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Viima - Ajatuksia Maailman Laidalta CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.75 | 39 ratings

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4 stars One reason I tend to prefer prog from non Anglo countries is that I have a great love of world music and find that it often incorporates well into the bands from afar, at least from my perspective. Certainly this is not always the case, and sometimes only the vocals sound foreign, but, in Viima's debut, the influence of Finnish folk music on the overall symphonic sound is readily discernible. Excellent female vocals and classic progressive instrumentation including flute, along with some arrangements that make the hair stand on end, are everywhere on this album.

One comparison I can think of would be early Camel instrumentally, and there is certainly a Camel vibe throughout, both in guitars and organs. I had also heard comparisons to Mostly Autumn, but find Mikko Uusi-Oukari's guitar style a lot less diffuse than that of Bryan Josh, and the folk element of Vima is more sprinkled throughout the disk whereas with Mostly Autumn it tends to dominate or be virtually absent. I would expect that experts on the Nordic axis could cite others, although early White Willow did come to mind in a few places.

My favourite remains the opener, "Leijonan syksy", with its delicate pastoral theme on string sounding keys followed by a spiritual lead guitar solo being the absolute highlight. "Ajatuksia Maailman Laidalta" bares the Scandinavian roots a bit more, while "Meri" features more gorgeous lead guitar and keyboard interchanges with Päivi Kylmänen's singing the perfect compliment. "Luuttomat" starts off with vocals, flute and acoustic guitars not entirely unlike some of White Willow's early material but more overtly folky. These segments alternate brilliantly with a more ominous rhythmic guitar/saxophone theme. This album is not flawless, as "Illmalaiva Italia" shows a certain lack of maturity in its handling of shifting moods, and the closer "Johdatus" does drag a little, but even in the weaker moments, Viima shows that they have successfully incorporated ancient and modern themes into a distinctive style. Highly recommended.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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