It’s impressive how fresh Noita sounds. Korpiklaani have not really deviated hugely from their stylistic foundations, and now have enough albums under their belt (this is their ninth) that the Finns’ shtick could be wearing a little thin.
The reasons it still works so well are fairly straightforward, though: they’ve got better at it (both in songwriting and production terms) over time, and the inherent sense of fun is infectious. Noita picks up nicely from where last outing Manala left off, with a collection of pumping folk songs underpinned by crunching metal guitars, textured by fiddle and accordion and coloured by Jonne Järvelä’s instantly recognisable voice.
Yet again, Korpiklaani manage to sew all the components together without a weak stitch. The melodies are catchy and vivacious, the vocals articulate the mood (defiant, gleeful and slightly forlorn being the core facets) and the distorted power chords add chunky heft.
That trademark sense of fun is out front and centre, but the musical skill and textural depth (most obviously on the glorious Kylästä Keväinen Kehto, where the subtleties come out superbly) needed to sustain it beyond novelty are there in spades. Accessible but not superficial, Noita is still best enjoyed with beer./o:p