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Alamaailman Vasarat - Kinaporin Kalifaatti (with Tuomari Nurmio) CD (album) cover


Alamaailman Vasarat



2.81 | 18 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Kinaporin Kalifaatti [2005]

Rating: 4/10

Kinaporin Kalifaatti is an unusual piece of Alamaailman Vasarat's discography. AV are known for playing super-charged klezmer with strong metal and jazz influences. On this album, however, the band eschews this style in favor of an experimental-rock style that's hard to precisely pinpoint. The most apparent stylistic diversion here is the fact that the music is no longer instrumental; vocalist Tuomari Nurmio has been added into the mix. This man's voice has a gruff timbre that reminds me of a Finnish Tom Waits. His vocals carry the majority of these tracks, with AV's zany instrumentation acting more as a back-up than a driving musical force. Needless to say, this a radical departure from AV's other material. Normally, I would consider this to be a good thing; I am always in favor of artists expanding and updating their musical horizons. However, the music presented on Kinaporin Kalifaatti fails, particularly in comparison to the band's other albums. These tracks blend into one other, turning the album into a mishmash of jazzy ethnic rock.

The opener "Kolmannen Linjan Mona Lisa" is one of the stronger tracks on the album. The brass creates a pulsating bass presence, and the vocals are memorable. "Ripystynyt Profeetta" is an uninteresting organ-driven slow rock song. As the title suggests, "Arabian Kuu" features some cool Middle-Eastern sounds. It's nothing special otherwise. "Karavaani Kulkee" has a decent chorus, but this doesn't help me shake the album's overwhelming feeling of sameness. The infectious fast pace of "Kuvernoorin Tytar" makes it a minor success. "Paaton Venus" is virtually indistinguishable from many other tracks here. "Riivattu" is a highlight. The twanging acoustic guitar and deep brass create an interesting contrast. "Laulu no. 101" would be dull were it not for the strong cello playing and the neat organ solo. The main motif of "Lemmen Jumalatar" is quite catchy, but this isn't enough to make the track particularly excellent. The same thing can be said of "Hoyhensarjan Maailmanmestari." The wonderful main theme of "Paavi Roskapankissa", however, allows the album to end on a high note.

It hurts to give such a low rating to such an excellent band, but it's almost hard to believe that this is the same band that made great albums like Kaarmelautakunta and Maahan. Everything that AV does right is conspicuously absent here; everything is toned down to compensate for the vocally-driven sound. However, I will admit the possibly that a language barrier could be a factor in my rating. If Tuomari Nurmio is as much like Tom Waits as his voice makes him sound, it is a distinct possibly that his music is lyrically-driven. Unfortunately, the Finnish tongue is absolutely lost on this American reviewer. Still, even on the off-chance that this album is indeed lyrically fascinating, good lyrics are not enough to carry a music album. I applaud AV for trying something new, but Kinaporin Kalifaatti is a boring record that I am simply unable to get excited about. This is a divergence from AV's normal sound, but it is a black sheep rather than a shining star.

Anthony H. | 2/5 |


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