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Alamaailman Vasarat


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Alamaailman Vasarat Maahan album cover
3.92 | 104 ratings | 10 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Maahan (0:58)
2. Kyyhylly (3:40)
3. Helmi otsalla (3:36)
4. Luiden valossa, naapurin talossa (3:40)
5. Huikeuden lieriö (3:53)
6. Eläimet huutaa (5:56)
7. Lumeen nukkuneet (5:29)
8. Katkorapu (4:24)
9. Käärme toi ruton kaupunkiin (3:24)
10. Rooman ruumiit (3:41)
11. Elukka (1:15)
12. Coro a bocca chiusa (2:57)
(Japan release bonus track)

Total Time: 42:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Jarno Sarkula / saxes, clarinets & other woodwinds
- Erno Haukkala / trombone, tuba, piccolo trombone
- Miikka Huttunen / pump organ, grand piano, keyboards
- Tuukka Helminen / cello
- Marko Manninen / cello
- Teemu Hänninen / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Wolfgang Records - 2007
CD Besection (Japan) - 2007

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Maahan ratings distribution

(104 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Only third review and the first one from a Collaborator (Prog Reviewer actually :) ). Are we sleeping?

It was an experiment. I'm still afraid to recommend it, though I liked it immensly. I ain't Avant devotee, and getting all three studio albums by Hammers of the Underground (or how do they call themselves?) is a huge risk. I began with "Maahan", and the following two simple became pale on further listenings! "Maahan" is like Emir Custurica band plays "Jack the Ripper" from UNIVERS ZERO but hundred times faster!!! Unusually dark mood fills klezmer and polka tunes here, cellos on fuzz rock more than overdriven guitars ever could, and the whole atmosphere of cheerful insanity is pretty unique (probably due to my little experience in Avant realm...or AV are REALLY exceptional!). Balkanian funeral, this is it. And the most frightening thing is that these guys are from Finland! What then? Siberian metalheads playing samba and salsa? This globalisation has gone too far dude :)))

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
4 stars Alamaailman Vasarat are back...and with power.

Of all the AV albums, this one takes the cake for heaviness. Maahan is a bit less folky and a bit more metal/avanty...which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, one thing they do not dispose of is their energy. Even on songs that are slower and more avant- garde than rock, there is still a feeling the riverbed under the water moving, so to speak. This is perhaps one of my favorite things about The Hammers. They constantly change, to bring something new to the table while keeping everything under the Avant-Jazz- gypsy-RIO that they are now undeniable experts at.

As I've stated eariler, this is their heaviest work to date. Songs like Kyyhylly, Helmi Otsalla, and Huikeuden Lierio can move the earth when being blasted out of your speakers. However, there is a balance with quieter, more avant-garde styled songs (in a way that is similar to their debut album). These songs just to show that AV are no one trick pony, and have improved their song writing throughout the years. Elaimet Huutaa gives an almost dream like quality to the first part of the song before a more upbeat folky circus like theme. This song continues to contort its way through until it reaches an even bizarrer ending. Lumeen Nukkuneet follows in the endings haughting footsteps and sets an uncomfortable mood for the next five minutes. Its a brooding ride down into the depths of their underworld.

All in all, this is one hell of an album, and one of the best to come out of 2007. Needless to say, the musicianship is top notch, and I believe that their song writing ability has gotten better. Songs like the above show they are not afraid to add new things to the mix, while songs like Katkorapu and Kaarme Toi Ruton Kaupunkiin show that they still have the raw insanity from their previous albums. In this way, they are progressing from record to record, which make them one of the true progressive bands around now-a-days. While I don't enjoy this album as much as their second it is very exciting to listen to and provides an ever thrilling ride. There is also much to discover here, thus there is a lot to sustain on repeated listens. Recommended.

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As of 2007, we have a fourth studio album from the Höyny Kone off-shot that made it tremendously big, we have another coup of avant-esque music from this strange yet stunning Finnish group that constantly came with something else than homeland Sibelusian, mystic, aurorally intense specialties, leaning rather on Balkan folk, Klezmer music or Gypsy rock. Here's Maahan, an album that's Alamaailman Vasarat's factual return to form, after 2003's Käärmelautakunta, seeming to be as much of a top spinner as the 2003 effort.

Persisting a bit more on the Maahan-Käärmelautakunta relation, it is for some strange reason that I considered AV to have sorted out a weaker instrumental range and peculiarness than before; not true however, as we're still talking heavy brass music, the grave sound of the tuba being even more fastidious here than anywhere else, because it gives you utter chills, plus has a hard to achieve technique. The sax and the trombone rule out, and Hänninen's drumming speaks its own weirdness or agitation. Less forward, but more experimental are clarinets, "other woodwinds" or even the cello!

