...you better believe I would! This has to be the most daring and innovative band on Napalm Records, which is really saying a lot, since that same label carries Atrocity, Vintersorg, Sirenia, and other fantastic artists. But Korpiklaani is likely to be some of the most captivating, yet very fun metal you'll ever hear. If you were put off by the overdose of black metal influence found on Finntroll's albums, then Korpiklaani is the antidote. First of all, they sing in English, so you can understand them. Their earlier works, under the band name Shaman, were in Finnish, but their first attempt in English is much better. Not that Jonne is any particularly wonderful lyricist, but hey, it's all based off of Finnish folklore, so in the end, it's all good. This album features searing guitar work, inspired by gothic and old-school metal and maybe even a tad of folk-noir, but the real highlight comes from Hittavainen, the violinist/flutist. It's not like Tristania or My Dying Bride, where you get a little melancholic violin sample now and then; Hittavainen is right up front there, playing alongside the guitars and often taking center stage. His work sounds exactly like what you'd expect to hear sitting around a campfire in the Finnish wilderness. As a friend of mine so kindly pointed out, Jonne (vocals/lead guitar) has the voice of a storyteller who's trying to scare little kids. It may sound contrary to the music at first, but his voice really grows on you after a while.
One thing that might put many listeners off is the fact that many of the songs are rather short. There are a few long ones, like the absolutely exceptional "With Trees," but most of them never even exceed four minutes (some don't even reach three). There are six songs that are totally instrumental, with the best (and longest) being the closer, "Mother Earth." It sounds nothing like the sappy Within Temptation song by the same name, by the way. This one actually possesses fine musicianship. It reminds me a bit of a Native American tune, although it's really Native Finnish, hehe. Other highlights for me are "Pellonpekko" (an instrumental adaptation of a Finnish folk tune; there are several like it but this is the best), "Wooden Pints," and "Before the Morning Sun." There are no poor songs, although Jonne's vocals in "You Looked Into My Eyes" aren't very good (the song itself is, though). This is an excellent addition to any metal collection. If you like this type of 'nature metal,' I'd also recommend Agalloch and Nest; neither band sounds anything like Korpiklaani (Nest isn't even metal), but are great for forest souls. A must-have; Finland's best band easily!