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Nurkostam XIII album cover
2.89 | 16 ratings | 15 reviews | 6% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Iscream (2:59)
2. Dome (5:56)
3. Alone (4:47)
4. Between (7:14)
5. Madness (2:50)
6. Archie (7:44)

Total Time 31:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Tero Koski
- Toni Nurmi
- Janne Tamminen

Releases information

Self-released, downloadable upon iTunes Store (2005)


NURKOSTAM XIII ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (56%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
2 stars NURKOSTAM are a Finnish rock project around three founders Toni NURMI, Tero KOSKI, and Janne TAMMINEN, mainly influenced by Genesis' theatricality, King Crimson's experimental literature, Pink Floyd's space rock, and Yes' careful complexity, and Wigwam the Finnish Rock Giant. And as you hope, they can invite some eclecticism and break it into fragments in their soundscape.

Listened to their album "XIII" and been beaten soundly by the first track "Iscream", sparkling in complex and lyrical sounds that can remind us something close to the atmosphere around King Crimson. Trembling heavy dark shower of sound bullets shot via three rock launchers is very tremendous for proggers. Two songs following the first are very poppy and cannot ring my bells, though. The fourth "Between", a keyboard-solo-based tune can notify us that they might have tried to follow Genesis Theatre ... as if their voices and whispers should be possessed by Ghost of Gabriel. Very mellow and dramatic progression, we can be immersed into. Next "Madness", the same keyboard flavour added, is very serious and critical on the contrary. Tastes bitter and dangerous, no matter what happened around the three gangsters. The last "Archie" is very sticky and slimy psychedelia, where they all exerted powers of perverse persuasion ... not be seen, not be heard anywhere, so impressive.

In conclusion, for me "XIII" is a good album indeed, but sadly not so united as a progressive one. There are some extreme sound-shines in them, which can let me do hope they'll shoot more magnificent drama ... certainly!

Review by Warthur
2 stars First off, I should preface my review by saying that Toni Nurmi, the bassist of Nurkostam, invited me to review this and Nurkostam's other two releases on the site and provided me with review copies. I don't think this flattering invitation affected my view of the album, but I thought I should make a note of it for the sake of full disclosure.

XIII is the band's debut EP, presenting six songs in a range of styles, all of which hark back to the band's influences from the height of the progressive era. The problem is that the songs only really process one influence at a time. Album opener Iscream sounds a bit like mid-period King Crimson with some influence from more modern heavy rock styles - in other words, a lot like Anekdoten - and is probably the best track, not least because it showcases the three members' instrumental skills wonderfully.

The next two tracks are a bit poppier, Dome reminding me a little of the more commercial side of early Yes whilst Alone showing a few mild Beatles impressions in the guitar parts. They're also the first two songs to feature vocals, and unfortunately this seems to be a weakness of the album; the presented vocal style is of an average level of technical proficiency, isn't very emotional, lacks power and doesn't have much in the way of personality. In other words, it lacks any of the qualities that turns singing from simply making words in time to the music into a full-on performance.

The singer's weaknesses are particularly fatal on Between, a haunting Genesis-influenced number in which the vocalist attempts one of Gabriel's spooky low croons but just ends up mumbling into the microphone. The best song on here with vocals is probably Madness, which has a driving space rock instrumental line that's so loud (like the Syd-era Pink Floyd jams the track seems to have been inspired by) that the singer's highly processed performance is almost entirely drowned out in the mix. Whilst I would ordinary mark a song down for being so unevenly mixed, in this case it really does help.

So, in short this is an EP which I'd have probably given an extra star to if the vocalist weren't present. But even then, it still has issues holding it back from greatness. The abrupt shifts in style from song to song prove that Nurkostam are a diverse group capable of composing songs in a variety of styles. However, it also seems that, as of the recording of this album they hadn't quite concentrated on any particular style for a sufficient time to master it, the result being that the band is a jack of all trades and master of none. The overall impression I had was of a band which could do quite well if they picked one song on this album and concentrated on that particular style, and could end up being spectacular if they picked two or three of the six or so styles they attempt, master them, and then fuse them into a new whole. But in XIII, Nurkostam try to be six different bands over the course of the EP, and that just isn't going to work in the long run.

