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Korpiklaani “Rankarumpu” album review by Jorge Pozo

Korpiklaani band

Rankarumpu,” the twelfth studio album by Finnish folk metal stalwarts Korpiklaani, showcases the band’s enduring spirit and its musical evolution. This album marks a noticeable shift towards a more spirited and rapid tempo, diverging from the more reflective tones of their previous works “Kulkija” and “Jylhä.” With its roots firmly planted in the rich soil of folk metal, Korpiklaani continues to evolve, offering listeners a blend of ferocity and festivity that’s both refreshing and deeply familiar.

The album cover, featuring a traditional drum, signals a return to the band’s core musical elements, with percussion playing a pivotal role in driving the album’s energetic pace. This choice reflects a deliberate focus on rhythm, propelling the album into a dynamic and compelling listening experience. However, the absence of their long-time mascot ‘Vaari‘ might disappoint some fans, suggesting a shift in the band’s aesthetic presentation.

Musically, “Rankarumpu” is infused with the joy and exuberance that have become Korpiklaani‘s hallmarks. Tracks like “Oraakkelit” and “Mettän” exemplify this, blending metal with folk instruments in a way that feels both innovative and grounded in tradition. The album’s infectious energy is particularly evident in its use of violin and accordion, with Sami Perttula and Olli Vänskä delivering standout performances that underscore the band’s folk roots while pushing its sound in new directions.

Lyrically, the band’s commitment to Finnish adds a layer of authenticity but also presents a barrier to international fans. The deepening of their discography in their native tongue is both a strength and a limitation, enriching the band’s identity while potentially alienating those unfamiliar with the language. This linguistic barrier, while enhancing the band’s uniqueness, underscores the challenges of balancing cultural specificity with global appeal.

Rankarumpu” shines brightly, highlighting folk metal’s lasting allure and showcasing Korpiklaani‘s talent in merging traditional melodies with the raw energy of metal. Yet, the album is not without its missteps. Some tracks, while energetically executed, can feel formulaic, lacking the lyrical depth or compositional innovation that might elevate them further. Additionally, the strategic placement of the title track “Rankarumpu” in the album’s lineup feels like a missed opportunity to frame the album’s narrative arc more effectively.

Vocally, Jonne Järvelä‘s performance is as charismatic and engaging as ever, though at times, the vocal melodies veer towards repetition. This is a minor critique in the context of the album’s overall impact but suggests an area where further diversity could enhance the listening experience.

In conclusion, “Rankarumpu” represents a robust addition to Korpiklaani‘s discography, capturing the essence of what makes folk metal so captivating. It is an album of celebration, a call to the wild that resonates with the spirit of adventure. While it navigates the delicate balance between innovation and tradition, it mostly succeeds in delivering an energetic and engaging musical journey. For its ability to invigorate the folk metal genre with renewed vitality and for maintaining the high standards Korpiklaani is known for, I rate “Rankarumpu” an 8.5 out of 10. It is a commendable effort that reinforces Korpiklaani‘s status as folk metal luminaries.

Get the album here: https://shop.nuclearblast.com/products/korpiklaani-rankarumpu-pre-order

Korpiklaani band

Tracklist
Kotomaa 3:10
Tapa sen kun kerkeet 2:26
Aita 3:47
Saunaan 3:19
Mettään 4:19
Kalmisto 4:23
Rankarumpu 2:44
No perkele 3:59
Viikatelintu 3:21
Nouse 3:24
Oraakkelit 3:13
Harhainen höyhen 5:16

Lineup:
Jonne Järvelä | Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
Sami Perttula | Accordion
Olli Vänskä| Violin
Jarkko Aaltonen | Bass
Kalle „Cane“ Savijärvi | Guitar
Samuli Mikkonen | Drums & Percussion

Place of Origin: Finland
Album Release Date: April 5, 2024
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Folk Metal
Social Links: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Youtube 

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