This is, unbelievably, KORPIKLAANI's eighth album since the debut surfaced in 2003, and that means that these Finns have written almost 100 songs in less than 10 years about boozey debauchery in the forest, a pastime that, apparently, has way more followers than you (or I) could have imagined. Then again, the group's raucous beers-held-high ethos surely has a much wider appeal than the woods, and the sheer joy that is experienced at a folk-metal show is measurable by the spilled drinks coating the venue’s floor and the smiles that are everywhere, all the time, in the pit. As has become par for the Korpi course, Manala begins with a rousing anthem that is, literally, a tough act to follow; we're happy to report that Manala opener 'Kunnia' now joins the approaching legendary legion of 'Tapporauta', 'Happy Little Boozer', 'Let's Drink', 'Cottages and Saunas' (which sounds like a metalized ad for Muskoka, Ontario), 'Vodka' and 'Louhen Yhdeksas Poika', which, when you look at those songs in list form, reads like a Korpiklaani best of comp that is likely to materialize at some point, somewhere. Though Manala is by no means a sell-out effort of any kind, it still solidifies Korpiklaani's recent apparent objective of becoming an all-around listenable metal band, the collective by no means abandoning the folk elements (Jonne Jarvela knows what pays the bills, and good on him for the realization) but stepping up to the plate full of spit-fire bison and crafting complete and well-rounded albums that are, despite the insane amount of output since '03, exceptionally written and executed. Where does Korpiklaani find the time to refine their wares to this distilled level? Admittedly, folk-metal is not a favorite of mine but, along with FINNTROLL (and there, ladies and gents, is your mandatory Finntroll reference in a Korpiklaani review) and FINSTERFORST, Korpiklaani writes lucid and eyes-wide-open anthems that have their time and place and, most importantly, know that fact very well.