“Vastavirtaan” is the third album from the from Uusimaa hailing rock band Valonkantajat. I had not heard about the band beforehand, so this is the first time listening to their music. There have been some lineup changes in this album, Alexander Kuoppala (ex-Children of Bodom) has joined the ranks now as guitarist.
Upon contacting me for a review, I was told how the lyrics are such an important part of the songs and there seemed to be a concern if I would understand them as a non-native Finnish speaker. To me it is clear that Valonkantajat have more to offer than just good, coherent songs, what they actually do is delivering stories and their storytelling is top-notch. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that someone who doesn’t understand Finnish at all wouldn’t be able to get the message or wouldn’t be able to enjoy the songs as much. Because the stories are not only in the lyrics, they’re in everything that Valonkantajat offers: strong melodies, emotional and melancholic songs.
When the album arrived to my apartment, I first of all couldn’t stop staring at the beautiful artwork that flaunts of the cover, which in my opinion is also part of the storytelling and fits perfectly with the album.
The opening track of the album “Loppusuora” is already proof of a song like that. With its catchy melody, it marks a great start for the album. “Katso Maailmaa, Se Palaa” is heavier in its premises, a strong interesting riff guides Jarkko Nikkilä‘s voice through the song. The lead guitars get a bigger role towards the end of the song and it all builds up pretty nicely and consistently. “Vastaanvirta” starts off very rhythmic and offers a nice guitar solo. This track is definitely the highlight of this album, especially the bridge in this song shows musicianship, the build up to the chorus is great.
Another highlight of the album is “Kylmyys,” which starts of with an incredibly nice and soft guitar intro. In this song you can hear especially how Nikkilä‘s voice is really emotive and beautiful. The fact that he is joined by female vocals, builds up a beautiful atmosphere and even gave me shivers (which is also fits the content of the song and is story perfectly). In general the album gives us great choruses, a lot of interesting melodies and hooks, great lead guitars, which is clear in “Valmis Lähtemään” and “Ruosteinen Kuu”. Heavier songs are not ruled out either “Pelon Valtakunta” is proof of that. “Pelon Valtakunta” thus shows a different side of the band, without us not recognizing it’s Valonkantajat. Even if they make a surprising song that is different than the rest, we can still hear their own mark in it.
This album definitely is a great rock album. So if you like Finnish rock songs and you are on for a challenge try and listen to this album. The production of this album is great, the songs are coherent and interesting and there is no real reason that a language barrier should stop you ever from listening to music.
- Katso maailmaa, se palaa
- Se mitä luulit onnen vastineeksi
- Valmis lähtemään
- Ruosteinen kuu
- Pelon valtakunta
- Sumujen harso
Jarkko Nikkilä – vocals, guitar
Alexander Kuoppala – guitar
Juha Korpinen – drums
Ilari Kauppi – bass, backing vocals