Alamaailman Vasarat - Huuro Kolkko

9 songs
39:49 minutes
***** ***
Nordic Notes


Huuro Kolkko is the fifth studio album by this Finnish band with the nearly unpronounceable name Alamaailman Vasarat, which means Hellhammer. They have nothing to do with black metal though, but use clarinets, saxophones, trombones, tubas, organs and cellos to investigate a folkier sound.

Even though Alamaailman Vasarat are an instrumental band, Huuro Kolkko is a concept album about a Finnish explorer and adventurer who was quite active in the early 1900s.

From a musical perspective, Alamaailman Vasarat create a journey which is hard to access, which makes out their peculiar charm. The songs rarely follow a regular pattern, and that’s why it doesn’t surprise that some tracks were recorded entirely live, while others come without any folk elements. Folk constitutes the scaffolding of their sound, but expect much more. The cello adds a monotonous touch that has something quite hypnotic. The strings are plucked in a way that sounds jazzy at times. The flutes procure an oriental atmosphere, and even gypsy elements show up from time to time. The quiet piano passages should even warm the hearts of fans of classical music.

The songs always contain more than just one idea. There are lots of breaks that flow seamlessly into succeeding parts. This can best be heard on Tujuhuju that starts out fast, inviting to dance. Getting more hectic by the moment, it finds a surprisingly dark end after five minutes. Unexpected changes like this happen quite often, but should be discovered by the listeners themselves, which is why I won’t reveal to much now.

Friends of contemporary music will have a great time with Huuro Kolkko. This is an album unsuited to be listened to absent-mindedly, but if you’re willing to invest time and concentration, you will get your just reward.

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