Tales Along This Road

by: Korpiklaani

Finland's Korpiklaani may indulge themselves in the occasional Scandinavian folk breakdown (pipes, accordion, and fiddle), but at its heart, this hard-hitting sextet produces fits of pure snow-capped heavy metal. Their third full-length album, Tales Along This Road, has its feet firmly planted within the burgeoning Viking metal scene, but where bands like Stratovarius and Falkenbach build their fantasy worlds from the oft-pillaged chest of power metal cliché, Korpiklaani take their inspiration from ages old Finnish folk songs, often incorporating them unchanged into the mix. There are no epic, three-tiered symphonic monstrosities to be found here, just ten brutal, occasionally pretty, and startlingly concise songs about ice, Odin, and binge drinking that sound like a Norse Flogging Molly. Vocalist/guitarist Jonne Järvelä snarls and sneers like a hardcore punk with a secret stash of early Accept albums, and whether he's singing in his native tongue ("Tuli Kokko") or welcoming the listener to "the land of ice and snow" (on the meteoric "Rise"), it's impossible to not yearn for a few flagons of ale and a warm pelt to pass out on. ~ James Christopher Monger

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