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ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT

RIO/Avant-Prog • Finland


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Alamaailman Vasarat biography
Out of the ashes of crazy Finns HOYRY KONE came out this totally instrumental and acoustic unit. To describe this music, one needs to imagine MIRIODOR, SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA or its evolutions until VON ZAMLA, stir and shake the whole thing chill it before boiling it than mincing it to shreds and bake it with gypsy herbs. This should give you a good idea how this tastes. They are also weird on how they record their instruments and sometimes manage to make acoustic death metal.

Very weird but if you like such madness, the second album is really a must.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Huuro KolkkoHuuro Kolkko
Import
Nordic Notes 2009
Audio CD$13.42
$40.05 (used)
ValtaValta
Import
Nordic Notes (Broken Silence) 2012
Audio CD$14.92
$12.32 (used)
MaahanMaahan
Import
Nordic Notes 2007
Audio CD$18.62
$17.68 (used)
KaarmelautakuntaKaarmelautakunta
Import
Nordic Notes (Broken Silence) 2008
Audio CD$15.58
$10.00 (used)
VasaraasiaVasaraasia
Import
Nordic Notes 2008
Audio CD$13.83
$9.75 (used)
CHIKARA WAZA -VALTA- +bonusCHIKARA WAZA -VALTA- +bonus
King Japan
Audio CD$31.00
$37.58 (used)
SONGS FROM VASARAASIASONGS FROM VASARAASIA
P-VINE Japan
Audio CD$29.38
$40.83 (used)
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  • Festival Mundial on 27 Jun 2014

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 45 ratings
Vasaraasia
2000
3.65 | 59 ratings
Kaarmelautakunta
2003
2.80 | 17 ratings
Kinaporin Kalifaatti (with Tuomari Nurmio)
2005
3.95 | 83 ratings
Maahan
2007
3.76 | 31 ratings
Huuro Kolkko
2009
3.88 | 55 ratings
Valta
2012

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.00 | 4 ratings
Palataan Aasiaan (with Tuomari Nurmio)
2005
4.08 | 5 ratings
Haudasta Lomilla
2010

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Valta by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.88 | 55 ratings

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Valta
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Everything a grown man needs + tuba

Saxophones, clarinets, tuba, trombone, brass, pump organ, grand piano, cello, theremin, drums and assorted percussion devices. Now with an instrumental line up like that, you'd probably expect Alamaailman Vasarat to sound like a full on chamber rock group with the obvious nods to Univers Zero and early Art Zoyd. That is not the case however. Not even slightly!

Zravkapt(Darryl) already did a brilliant job reviewing this thing, and if you find my ramblings too zorro- jellybean-blackbag-sweaters, then I urge you to click on the red cover art on your right and read his take on the album.

This album moves from genre to genre and from country to country. I get some wonderfully mad desperado dashes emanating from the reed sections - mimicking a furious bull-run from the ancient streets of Pamplona. Sometimes the Spanish Inquisition slows down and literally transforms before your ears - now infinitely more passionate and sensuous - taking on the shape of a delirious and sweaty tango. Then you have the folk elements of the group, although on this release, Valta simply meaning power, they are squeezed in way down in the back, only colouring certain phrasings within the songs with a jolly and carefree expression. More than anything, I am reminded of Samla Mammas Manna - and that is just about the biggest compliment coming from this Dane. I adore the jumpy, almost symphonic piano Lucky Luke dressings some of these tracks take on. That sounds rather preposterous, but if you've ever heard an album like Måltid - you'll probably know what I'm on about; marvellous stints of sound that grow proportionally in size with umph and grandeur - preferably on top of a circus themed rocker.

........aaaaaaaand we're nowhere near the end of influences and different layers of this album. A most prominent feature of Valta, is the early Police-Sting-white boy-reggae-ska flavour - the thing that makes your head bob and your feet stomp in odd metered rhythms - until you finally look completely bizarre walking like a real life Goofy in the same spot without getting anywhere. There's no guitar though, which makes all of this all the more confusing. The cellos and reeds go through some kind of alterations and wind up sounding like a robust circus version of The Wailers. Speaking of circus, some of these tracks take me directly into the round hay covered arena - with galloping horses in their finest outfits elegantly swooping round and around in endless neighing circles. It's the same sort of feel I get from the reeds - that almost burial cortege feel, albeit in a fun and uplifting manner.