Still, the instrumental work is good enough to make me look forward to reviewing their two 2009 releases. There's a lot of potential on show in XIII... but it's only potential, not actual achievement.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'XIII' - Nurkostam (6/10)

A few years before Nurkostam would release any sort of follow up, this first EP 'XIII' was the only thing that this Finnish art rock trio had out. When compared to their mellow and dreamy full-lengths, 'XIII' shows the band starting out as a significantly more dynamic act. Over the course of half an hour, the band sounds like an apostle of the almighty Van Der Graaf Generator, an organ heavy affair that sometimes wanders down the road to ambient music. Although there are few surprises down the road of this EP, 'XIII' is arguably a better put-together album than their second release, and an impressive- albeit moderately so- record to listen to.

The impression that was given to me after a single listen to the album was that it was fairly boring, uneventful, and could have used a few cups of coffee for both the songwriting and wandering performance. In this sense, I am glad that I revisited the EP. With the trick opener 'Iscream' luring the listener into the false sense that this is a hard rocking EP, the rest of the music here falls under a much different category; a keyboards driven, melancholic and psychedelic batch of songs. 'Dome' sounds much like a typical piece of '70s prog rock, complete with its own guitar solo, but by the time 'Alone' and 'Between' come along, Nurkostam have fallen in deep with their dreamy style, although there's still a few King Crimson-esque hard rock flairs to keep the dynamic going. To be truthful, Nurkostam's attempts at heaviness are rather weak, lacking much in the way of passion. It is clear after even a couple of listens that the band is not meant to be making heavy music in any way, shape, or form, but instead they should stick to their melancholic mellowness. Sadly, they would indeed go down this route with their second album 'III Of Dreamers', but it would not turn out nearly as well as I might have hoped.

'XIII' is a quiet album for those brooding, rainy days of sadness, and while it certainly does not feel like the work of professionals, Nurkostam's laid back approach to prog rock has some beauty to experience with it.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nurkostam are new Finnish progressive/art rock band,found in 1998 in Tampere by Tero Koski, Toni Nurmi and Janne Tamminen.The name of the band is a combination of the members' initial letters of their surnames and the core of the band remained the same trio through the years despite the addition of several session musicians.A short EP entitled ''XIII'' was their first release,a downloadable upon iTunes Store album.

The sound is a mix of old and modern school Art-Prog Rock,like the good opening instrumental cut,which sounds a lot like ANEKDOTEN with Fripp-ian guitar work all the way and a dark atmosphere overall.The same path continues with ''Dome'',intense mellotron/organ-led art rock with fine vocal work and some GENESIS-inspired melodies thrown in.The soft ''Alone'' is a cool ballad in the vein of the famous ''Afterglow'' song of GENESIS with a slight Scandinavian feeling,while the atmospheric organ sounds are a good intro to the follower ''Between'',an excellent piece of keyboard-driven slow psychedelic music with fantastic vocals.With ''Madness'' the band returns to the opening style,intense organ-driven Scandinavian modern Psych/Prog with distorted vocal lines and high music quality.''Archie'' is a different story,now the band sounds a lot like RADIOHEAD with deep slow bass lines,expressive vocals and psych guitar work.

Generally Nurkostam are a very good modern Scandinavian band,they lack a bit in originality,but these six compositions show a band with talent and through some hard work they can be a great act in the future.''XIII'' comes strongly recommended especially for fans of atmospheric Scandinavian Prog in the vein of ANEKDOTEN,LANDBERK,LIQUID SCARLET...3.5 stars.

Review by Andy Webb
3 stars Between two worlds

Nurkostam is a relatively underground young neo-prog formed in Finland in 1998. The band's first seven years of existence were spent playing live and developing their unique sound. The band blended countless influences, ranging from the psychedelic prog rock expanses of Pink Floyd to the symphonic graces of Yes to the experimental nature of King Crimson to the alternative rock tastes of Pearl Jam. What comes out is an eclectic blend of experimental melodic alt rock and minimalist melodic neo-prog. In 2005, the band released their debut EP, XIII, a collection of six compositions the band crafted during their seven year existence. The songs reflect their diverse background very well, with influences straining to make appearances all throughout the music. The EP is a solid start for the band, as they find a great sound as well as a solid style of compositions.

