Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

REVIEW: Rantama – Rantama

During the lonely lockdown days, one has had to find some wholesome ways to stay occupied. For me, this meant working through my list of the latest promising local bands. RANTAMA is one of those talented Finnish progressive rock bands I recently discovered through their self-titled full-length debut, released about three months ago, on 6 March 2020. The band is made up of four friends from Kuopio who bring us tales from the gloomy and desolate woodlands in their own original style.

This isn’t the first the world has heard from RANTAMA. Back in 2016, the same line-up – except for the vocalist (then called RANTAMA TRIO) – released an instrumental jazz album titled “Catching the Mystery Train.” These three nature-loving friends who grew up listening to their fathers’ records teamed up with vocalist Taavi Kiiskinen and “progged up” their sound. The style shift is undeniable, but so are the jazzy undertones, which are not totally lost in the mix. In particular, the two instrumental tracks on the album, “Ground Frost Forger” and “Splendid Sun,” are reminiscent of their past work. I am most pleasantly surprised, however, by how well their prog-oriented direction played out.

“Bird Nest” is a straightforward opener, leaving no doubts about RANTAMA‘s jazzy intentions and skilled musicianship. In “Roaring Rapids” the band declares their love for nature; in the music video, we journey through the four seasons of the simply breathtaking Finnish wilderness, accompanied by the band’s fitting tunes. The guitar solo at the end of “Dying Star” proves what a gifted guitarist Timo Rantama really is, and this track also showcases how the addition of vocalist Taavi Kiiskinen has definitely not been in vain. The first of the instrumental tracks, “Ground Frost Forger,” has an ambient intro followed by a groovy, romantic melody that makes me want to snap my fingers to it. “Splendid Sun” is the rain to the previous track’s sun, a short, moody piece for when you need to do some introspection.

Moving on to more progressive territory, the atmosphere of “We Are” is one of the new directions RANTAMA has taken. Easily the most versatile track on the album, the melody and vocals charm the listener into pushing the repeat button. The following energetic “A Small Blink of Light” makes you realize there isn’t a dull moment to spare here – a rocking job well done. The 10-minute closer, “The Pond of No Return,” is an impressive work of art that paints a picture I can dream away to in these quarantine days. This album is the right kind of hybrid between complex instrumentation and jazzy eclecticism, with a healthy dose of catchiness. Warmly recommended!

Written by Jana De Boeck

Tracklist

  1. Bird Nest
  2. Roaring Rapids
  3. Dying Star
  4. Ground Frost Forger
  5. Splendid Sun
  6. We Are
  7. A Small Blink of Light
  8. The Pond of No Return

Lineup

Timo Rantama – Guitar, keys
Tatu Back – Bass
Iiro Laitinen – Drums
Taavi Kiiskinen – Vocals

Label

Independent

Links

https://www.rantamaofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/rantamaband/
https://www.instagram.com/rantamaofficial/

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