Lastly we find a strong metal element - taking me back to my teen years with Metallica and Maiden. Big gritty hard hitting riffs launching the music into altogether new territories, where the funky ska beats suddenly get interchanged for a wild head-banging affair. Complimenting the already eclectic behaviour of the group, the music now feels more potent and raw - adding to the overall picture that ever so fleeting ingredient of dynamics.

This is not a difficult album to get into by any stretch of the imagination, and if you're new to the avant world, Valta could very well serve as your first taste of music that presumes the worst about it's listeners: that we're mad and strangely put together - without a chance in hell of spotting a melody, even if it came attached to the peacock flavoured lollipops of our daily breakfast. Get in there people - I promise you something completely different than what you think you're going to get...

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 Valta by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.88 | 55 ratings

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Valta
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post Rock Team

4 stars This band was formed by former members of the Finnish avant-rock group Hoyry-Kone. Unlike that band these guys are purely instrumental and not as electric or electronic. This is their latest album and only full album I have heard from them. I pre-ordered my copy and am still waiting for it weeks later; supposedly it has not reached North America yet. Thanks to the Progstreaming website I was able to do this review and notice this album in the first place. Having not heard a full album, I had still heard many songs by this group. From what I have read this isn't too much of a departure from what they have done previously, and if anything is more concise and accessible to what they were doing before.

I'm not a Finnish speaker so I like to call these guys 'Allah Mailman Vasarat'. The name means "hammers of the underworld" and would be a great name for a metal band. Oddly enough, some of this band's music sounds like metal...without a guitar! They use instruments such as sax, tuba and cello put through effects units to make them sound like distorted guitars. Their music is sometimes compared to klezmer, which the bandmembers claim they have no knowledge of. Instead they call their music "fictional folk music". You can detect influences from Eastern European folk music and Latin American music as well as metal. The music can be light and easy-going or more intense and metallic sounding. Some of the songs are more 'folk' sounding while others have more of a 'rock' feel.

AV have been around for 15 years but the only thing that has really changed is that they have a new drummer. The drumming never really stands out but the music would sound a lot different without it; less 'rock' sounding anyway. "Hajakas" is one of the more interesting tracks. It changes a bit but has a nice flow from section to section. Some of the best melodies on the album, the main one being some kind of klezmer-punk. "Norsuvaljakko" is a highlight. I like how the drummer flawlessly switches from a disco beat to a more swinging rock beat and back. The cello(?) here sounds like a monster. One of my favourite parts of the album is towards the end of "Haudankantaja" with some trumpet or trombone playing that sounds like it came from out of some old Western movie.

"Uurnilla" sounds different from the rest of the album. A very somber and moody chamber piece. Almost sounds like music from the pre-WW2 era. Another difference is the prominence of piano here. In contrast to the previous song, "Hirmuhallinto" is the most metal sounding on the album. Love the sludge metal riff here. You hear sounds of water drops as the music dies down slowly. Great way to close the album. If you have an appetite for classical-metal-klezmer-folk-rock this may be for you. Valta means "power" in Finnish and this album has some powerful music on it. Great sound, well played music full of great melodies and rhythms. 4 stars.

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 Huuro Kolkko by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.76 | 31 ratings

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Huuro Kolkko
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Huuro Kolkko [2009]

Rating: 8/10

After 2007's wonderful Maahan, Alamaailman Vasarat had shown the progressive/avant-grade musical community (or whatever scene their music appeals to, if any at all) just how excellent of a band they are. That album took everything enjoyable about the band's sound and synthesized into a consistently engaging forty minutes of music. Huuro Kolkko does the exact same thing. AV have never been particularly interested in modifying their sound; they know what style of music they play, and they play it well. Huuro Kolkko shows the band further cultivating the elements of their style: instrumental interplay, catchy instrumental hooks, genre mashing, and tight musicianship. The result is an album that, while not necessarily better than Maahan, is at least on par with it.