The EP begins with what seems like an upbeat, alt-rock driven experimental rock track, which got me psyched for what was to come next. I was surprised, as this opener, "Iscream," has little to nothing to do with the rest of the EP's music. The music segues from style to style, touching all their eclectic influences while still holding down the fort with a steady sound surrounding each of the songs. Although much of the music seems rather uninspired and traditional, the music has a pleasant, melancholic, and overall subtly soothing quality to it. The band melds a quiet, simple atmosphere to let their music dwell in peace, as the compositions were meant to do.

The production of the album is surprisingly very good; it is surprising because of the malady that plagues countless independent bands' debuts is terrible production, and Nurkostam seems to have dodged that bullet (although their debut full length seems to have caught the plague). The music is mixed in a way corollary to the mood of the music, with a subtle, poignant mix of the keyboards and bass slightly louder than the drums and guitar to create a subtly haunting yet alluring atmosphere about the music - very fine stuff from these young Finnish musicians.

Overall, this EP is a very good introduction to the band Nurkostam, and seeing as it is the official introduction, the band has done its job and delivered a promising debut. As it turns out they seem to only regress in the professional and compositional side of their music. However, we can still enjoys the fruits of their 2005 EP; and although it is short, the band has done a fine job of producing good eclectic neo-progressive rock. 3+ stars.

Review by lazland
3 stars Nurkostam are a band from Finland who have been doing the rounds with us reviewers on the site, obviously looking for the publicity that a plethora of reviews can bring. Well, good luck to them, I say. This is the first of three offerings, and I will review all three in order.

Unlike other reviewers, I can actually see why they were placed within the neo-prog sub- genre on the site, because this album especially does seem to be very much influenced by some of the giants of the genre very heavily. It's just that it is such an eclectic mix of influences, that it is extremely difficult to categorise.

Not the opener, I Scream, which cries (or screams!) King Crimson from the open to the conclusion. The trouble with this approach is that Crimson in 1969 to 1972 produced a sound that was so utterly unique and mindblowing, because it had never been done before, that that uniqueness should not really be attempted again in 2005. It doesn't work.

It is also a very atypical track for what follows, much of which falls into the more mellow and spacey side of prog. As with any debut album, as much as anything else we are looking for promise, whether the band or artist in question has the potential and capacity to grow into something special, and I think on the evidence of this the answer is a clear yes, with some reservations.

Dome is a very mellow and nice track, featuring a classy guitar break towards the conclusion. Far more traditional rock than the opener, I like this track.

Alone can only be described as a deliberate attempt to emulate the type of sound Radiohead were producing at the OK Computer stage of their career. There are also traits of early Floyd (well, Radiohead were rightly compared to that great band at the time), and by and large it works quite well.

Between, I'm afraid, does not. The vocals, and mellotron for that matter, are a naked early Gabriel and Genesis clone, somewhere between Revelation and Trespass, with weedy production to boot, and it really just ends up as a bit of a dirge.

Madness takes its cue from a keyboard driven riff, a la Emerson, and is alright for what it is, with a particularly menacing bass riff which, I think, more than adequately conveys the title of the song. If anything, it is a little bit too short

The EP closes with Archie, the longest track here at 7:44. It features some Floydian sound effects in the ticking clock, and is most definitely not the sort of track that you would play to a potential mating partner as an introduction to your music. It has melancholy written all over it, and some of the vocals actually go further into the realms of manic depressive leanings. I do, though, like the simple, but effective, guitar backing, and the bass playing, again, is deeply threatening.

As with many such albums that we review here, this work does suffer from relatively poor production, and, at times, some of the influences are very naively put over, but this is a very credible debut, overall, from a band who clearly take themselves, and their music, very seriously.

