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Haikara - Tuhkamaa CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.78 | 23 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The classic Finnish prog band HAIKARA collapsed in the mid-70's after serious struggles in the changing musical climate. The very uneven third album Iso Lintu (1975) is marred by the pressures to be more commercial, and in 1976 the final single by a different line-up was plainly oriented towards funk. Two decades later several coincidences led Vesa Lattunen to reform his group, and in 1998 came out the comeback album Haikara IV: Domino. The instrumentally oriented, melodic album is fairly pleasant but considered rather mild by many listeners.

Tuhkamaa (= Ashland) was finally released by the Italian label Mellow Records two years after the recording. That tells a lot about the total lack of faith in progressive rock among the Finnish companies at the time. Visually this 37-minute release looks very cheap but musically it is stronger than Domino. The sound, coloured by cello and saxophone, is darker and more intense, thus coming a little closer to the early classic Haikara. Despite its name, 'Hymni' is a surprisingly intense instrumental, comparable to 'Kosovo' in which the march rhythm underlines the reference to the troubles in Eastern Europe.

The powerful 'Tuhkamaa' and 'Klovni' are the best of the vocal compositions, but Lattunen still was very a mediocre vocalist. It really makes me wonder why the female member Saara Hedlund didn't get a bigger role on this album! She sings the uplifting final track 'Oodi'. Quite far from being a masterpiece, Tuhkamaa is a noteworthy album of an old warhorse, but without a question the slow rise of Finnish prog was on the hands of the new generation, bands such as Uzva, Groovector, Moon Fog Prophet/Kuusumun Profeetta and Magyar Posse.

Haikara also participated to the earliest Colossus projects (Tuonen Tytär, 2000, Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock epic, 2002, and The Spaghetti Epic, 2004) and showed very promising signs of improving further their style found on Tuhkamaa, but Lattunen's death in 2005 marked the end of the Haikara story.

Matti | 4/5 |


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