Some of you may remember I wasn’t hugely impressed with Korpiklaani’s last offering, Ukon Wacka, up to the point that I’ve just had to Google its name. The Finnish folksters have always been good at what they do, but I’d always wondered whether or not they really needed a dozen albums of the same thing when nothing much had really happened since Tales Along This Road.
As it seems to be the current trend with Nuclear Blast bands, Manala takes the sound back towards a more classic sound metal. The guitars are thick and welcoming, and the opening cries of Kunnia pretty much set the standard for the entire record. We know what we’re getting with Korpiklaani, that slightly off-centre interpretation of the folk metal movement, Rauta’s eccentricity bleded with some truly meaty hooks.
The folk trappings still surround Korpiklaani’s root sound of guitar/drums/bass. The folorn fiddle of Dolorous is surprisingly poignant for a band who’ve made somewhat of a name for themselves on songs about alcohol, although it’s nice to see another utterly pointless passage in Husky Sledge takes up more of your time.
You’ll please forgive this short review, because I honestly don’t know what else to say about Manala without banging on about the same thing. Except to say that if the last couple of records put you off the band, Manala is more focused and comes out stronger.