Three stars. This is a good start. My thanks to the band for making it available to me to review.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Some of the songs on this debut EP may have caused the inclusion of Nurkostam in the neo-prog subgenre to which I don't think this band really belongs.

At this point those three Finnish guys hadn't likely decided yet which kind of music make and each of them seems to be bringing his own influences to the music's sound.

What results is an "eclectic" disk with very different songs on which the principal reference seems to be King Crimson like on the starter "iscream", but I see some Canterbury, too. "Dome is probably neo-prog and on "Alone" the vocals and the melody remind me to Procol Harum. The fact is that the melodies are strong even if sometimes hidden below the dissonances added to the arrangements.

"Between" has a keyboard/organ intro that can remind to PinkFloyd, Tangerine Dream or even Steve Hillage's Arzachel. After the intro when the vocals start it's totally different. The voice in this case reminds to Robert Wyatt. The kind of music of which Rock Bottom is made. This is what I mean when I say that each of the three guys is likely bringing in his own musical tastes. The resulting mixture is very pleasant. It's a coincidence that I have listened first to "-C-" then to the debut, this EP has been a surprise. This is a great song.

The short "Madness" is quite a follow-up to the previous track but it's uptime and more rocking.

The last song "Archie" is opened by a clock, a slow guitar harping and deep bass. Dark as Radiohead can be, the first thing that I notice is the excellent production. The song itself has a dissonant melody that makes it dark, but again I think more to Robert Wyatt.

Mentioning other band doesn't mean that Nurkostam are copying. It's only a way to describe the music that I hear, better than writing down chords and signatures in my opinion. The radio speech interlude is hypnotic.

What to say more? I really liked this EP, also in the vinyl era for its length, like "-C-" it would have been considered a full album. I see that I'm the first to rate it so high, I can be wrong, but I honestly think that the fourth star is deserved.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first release from this Finnish trio. For a debut EP from a new group the sound and production is good, but as they show on future releases they only get better. Their sound is fairly diverse and it's hard to pigeon-hole them into any one sub-genre. The EP begins with "Iscream" which sounds very influenced by Robert Fripp. The instrumental sounds like a cross between Crimson's "Red" and Fripp's "Breathless" from his Exposure album. It's derivitive but it's still a good song.

"Dome" is more mainstream rock sounding. The bass and organ here is good. A little marching snare drum was a nice touch. Some cool guitar effects after halfway for a bit. Great synth at the end. "Alone" is even more mainstream sounding than the last song. An easy going, laid-back radio-friendly song. "Between" is the most interesting song on the EP. Sustained organ notes dominates for awhile as some spacey guitar joins it. At 2 1/2 minutes it changes to symph prog territory with whispered singing. Later some arpeggiated guitars join the party. The backup harmony vocals sound weird and creepy, I like 'em!

"Madness" is more 'heavy prog' like the first song. Cool altered vocals here; I think the vocals are filtered through a Leslie speaker cabinet but I may be wrong. Some cool synth out of nowhere at the end. The last song, "Archie" for some reason sounds more polished and produced than the other songs. Through the entire song you can hear a clock ticking. The music is basically mellow alt-rockish type stuff. What sounds like Mellotron in the middle followed by cool overdubbed voices talking. A nice beginning for this trio. Deserves at least 3 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The opening track on this, Nurkostam's first EP release, holds quite a bit of promise. Iscream has a King Crimson-like keel, in the same sort of style as Anekdoten. Unfortunately, the song is less than three minutes long.

The rest of this album is done in a more traditional song style. There are hints of Traffic and Allman Brothers styled music, but all with heavy (and very good) keyboard lines (and lots of Mellotron!). Dome build from a southern rock style into a powerful keyboard driven prog piece. Another favorite for me is Madness, again for the keys.

The EP is good for a debut, although I find the production and mix are often subpar. But don't be fooled by the neo-prog classification. While some of their influences show, this band is not following in anyones footsteps.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First steps!