'Mielisaurus' opens the album with an infectious cello/brass riff. This is a fantastic track that makes me want to play air-trombone while listening to it. Helminen and Manninen's sweeping cello lines really shine on 'Liskopallo', particularly on the medieval-sounding conclusion. 'Meressa Ei Asuta' features fantastic interplay between the warbling organ and the bombastic reeds/brass. 'Natiivit' is a surprisingly pretty piece from these crazy Finns. This sounds like something that could be played during the credits of a mainstream film. 'Lounto Tuli Lahelle' is a strange combination of funk and klezmer that actually works enormously well. 'Tujuhuju' is a heavy track with strong Middle-Eastern style sax playing. The rhythm section is ferocious here. 'Luola' is a long jazzy piece with absolutely superb sax playing. The unusual 'Omalla Ajalla' sounds like something out of a Western film. The bass-tuned cello and pump organ make this track excellent. The album closes with 'Lautturin Viivat', a smooth-jazz piece that ends things in a pleasant fashion.

Alamaailman Vasarat have created yet another gem with Huuro Kolkko. All of these tracks feature airtight musicianship and irresistible songwriting. Various styles, including funk and country/western, have been added into the insane genre-blender. AV have polished and re-polished their style over their decade-long career, and it has culminated in an album full of unique, catchy, and downright fun compositions that should not be missed by fan of progressive music. I will continue to support and follow this band, and I can't recommend this album highly enough.

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 Maahan by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.95 | 83 ratings

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Maahan
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Maahan [2007]

Rating: 8/10

Although many point to Kaarmelautakunta as Alamaailman Vasarat's best album, I've always considered Maahan to be far superior. AV tend to follow a 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' formula, and this is as true on Maahan as it is on all of their other albums (with the obvious exception of Kinaporin Kalifaatti). Thus, this album is a crazy concoction of klezmer, metal, jazz, chamber music, and ethnic folk. Although AV's sound certainly has not changed, this does not mean that is has not developed. This band has always had a bit of a gimmicky feel to them, despite the quality of the music they make. On Maahan, however, this feeling is completely gone. These are developed compositions that retain the band's fun atmosphere while incorporating a new sense of sophistication and honest musicianship. AV's prior albums also suffered from a sense of sameness; the songs blended into one another. This is another problem that has been fixed on Maahan. All of these musical developments culminate to form a record that is nothing short of excellent.

The album opens with a short self-titled intro that builds up to the first full-length track, 'Kyyhylly.' This is one the best tracks the band ever did. The main 'riff' (I'm unsure what else to call it) is fantastic, and every instrument is on absolute full-throttle. This is AV at their best. 'Helmi Otsalla' is a fast-paced klezmer piece with fantastic reed work. The cello breakdown is superb, as well. The jazzy 'Luiden Valossa, Naapurin Talossa' features some superb drumming, as well as enormously impressive piano and cello. The beginning of Huikeuden Lierio' has a bit of an avant-jazz vibe, and the middle section creates an exciting crescendo. 'Elaimet Huutaa' is an incredible track in every way. The main cello riff sounds like some out of a Renaissance fair, and the other instruments back up the superb cello playing enormously well. 'Lumeen Nukkuneet' is the weakest track here; it has a very loose sense of direction. Still, the brass and cello create quite a menacing atmosphere. The metal side of AV's sound finally rears its head on 'Katkorapu.' The main theme here is great, and the pump organ sounds wonderful. 'Kaarme Toi Ruton Kaupunkiin' is another super-charged klezmer freakout; fantastic as always. 'Rooman Ruumiit' contains even more superb cello work, and the brass and reeds create fantastic musical layers. The album ends with 'Elukka', a short piece of ethnic folk.

Alamaailman Vasarat really hit a creative high on Maahan. Their unusual band setup (reeds, brass, two cellos, organ/piano, and drums) serves as their biggest asset here. All six band members shine on these tracks; the compositions balance these seemingly disparate musical ideas and sounds into a coherent whole that is all but irresistible even to those unacquainted with avant-garde music. Cellists Tuukka Helminen and Marko Manninen are the real stars here, though. These guys create an absolutely solid rhythm section that forms an enormous foundation for these pieces. This not a perfect album; some of the musical ideas don't work quite as well as others. However, it is immensely enjoyable, and fans of jazz, avant-garde, or klezmer should pay special attention to it. This is superb stuff; highly recommended.

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 Kinaporin Kalifaatti (with Tuomari Nurmio) by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.80 | 17 ratings

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Kinaporin Kalifaatti (with Tuomari Nurmio)
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by 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.

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 Huuro Kolkko by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.76 | 31 ratings

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Huuro Kolkko
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by justaguy

4 stars Univers Zero goes Klezmer and trash metal simultaneously, or RIO is undead. Welcome to Alamaailman Vasarat, or the "Underworld of the Hammers".