The particular disappointment would be that, overall, the drug for Maahan was set on heaviness, a royal of Eastern dances and traditional-induced rhythms, dynamic explosions that weight more than you can carry, with a contrast of slower or experimental (even rock, but rare) bits. What's the actual disappointment in this? The appetite for fast, tapping or crushingly avant-esque rhythms and heaps, whilst in anything prior to this there was still more art and intricacy - Maahan is remarkably played, vividly imagined and tastefully listenable, but more shallow on attaining something truly special. If one remembers the dashing Lentävä Mato from Käärmelautakunta, that album's sole high-adrenaline/cheap-profoundness dance (think it as a folk word, of course), a lot of short aromas from Maahan are of the same calibre. The dynamite explodes, the fireworks are splendid, but the mood is just casually contented. This is what Maahan lacks.

Judged in a different way, this album is mostly an avant-heavy show, avant being the basic ingredient regardless of the prime Eastern influences (not so much because of professional personal interpretations, but because of the mood, the deciphered style of each bit and everything altogether), while heavy, previously regarded as pure metal, is now more relaxed, but still plugged to enough power as to put current through your veins. There are crazy moments when you can't stay put, loud and fast excerpts like these are half a delicacy, half AV's currently profound spirit. In less exacerbated moments, the band chips a bit of experimentalism, of heterogeneous sounds & samples. I truly feel jazz isn't at the core of some fisting improvisations, instead there's a bit of funk added to the taste, without alternating the whole dish.

As length and size, AV keep it short and casual as always, but even if Maahan is their shortest album up to date only by a minute or so, it's the substance that counts more, and here there isn't much to be crazy about, as we're talking a slim work, out of which multiple pieces can be your favourite without striking an essential cord. I won't go again over what I've mentioned as disappointing, fact is this creative and interesting experience is also split in sequences. I'm even set on describing three major parts Maahan would be split into, excepting the much obvious and very ceremonial prologue, just like the very filler-esque Elukka: the first, from Kyyhylly to Huikeuden lieriö, straps you heavily and parties ravishingly, except for the dark Luiden valossa...; the middle part of the album is also the best, topping with a funeral/weeping tune that's beautiful and surprising, Luumen Nukkuneet; meanwhile the last part has a great avant track in Katkorapu, but slightly mellows with the shallow, wobbling Käärme toi ruton kaupunkiin and with the rock-funkier (at least by its first minute) Rooman ruumiit, that goes back to brassing too late in order to be considered that good any longer. Still, even with only the central pieces being truly worthwhile, Maahan still turns up to be a wildly achieved work.

Jammed to 3.5 stars, I could upset spirits by choosing to go low with the rating, but overall what I've said is a simple matter of taste: the fireworks could count, in real time, the most, and they're nothing short of dynamic, fun, saucerful and highly enjoyable. So Maahan is a fair success, a must for AV's long-term fans, and I'll personally head to the rest that was made by this band, one that impressed me more than I could have imagined.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

After the temporary collaboration with local folk hero Tuomari Nurinio, AV resumes their discography with their third album, which finds a Silence label release (it wasn't so with that collaboration), but this time, not in digipack and with very bright red colours showing the right ear of each of the six members. So aside the unusual package (there s a wink on the back cover to Kaarmelautakunta with what's become AV's double hammer logo), the least we can say about Maahan is: back to business as usual.

Out of nowhere we get this now familiar Jazz Manouche (Gypsy Jazz) so close to Eastern European folklore mixed with these amazing cellos that try to reiterate what they had done on Kaarmelautakunta, but only partly succeeding so. So we get nothing new under the sun out of this latest AV album, but at least we get in large amount and impeccably played. The two wind players Saarkula and Haukala are their usual selves, blowing their lungs out, crying out Eastern European Jewish and Gypsy painful memories and joys. The cello duet of Helminen and Maninnen is still the base, the heartbeat and much of the rhythm of the group, but often offering the most poignant and gloomy moments in AV's soundscapes. Too bad they're not a little more present on this album. As for Huttunen on keys and Haninen on drums, they are often the star of the show, especially the latter and his manic frantic playing.

So if you liked their first two albums, and less their collaborative effort with Nurinio, the good news is that AV's third album should please you a lot. The lesser good news is that they fail to match the absolute craziness of the second Kaarmelautakunka album, but Maahan remains a worthy album. On the downside, I was hoping they would progress experimentally a little more with this one, but hopefully this will happen with their next one.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is such an interesting recording. I don't know their earlier stuff but Brandon from "Ground & Sky" says "If you enjoyed the first two albums you are likely to find much to like here. If anything the compositions are more concise and hard hitting...". What I find interesting is that there is no lead guitar or bass guitar on this album, instead we get dual cellos that just rip it up like the guitar normally would, and this growly bass clarinet in place of the bass guitar. Lots of horns and drum work as well. This album kicks some serious butt at times and of course it's a little crazy, in fact if I wasn't giving it my full attention I found it quite annoying. Very cool album cover by the way. I like that it clocks in at just under 40 minutes as well.

"Maahan" is the 1 minute horn intro. "Kyyhylli" opens with heavy drums then it settles with bass clarinet as other horns come in. "Helmi Otsalla" is very uptempo with a full sound. "Luiden Valossa, Naapurin Talossa" is a top three for me. It opens with drums, piano and other sounds. It kicks in with a great sound then settles again. Lots of bass sounds here. Contrasts continue. Another top three is "Huikeuden Lierio" which opens sounding very much like the band AREA. Drums join in then it settles with piano a minute in. It kicks back in with bass clarinet. Amazing ! Contrasts continue.

