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Hiidensointi - Ovia ja Aikoja CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

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4 stars Hiidensointi is a relatively new Finnish prog band with female lead vocals and some flavour of Kalevala-ish folklore in the lyrics. Ovia ja Aikoja ("Doors and Times") is their second album. BTW, I really like the cover art by Petri Aarnio. The music, composed by the guitarist (or multi-instrumentalist) Petri Koivistoinen, is dynamic, sometimes edgy and approaching heaviness in the guitar parts, but to my delight not exactly heavy. Violin played by a guest musician on some tracks brings more folk-prog tones that exist in compositions too. Rhythmic complexity and changes in tempo within a song is common on international eclectic prog scene, but it is especially the vocals that make this band sound very Finnish. One album close in spirit is VIIMA's Ajatuksia maailman laidalta (2006).

Nina Hiironiemi has a clean and strong voice, the articulation is clear like in poetic, vocal-oriented music (I'm meaning "laulelmamusiikki" in Finnish; in fact one track, 'Lemminkäisen äiti', is based on a poem by Eino Leino) but I could easily imagine her in e.g. prog metal environment too. The band sound is meaty featuring both modern hi-fi studio work and vintage elements such as organ, plus the mentioned folk touch. Most tracks are pretty good, but - at least according to my earliest impressions - they do not stand out easily from one another. I would have welcomed some more variety in the arrangements or in the compositions. The closer 'Oodi' is the calmest and probably my favourite.

A very well done album technically, and I'd probably enjoy seeing the band in a concert. It's hard yet to say will this CD be a grower for me or will it enter very rarely to my player. Also I'm uncertain could I call it emotionally strong or not. Strong, yes, but for some reason I'm not totally taken by this music. 3½ stars; instead of rounding it down to go with the description of "Good, but non-essential" what would actually fit literally, let's make it four. I'm hoping to hear more of them.

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Posted Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | Review Permalink

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