AJATTARA, founded in the mid ’90s in Helsinki is, in my opinion, one of the most innovative bands in the Finnish black metal scene: lots of groovy and death-doom vibes are present in their albums, and even an acoustic one such as “Noitumaa,” released in 2009, proves how unconventional the act can be; it’s worth mentioning the Christmas compilation album released the same year, “Joululevy,” which sees Mynni Luukkainen on guitar as a new member in the line-up, and clearly proves how self-irony and typical Finnish humor do not have any negative impact on the band’s credibility and creativity. The following release, entitled “Murhat” – Finnish for “murders” – out on February 2nd, 2011, via Osasto-A Records (the label founded by MC Raaka Pee, frontman of TURMION KÄTILÖT) sounds less experimental than “Noitumaa” but still quite different compared to the previous records of the band.
The opening song, “Kunnes Taivas Meidät Erottaa” is astonishing due to a smart use of contrasts in terms of sound: violent vibes provided by blast-beats find an interesting counterpart in a grunge-like chorus that anyone can easily sing along to: Pasi Koskinen’s clean vocals are still one of the features that make this band absolutely unique.
“Ihmisen Luku” is strongly reminiscent of PANTERA’s drummer’s trademark style done in a doom-death interpretation when it comes to the general aggressive feeling of the tune as a whole. In the third tune, “ H.A.I.” (which is an acronym for “Humanus Arma Invictus”) the doom and slow features of AJATTARA’s sound get emphasized, while the following song, “Aura,” has a faster pace and a vaguely alternative metal and middle Eastern feeling that makes it quite different and somewhat weird due to the peculiar rawness of Koskinen’s voiceprint.
“Sokea Liha,” probably the most complex song on this album, has a dominant thrash metal vibe in the beginning, while it shows a change of pace and atmosphere in the final part, in order to go back to a headbanging-inducing pace in the outro. The following track is “Routalempi,” in which the variety of the vocal sounds surely gives an extra kick, while the structure of the song ends up being quite elaborate and somewhat experimental.
“Murheiden Kilta,” shows a particularly brutal vibe, both in terms of the drumwork and in the use of vocals, while a catchy and thrashy guitar riff takes over on the following tune, “Apilas.” “Veljet,” the last song on this album, shows a slightly slower pace but also hypnotic drum-work, strengthened by a serrated rhythmicity in the lyrics during the chorus.
AJATTARA’s seventh studio album is, all-in-all, a good piece of work, able to give a pretty clear idea of the band’s personality with regard to a very specific trademark sound, weird and multiple influences and contamination, and a certain – in a good way – straightforwardness in terms of attitude.
Written by Licia Mapelli
- Kunnes Taivas Meidät Erottaa
- Ihmisen Luku
- H. A. I.
- Sokea Liha
- Murheiden Kilta
Ruoja – vocals
Kalmos – guitars, backing vocals
Tartunta – guitars
Tohtori Kuolio – bass, backing vocals
Raajat – keyboards, backing vocals
Malakias IV – drums