Alamaailman Vasarat - Valta

9 songs
40:21 minutes
***** ***
Nordic Notes


Finnish is quite an obscure tongue for the majority of people with an Indo-European language. Alamaailman Vasarat for instance stands for Hell Hammer. The band has no black metal background though, but rather experiments with folk, jazz and ethnic music. Their arsenal of instruments is also quite unusual: clarinet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, organ and cello!

Three years after their last album Huuro Kolkko, they are back with their sixth studio record Valta, for once an easy title to remember. Like in the past, there are no vocals present. The nine instrumentals are testing different waters, with the idea that every track should sound like a film soundtrack. Some pieces remind of Balkan fanfares, full of speed and momentum. But there are also quieter selections with oriental influences. Even Jewish Klezmer sounds can be found within this sonic melting pot. Whenever the cello comes to play, things turn out to be hectic and powerful. Especially the exhilarating Väärä Käärme made me think of Apocalyptica. One of the band’s biggest influences must be Frank Zappa. Consequently Alamaailman Vasarat dare to flirt with the avant-garde and manage to come up with sounds that are very close to those of the late master.

Usually I am not overly fond of instrumental albums, but Alamaailman Vasarat are able, unlike for instance many post rock bands, to surprise with unexpectedness. They are definitely a very challenging band, but also quite rewarding. Friends of contemporary music will have a great time with Valta.

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