This band was formed by former members of the Finnish avant-rock group Hoyry-Kone. Unlike that band these guys are purely instrumental and not as electric or electronic. This is their latest album and only full album I have heard from them. I pre-ordered my copy and am still waiting for it weeks later; supposedly it has not reached North America yet. Thanks to the Progstreaming website I was able to do this review and notice this album in the first place. Having not heard a full album, I had still heard many songs by this group. From what I have read this isn’t too much of a departure from what they have done previously, and if anything is more concise and accessible to what they were doing before.
I’m not a Finnish speaker so I like to call these guys ‘Allah Mailman Vasarat’. The name means “hammers of the underworld” and would be a great name for a metal band. Oddly enough, some of this band’s music sounds like metal…without a guitar! They use instruments such as sax, tuba and cello put through effects units to make them sound like distorted guitars. Their music is sometimes compared to klezmer, which the bandmembers claim they have no knowledge of. Instead they call their music “fictional folk music”. You can detect influences from Eastern European folk music and Latin American music as well as metal. The music can be light and easy-going or more intense and metallic sounding. Some of the songs are more ‘folk’ sounding while others have more of a ‘rock’ feel.
AV have been around for 15 years but the only thing that has really changed is that they have a new drummer. The drumming never really stands out but the music would sound a lot different without it; less ‘rock’ sounding anyway. “Hajakas” is one of the more interesting tracks. It changes a bit but has a nice flow from section to section. Some of the best melodies on the album, the main one being some kind of klezmer-punk. “Norsuvaljakko” is a highlight. I like how the drummer flawlessly switches from a disco beat to a more swinging rock beat and back. The cello(?) here sounds like a monster. One of my favourite parts of the album is towards the end of “Haudankantaja” with some trumpet or trombone playing that sounds like it came from out of some old Western movie.
“Uurnilla” sounds different from the rest of the album. A very somber and moody chamber piece. Almost sounds like music from the pre-WW2 era. Another difference is the prominence of piano here. In contrast to the previous song, “Hirmuhallinto” is the most metal sounding on the album. Love the sludge metal riff here. You hear sounds of water drops as the music dies down slowly. Great way to close the album. If you have an appetite for classical-metal-klezmer-folk-rock this may be for you. Valta means “power” in Finnish and this album has some powerful music on it. Great sound, well played music full of great melodies and rhythms.
6. Luu Messingillä
7. Väärä Käärme
* Jarno Sarkula – saxophones, clarinets and tuba
* Erno Haukkala – trombone, brass
* Miikka Huttunen – pump organ, grand piano
* Tuukka Helminen – cello
* Marko Manninen – cello, theremin
* Santeri Saksala – drums, percussion