The only one negative thing about the Hammers' latest masterpiece "Huuro Kolkko" is that it is a little short with it's 39 minutes. But it rocks! And it does that - this time - without any kind of a guitar. Now, that's an achievement! These Finnish virtuoso's do it, using a fancy collection of string and wind instruments, including two cello's, Tubax and Theremin. Now, what on Underworld are those last two things? Tubax is a "truly rare beauty", a special contrabass saxophone. This is what you will find on Wikipedia about it: "a modified saxophone, developed in 1999 by the German instrument maker Benedikt Eppelsheim." It seems to be a result of crossbreeding between tuba and sax, hence the name. Heil to this German musical botanist! Tubax is a real fun; it is huge and makes very, very low sounds. I guess, it's quite hard to play on that underworldly thing. According to the band, the instrument was made by Eppelsheim especially for Jarno "Stakula" Sarkula, the band's leader and composer of the most music. And Theremin... You know, the first synthesizer, invented by the Russian Professor Theremin in 1920s? Anyway, you play it by moving your hand between two antennas.

"Huuro Kolkko" is a concept album named after an until now unknown Finnish explorer of the begin of the 20th century. Read the whole story on their site, very amusing. In short, one night Kolkko is inspired by a strange vision, undertakes an expedition, finds an unknown continent and stumbles upon some mind breaking phenomenon there, which results in his madness. And that is a pity: now he is not able to tell anybody about his discovery.

The album starts with a stunning, hallucinatory opener, "Mielisaurus" ("Mindsaurus"). I couldn't write a better description of the song, than one the band did themselves. It "can be described as a shining example of "Hammerbilly" music style, starts with cellos and pump organ, followed by Tubax ? and enters the verse with tenors and trombone. Don't miss out the haunting Theremin in the calm section before the end." What can I say more? Listen to it, you will be blown away.

All other songs on the album are highly imaginair composed, fantastically played and arranged with an unbelievable density and enthusiasm. You will hear a thousand beautiful tunes, music styles and moods, all according to the story of course. Once more, on vasarat.com you will find notes and explanations to every song. No need to repeat it all here. Read it, you will see the film called "Huuro Kolkko" before your eyes, and surely smile more than once. The guys definitely have a sense of humour, which you will also find in the music itself by the way?

Alamaailman Vasarat was founded in 1997 by Sarkula and drummer Teemu Hänninen. "Jarno had just bought a soprano sax - a reason enough to start a new band!"? This is their fifth album. Their earlier efforts didn't went unmentioned as well. They received Finnish Teosto prize in 2005 for their collaboration album "Kinaporin Kalifaatti" (with singer Tuomari Nurmio). They have done theatre and film music, among others for an animated movie Elukka ("The Animal"), which has got an award for the best music score at French film festival Premiers Plans in 2006. They played on many festivals, including world music and progressive rock festivals. Among them are Músicas do Mundo (Portugal), Stranger Than Paranoia (Netherlands), TFF Rudolstadt (Germany), Urkult Folk (Sweden), Pit Inn (Japan), NEARfest (USA), etc.

Let me give you this one piece of advice: if you like Univers Zero and Henry Cow, or you are an open minded music lover, looking for something really new - buy this album, and all the rest, you will not regret it. I myself regret only one thing: that I discovered the band only now, ergo I deprived myself of a huge pleasure during the last 10 years. At least 5 stars here, please!

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 Kaarmelautakunta by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.65 | 59 ratings

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Kaarmelautakunta
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Kaarmelautakunta [2003]

Rating: 7/10

My 100th Review!

There are a multitude of factors that make Alamaailman Vasarat a strange band, yet one of the strangest things about them actually has nothing directly to do with the music that they play. Rather, it's how their music is received. AV are an avant-garde group; they play odd music with odd instruments. However, I've noticed that they manage to receive a positive reception from audiences completely unacquainted with avant-garde or progressive music. As is the case with most prog fans, the majority of my friends and acquaintances are happily ignorant of music like this. In desperate attempts to musically reach out towards the people around me, I have often utilized this band. For a reason I am currently unable to identify, most people seem to like them regardless of musical background. There's something innately enjoyable this zany klezmer/metal/jazz hybrid, and Kaarmelautakunta shows AV developing this unique style that they began on their debut. Nothing has changed stylistically, but the band's sound has significantly moved forward.

