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Aardvark' - Tuntematon Sotilas CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.44 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Today is a major national celebration day in Finland, our independence day. One of its traditions (which I personally don't care about) is to watch from the TV the black & white film classic Tuntematon sotilas (=The Unknown Soldier) directed by Edwin Laine. It's based on Väinö Linna's famous war novel, fictional work about Finnish soldiers fighting against Russians in WW2. And this album is also an hommage to that book.

The 5-piece band AARDVARK' - which debuted in 2000 with an album I have never seen anywhere - were quite obscure during their existence, nor are the members' names familiar to me from other connections. The music is mostly instrumental, and it has a retro sound with organ and electric + acoustic guitars, and often a very tasty bass as Evolver points out. One could be fooled to believe this was released in mid-70's when bands like TABULA RASA, FANTASIA, NOVA, NIMBUS and KAAMOS were carrying the slowly dying torch of Finnish progressive rock. If it was, it would most likely be considered a classic Finn-prog album nowadays.

The sound is solid and bright, and the compositions have a lot of complex time signatures right out of the unwritten guide of prog composing, without getting very epic/symphonic though. Repetitious melodic structures sometimes remind me of (the early to mid-70's) CAMEL but in a harder-rocking format. The lyrics are in Finnish. Timo Arteli's tight, masculine and perhaps slightly stiff vocals also sound retroish somehow. It's fortunate the album is instrumentally oriented, I certainly prefer the instrumental tracks; especially the jazz-flavoured 10½-minute 'Ei taivahassa oo kuolonvaaraa, ei kyyneleitä, ei yötäkään' is gorgeous.

Surely not the most original, but shamefully forgotten and obscure band that still deserves to be listened to. 3½ stars.

Matti | 4/5 |


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