"Elaimet Huutaa" is led by slow moving cellos until the tempo picks up and the sound gets fuller before 2 minutes. Horns are just a blasting at one point. The tempo continues to change.It's pretty intense 4 minutes in. Cool sounds end it. I don't know what they are though. "Lumeen Nukkuneet" has this haunting atmosphere with piano. Then we start to get this slow rhythm the rest of the way. "Kattkorapu" features heavy drums, bass clarinet and horns. What a great song. "Kaarme Toi Ruton Kaupunkiin" has these horns and drums leading the way as cellos come and go. "Rooman Ruumiit" is the final top three tune for me. This is heavy duty. This is a beast ! Drums, cellos and bass clarinet bring the heat. The final song is "Elukka" features a slow moving melody with growly bass clarinet.

Certainly not for everyone but this is unique enough and hard hitting enough that I have to give it 4 stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Really nice Finnish band's album! Reeds,strings,distorted organ,grand piano and percussion play hot mix of Balkan/Gypsy folk and chamber music!

I listened tones of Balkan tunes (in original versions) few years, and even there are not too big difference in melodies and single songs, very energetic and hot dance-able rhythms and high emotional level always catch me every time I just hear first hordes. Another thing, that there are few tricks in musicianship, and you will hardly find something new after you heard dozen of songs.

Using of Balkan/Gypsy folklore as component in more complex music is old trick, and theer are many original Balkan jazz bands using it. Some last years such move became more popular between some Nordic bands. AA is one of them, and possibly one between best known.

Great thing is Balkan folk element doesn't dominate there in their music, and chamber rock (with zeihlish flavor in a moments) is great another ingredient to make the sound well balanced. As a result, Balkanika doesn't sound there as somewhere in the Guča pipes fest in Eastern Serbia, and strings/reeds are not such dry and cold as often.

The only thing I missed there is better compositions - musical components and musicianship level are both great, but compositions are often too faceless and remind Balkan/chamber jamming. Still easy accessible and pleasant to listen album, not too essential though.

Review by Matti
3 stars Alamaailman Vasarat ( = Hammers of the Underworld) is an instrumental descendant of the 90's legendary Finnish RIO group HÖYRY-KONE, which featured the internationally established tenor Topi Lehtipuu as their vocalist. The strange, loonie music of AV is well described here by much more advanced listeners of RIO/Avant Prog than me. In fact I'm now listening to this band for the first time. I know some of you don't give much value to first impressions, but you're free to ignore my review; there are better ones on this and other albums by this band, I guarantee.

The instrumentation is very unconventional: a couple of cellos (or is the plural form celli?), piano, pump organ, melodica, trombone, slide trumpet, saxes and other wind instruments, and percussion. No guitars, not even bass guitar, nor synths. This is like an idiot bastard son of Klezmer (the Zappa pun intended). The tempo is often high and the atmosphere circus-like, but that's not the whole story. There are a lot of odd time signatures, and the dynamics between instruments are variating heavily even within tracks. To me it's exactly those slower, less frenzy moments approaching chamber music that save this music from being an exhausting listening experience; when the brass is silenced and perhaps the grand piano takes the attention.

In addition to Klezmer, circus/ revue music and chamber music, this brave mix includes also elements of heavy rock and jazz. Track titles, as well as the music itself, are filled with humorous aspect. Of newer Finnish artists I have met similar spirit in the two albums of UTOPIANISTI (which is more clearly in the Fusion genre). Translation attempts wouldn't do any justice to titles with witty wordplay such as 'Katkorapu' or 'Kyyhylly'. The latter would literally mean a viper shelf, but it naturally is a twist from kuuhullu, moonstruck.

I can't (yet) evaluate this album against AV's other output, but it's obvious that if you're good friends with hilariously crazy instrumental stuff drawing influence from several genres, ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT is worth checking out.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The very first Rio/Avant album I ever had the great pleasure to listen to was Maahan by Alamaailman Vasarat's, this of course opened up a whole new world of music to me. This album was later followed by Höyry-Kone's Huono Parturi and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's Of Natural History which to me ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#138722) | Posted by rambaron | Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best albums of 2007, the best album by Alamaailman Vasarat. A whole array of different genres, all have extremely solid hooks and instrumentation, no sleeper songs on this at all. Very strong album. Maahan proves that you don't need guitars to make even the heaviest of metal fall to ... (read more)

Report this review (#129959) | Posted by mecca | Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The waiting is finally over. The new Alamaailman Vasarat album's unbeliveable ! After the "Kinaporin Experience" the band come back, with joy, to her sound. Excellent mix of Klezmer, folk, chamber music and, of course, progressive rock. Personnaly better than Käärmelautakunta and Vasaarasia, t ... (read more)

Report this review (#121586) | Posted by Koenji | Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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