The excellent heavy opener "Kivitetty Saatana" focuses on a memorable main theme. "Vasaraassialainen" begins with some wonderful pump organ. A waltz-like beat enters, and the brass comes into prominence to create another strong track. The somber cello section here is one of the best moments on the album. "Pelko Antaa Siivet" is a decent slow piece, but it isn't a highlight. "Hamarapuolella" features yet another solid main hook, and the heavy ending serves as an appropriate climax. "Astiatehdas" may be my favorite track on the album. This is an infectiously energetic piece that displays everything this band does best. "Vanha Lapsuudenystva" actually has a bit of a smooth-jazz feel at points. The cello work is some of the best on the album, but the track as whole isn't terribly special. "Olisimme Uineet Vielakin Pidemmalle" is another favorite of mine. The interplay between the brass and the reeds work perfectly, and the main hook is excellent. "Lentava Mato" is another fiercely energetic track. It's difficult not to bounce up and down while listening to this. "Jaa, Hyva Mieli" closes the album. The constant distorted cello sawing makes this quite a menacing track that ends the album well.

Kaarmelautakunta is an excellent album that manages to capture AV's sound enormously well. The cohesion that was absent on the debut is very much present here. The metallic klezmer is fantastic as always, but the slower pieces are what really show the band's development. The mellow moments on Vasaraasia were rather dull, but they've become somber and actually somewhat pretty on this follow-up. The debut's lack of variety is also remedied; AV add compositional diversity in order to flesh out their signature style. Overall, this is an outstanding album that I would recommend to anybody interested in klezmer or avant-metal.

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 Haudasta Lomilla by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover DVD/Video, 2010
4.08 | 5 ratings

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Haudasta Lomilla
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars A long-awaited DVD release, and even if their project with Tuomari Nurinio came with a DVD, it was relatively unrepresentative of their normal group concert stuff, which I'd seen live in the early part of the 00's. Although the band has largely remained the same since their debut, their stage presence has gradually grown to an impressive acting-through- music tirade. Much of the stage show is assured by the two front-hornmen, but the two cellist provided much of their very specific and unique sound, sometimes transforming into two double-bassist, at others providing amazing and eerie ambient sounds, while keyboardist Huttunen switches from piano to pump organ to melodica (also pumped-up), the bandspeaker Stakula blows into an impressive array of seldom-seen wind instrument like giant bassoon or mega-baritone sax or Haukalla playing soussaphone and tuba.

The first show featured on this DVD is a recent (09) Dubrovnik show, filmed with limited means, but giving an honest opinion of their stage capacities, but the burlesque is not as present as if in the hall itself. Actually six (of seven) filmed sets on this DVD are fairly recent (07 onwards), none of them have received a modern totally-professional treatment, either in the filming or in the production. While the Klezmer-Gypsy-Manouche feel is still very much present, their live sets take on a slightly groovy & jazzier feel than the studio soundscape they created through their five albums so far. I have a slight preference for the November 07 Helsinki show. The shorter filmed set are found in one section and include one Mexico and one Copenhagen set excerpt, both shot from a single "rear of the hall" camera, while the Tokyo show seemed to have at least one more, but sonically speaking the lesser means are also felt. Of much greater interest is the September 03 Helsinki show, where Stakula hadn't yet developed his Yiddish wooden troll image yet. And then band had a thicker or meatier (but less subtle) sound and a more restrained stage act.

Having seen the band fairly early in their beginnings, I have seen them very recently in the '11 RIO Fest of Carmaux, and their shows has tremendously progressed in terms of pure entertainment with the two hornmen putting a fantastic Barnum-esque show full of humour, which captivated the crowd and had them dancing of tapping something all set long, and this include yours truly. Indeed the deep-from-the-woods beardy-troll (with an understandable Yiddish touch, given the Klezmer roots of the music) physique of saxman Stakula and the scary aggressive Viking-looking (with his extra-long hair) trombonist Erno Haukala and his amazing juggling of his instrument provided an extraordinary front stage, framed by the two cellist, who provided added entertainment, despite remaining seated.