This is the first released of Finnish band Nurkostam, a project if three musicians who are willing to gain more recognition and to share their music through the world, which is always something to thank. So in 2005 this record entitled "XIII" saw the light, featuring six compositions that make a total time of 31 minutes; the songs here range from 3 to 7 minutes

The first one is "Iscream", a three-minute introduction that has a heavy prog sound, similar to Anekdoten, with some King Crimson hints, but don't judge too quick, because I may say this is not really the Nurkostam sound. "Dome" is a longer composition, with cool guitars and a much softer rhythm; nice bass lines and vocals for the first time. This also has a very nice keyboard sound as background, and the feeling is a bit nostalgic, and even of sorrow. The second part is especially good, with some spacey sounds and a great guitar solo. Very good track!

"Alone" is almost like a ballad with a very melancholic sound, later it turns into a kind of indie, alternative, mellow neo-prog song, nice but not the best. "Between" is one out of two seven-minute track of this album. It starts slowly with a keyboard sound which little by little is increasing in volume, and some elements are being added while the time passes. When guitar appears produces a very soft and melancholic sound. Then it suddenly stops and a couple of seconds later keyboard enter once again but this time creating a different sound, accompanied by drums and vocals, there is a sensation of mystery in this track. This is one of Nurkostam's best tracks, and I am not only talking about this EP.

"Madness" is the other shorter track, and starts with that heavy prog sound than the first song had. However the vocals and guitars here give it a different direction, creating some tension and a peculiar mood. Cool bass lines and great keyboard appearances. And finally we have "Archie" which is the longest track of the record. A clockwise sound that prevails for some minutes as background, while a melancholic atmosphere is created by a repetitive guitar, gentle vocals and bass notes. This track is a tricky one, because you can either get interested and hypnotized by its sound, or getting bored after a couple of minutes, but I would suggest to stay until the very end, it is a nice song, believe me.

This is a great debut EP, showing some of Nurkostam's finest moments, and the different styles they offer, you will have 30 minutes of nice music here, though evidently it is not the most original or memorable I have ever listened. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars Eight is first

I'm usually not a huge fan of EP releases simply because most are so short and really only apply to fans of the band or the band's style. Nurkostam's debut EP (strangely titled XIII) is no exception to this rule.

As far as the music style is concerned, I found most of this EP has tinges of prog rock underneath a mostly dream pop base. Many bands have been name-dropped over the reviews, but I can hear a lot of Radiohead and Mew in the sound.

The vocal department is not good. It seems the band has two singers, one who has a feint, whispery tone but not strong at all, and the other who sounds like Eddie Vedder. Yarling doesn't quite fit the tone of the EP.

''Iscream'' is the anomaly track in which the band attempts avant-jazz-rock. It's fine for what it is, but to stick a track like that at the very beginning is complete buzzkill. The opening few minutes should establish solidity in the sound; the way ''Iscream'' veers into ''Dome'' so suddenly pops the balloon and it just spurts from then on.

Albums proper are usually the way to truly discover music artists. Nurkostam is no exception.

Latest members reviews

2 stars A median of a band launching ambiguous Nurkostran is a relatively new name to me as I was introduced to them through an invitation. On its face, had access to their two EPs, and now I will talk about first, "XIII." The problem of "XIII" and the other EP of them ,"-C-", is that music is flawe ... (read more)

Report this review (#493852) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, July 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars With Iscream I feel I'm going to find a band rocking in the edge of prog with crimsonian schemes, a bit dissonant, interesting dynamics, good riffs. But that's only the first minutes. The first impression with Dome is again interesting, the voice is pleasant in a melancholic mood and keyboards of ... (read more)

Report this review (#490015) | Posted by migue091 | Monday, July 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is the first attempt from Finnish trio Nurkostam. A sort of minialbum or EP running at about half an hour. The album to me, seems to be in 3 main parts, starting out with a power prog. Instrumental, a good track, very close to what KC might have done live, sometime in the mid. 70's. Fro ... (read more)

Report this review (#488150) | Posted by tamijo | Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Hmmmm.......... Finns with depression. Ingmar Bergman's movies was branded as the Nordic depressions where everything was gloomy and the sun had fled Scandinavia in panic. Nurkostam, although on the other side of Bottenviken, has released an album which also chases the sun away. Sort off...... ... (read more)

Report this review (#483475) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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