues with the Finnish vocals but I still raise a warning flag for that. Another flag is raised for the heaviness of the album, the music is quite heavy and quite hard (also here without going too far) so it might be a bit too much for people that worship Garth Brooks or barbershop quartets. But for us who have some flesh on our bones and like when there's some energy in the food we buy shouldn't be frightened by this. It's not THAT hard.

"Ukon Wacka" is simply an album that already has given a lot of joy and I don't see any reason for it to do anything different for you. It's good to hear bands that really go all the way with what they want to do.'Ukon Wacka' is Korpiklaani the way we've got to know them, and it sounds just as good today as it's done before.


Label - Nuclear Blast
Tre liknande band - Finntroll/Ensiferum/Turisas
Recensent: Caj Källmalm