Anyway, the whole content of the DVD lasts over a whopping five hours, which includes some anime soundtracks (interesting), a few (21-mins's worth) video-clips (not bad), a short making-of documentary (in Finnish), but you'll have a hard time watching it all in less than three seatings/viewings, and that's provided you don't get drunk too quick on their enthralling but bombarding music (after all they are called the Hammers Of Hell), and there are many overlapping or repeat tracks from one show to the next. Unfortunately, I find that most of the footings included don't translate in full the lunacy of their live shows, and most notably the absence f the fun antagonism between the two frontmen, yelling at each other through their instruments, disputing the centre spot. While there are some passages that still retain the almost death-metal cellos of yesteryears and the band filming themselves through webcams fixed on their instruments or the always-neat propensity of Stakulla playing two instrument at once, but not in parallel (like Rashaan), but in series (one through the other). A very competent introduction to AV's astounding musical quagmire, this DVD will be more than you can handle for months on end.

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 Vasaraasia by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.21 | 45 ratings

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Vasaraasia
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Alamaailman Vasarat: Vasaraasia [2000]

Rating: 6/10

Writing these album/song titles will be the death of me.

Vasaraasia is the debut album from the insane Finnish sextet known as Alamaailman Vasarat (hereby abbreviated at AV). This band began as an offshoot of fellow Finnish avant-garde outfit Hoyry-Kone, a group that has gained a bit of a cult following despite their brief career. AV play wild and zany music that displays influences from various seemingly disparate styles. Klezmer is the most apparent genre here, and it serves as the stylistic framework though which the experimentation takes place. Metal, jazz, folk, and ambient are all explored on Vasaraasia. This is an immediately interesting musical style, but this debut release turns out to be somewhat of a mixed bag. AV's strengths are abundantly apparent, particularly on the faster tracks - these guys are quite adept at playing super-charged hyper-klezmer. However, some of the slower tracks here end up sounding forced and ultimately dull.

The first two tracks, "Mamelukki & Musta Leski" and "Perikunta" start the album off well. Both are fast-paced klezmer songs with metal spice. "Lakeus" and "Unikkotango" bring things down a bit. These tracks are fairly dull, relying on drawn-out cello lines. The metal influence comes to the forefront on "Asuntovelka." The pump organ and brass compliment the grinding cellos quite well. "Kebab Tai Henki!" is somewhat of a by-the-numbers piece, blending in with the rest of the album. "Jano" features some cool Middle-Eastern sounds, but it's a dull track overall. "Tankkaustunti" and "Merikaarme" follow in a similar path. "Hanta Hellii Kaarme" picks things up with solid piano and sax work. The boring "Hakumies" is what really brings this album down. This is an overextended slow piece with a needless amount of ambient noise. Irritating organ drones permeate most of the track; this fails to help, obviously. This track could have been much more effective if cut in half. Things immediately improve with the superb "Delhin Yot." This is what AV do best: zany and fun avant-klezmer. "Siltojen Alla" closes the album fairly well. The metal sections features some excellent drumming.

While AV certainly do display their potential on Vasaraasia, the final producing leaves me wanting. This album has an unshakable "samey" feel; tracks blend into each other, and it's difficult to identify specific memorable moments, even after many listens. The musicianship is spectacular, but the band seems unsure how to make their music consistently interesting and engaging at this point. This is an enjoyable listen, but it doesn't manage to be anything better than merely "good." Unfortunately, the finesse and sophistication that AV would later develop on future releases is largely absent here.

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 Huuro Kolkko by ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.76 | 31 ratings

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Huuro Kolkko
Alamaailman Vasarat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Prog Geo

4 stars What a band!This band is a great example of what it is progressive.Their music is a blend of metal,punk and oriental music.Specifically they use persian scales.They don't use rock orchestration.They play with classical instruments.But also they have saxophone,accordion,trombones e.t.c.That's the amazing thing about Alamaailman vasarat.They're the metal-oriental version of Apocalytica.I am very impressed with this band!I'm very satisfied that there are such great bands like this.The music of the album and generally the music of the band will remind you Slayer,Goran Bregovic and Apocalyptica.So,you understand for what experimentation I'm talking about.I review this album first because is the one that I've heard most.Also their music is very appropriate to be a soundtrack in a movie about America of 50's.

My favorite tracks are:Mielisaurus,Meressa ei asuta,Luonto tuli lahelle(reggae-jazz with Goran Bregovic),Tujuhuju(oriental thrash metal)and Omalla ajalla(smooth jazz)

I recommend it to everyone who appreciates good and special music.A music gem!

My grade:8,5/10

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