By Paul Rodgers
The word Finnish word “noita” has two different interpretations. The first, more traditional translation describes someone we would label as a shaman or medicine man: someone from which you seek metaphysical guidance and healing. The more modern, Christian influenced version adds a negative connotation to the word and becomes something closer to our word ‘witch.’ Rest assured Finnish folk metallers Korpiklaani used the former, drawing from the traditional translation of their forefathers to celebrate the work of healers with supernatural understanding.
A fundamental progression with this (their ninth studio record since 2003) compared to the group’s previous work is the addition of accordion player Sami Perttula, who brings a button-accordion to the mix as opposed to the piano-accordions that were used on the prior discography. This added organic element further solidifies vocalist Jonne Järvelä’s vision of a fusion between traditional Finish folk music and metal. Look for that sound on tracks like “Sahti” or “Kylästä Keväinen Kehto” where it is used prominently.
Wildly energetic and entertaining standout “Lempo” begins simply with a guttural vocal chant atop of straight ahead rock drums. These quickly link up with a captivating string section that then parts ways for the verse, where it again simplifies, utilizing only vocals, drums and a dissonant melody, which is then met with a chugging guitar riff. There is an incredible breakdown with an absolutely heart wrenching violin solo towards the end of the song; this is Korpiklaani at their finest, sure to induce mosh-pits and sing-alongs for those who throw irony to the wind.