Sometimes I wonder what’s in the water here, or if it’s the cold and the darkness and the in general melancholic atmosphere, that makes metal bands thrive more than anywhere else in the world. Yes, Finland’s music scene is strong and there is many bands that present amazing songwriting and professionalism. In this case black metal act Paara presents us their new album “Riitti”, where they even improved their already strong debut. The songwriting is of high level, all the instruments and musicians involved in this album did their part to create an enthralling atmosphere. The guitars being melodic, progress in compelling riffs. From riff to riff the band drives the songs forward, with sometimes mesmerizing vocals and so many hooks and twists you can’t count them on both of your hands anymore.
What originally started out as a two-man project in 2011, with the idea of just composing music for themselves, Finnish black metal band Paara expanded into a band with a full lineup. After releasing their debut album “Yön Olevainen Puoli” in 2015, they raised (inter)national interest because of presence of Finnish special guests like Swallow The Sun, Moonsorrow, and Katatonia.
Much like “Yön Olevainen Puoli, “Riitti” only consists of four tracks, with a little over 40 minutes of playtime, the album leaves an impossibly great impression. The first track “Viimeinen Virta” managed to keep me fascinated from minute 1 up until the end of the song. As the song is 15 minutes, that means quite much.
The song takes surprising twists and turns and never bores and I would even dare to say that Paara does things here that are certainly not conventional. The amount of styles and details combined with one another are amazing and already at a first listen, I couldn’t wait to rewind the song to discover more and more of the so many layers put in. I can hear a trace of traditional black metal, folk metal, doom metal, avant garde, but also surprisingly even heavy metal. Usually when bands combine this many genres and depth into an album, something goes incredibly wrong, but this time around there is just something that makes it work, which shows me that the band is really talented and skillful.
The combinations are well balanced out and blend in very well. Before I was talking about mesmerizing vocals, it becomes more apparent what I mean in “Suon Sydän”, which progresses into yet another captivating song. It is hard for me to pick out which song I like most in the album, but the moment that sure got the most of my attention was the moment “Kuiskaus Pimeästä” kicked in. The song quickly then turns from dramatic and aggressive, to very atmospheric and melancholic in just a few seconds, making you wonder how they made such a wonderfully smooth transition.
“Yön Olevainen Puoli” was a great starting point, but “Riitti” shows an even more matured band. The complexity in the mixture between melancholic melodies and atmospheric raw black metal, is certainly worth the while listening to. The themes of this album have been revolving around Finnish stories of poltergeists, old rituals/incantations and myths/folktales. The fact that the songs are sung in Finnish, doesn’t matter to a perhaps international listener, it only builds up to the already fantastic atmosphere. So if you are a fan of contemporary black metal and you like to find something that is really progressive and even unique at its most, then give this album a go!
1. Viimeinen Virta
2. Hurmeen Hauta
3. Suon Sydän
4. Kuiskaus Pimeästä
Zvartus – guitars & vocals
Helmouth – vocals
Hahtezan – vocals
Lempo – guitars
Trangoth – bass
Waara – drums & percussions