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Manala by Korpiklaani
Released: Aug 2012
Label: Nuclear Blast
Maybe the least party-hearty album these Finnish forest fauna have made, Manala opens with two songs about the subarctic "underworld" (in disc two's English translations anyway), and minor-key mourners like "Dismal" and "Dolorous" earn their downtrodden titles. Some of the faster foxtrots throw enough 'bows for a Dropkick Murphys moshpit. "Soil of the Corpse" ends with Native American-like chanting, and "The Steel" rolls out the polka barrel, but mostly Korpiklaani sound like Gogol Bordello nowadays -- and prove even mead-and-mythology-marinated humppa-metal hobbits get hangovers now and then.
CHUCK EDDY