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HIIDENSOINTI

Crossover Prog • Finland


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Hiidensointi biography
This band plays folk-oriented progressive rock, and locates in Finnish city of Tampere. The group was formed in 2008, and the first record was published in May 2010. The basis of their sound is borne from the synthesis of both local folk music and heritage of classic Finnish progressive rock. Some reference groups for comparison might be TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI, POSITIVE WAVE, TIME TRAVELLER, and also some symphonic neo-progressive tones could give associations of AGENESS. Lyrics are in Finnish, and the vocals provide most powerful doses of ancient Finnish mythology and traditional vibes to this music. These folk-elements and careful rhytmic arrangements hold the academic potential in the group's sound, and wilder guitar playing counterbalance that with more casual hippie orientation, creating personal and positive crossover art rock.

The musicians had learned to know eachother during early 21st century. Majority of them played in group SLOW MARCHING BAND, which focused to progressive rock cover songs. Guitarrist and composer Petri Koivistoinen from group MARGIN OF SAFETY found that some of his compositional energies did not suit to the style of that band's concept. Pete introduced these instrumental compositions to drummer Mika Hiironniemi, and some of their earlier bandmates were asked to join the formation of a new group; Pate Laitinen from SLOW MARCHING BAND on bass guitar, and Janne Haka-Risku from NOSDRAMA to keyboards. The name of the Group HIIDENSOINTI was established, and Petri matured also idea of having female voice to the original intrumental songs. In summer 2008 Mika's wife Nina Hiironniemi was asked both to join the group and write lyrics. The recording of the first album was started immetiadely after this. As the recordings were finished, keyboard player left, and violin player Petri Ahonen joined the group. Based from the concert stage observations, these violin melodies support the Finnish folk-oriented mythic feelings along with the singing quite strongly, and the entry of the violinist also resulted group containing 80 percent of the SLOW MARCHING BAND's personnel.

All compositions are done by the guitarrist Pete, who has studied classical, rock and jazz music. He names Charles Chaplin as his main innovator, and from musical influences several artists from the wide spectrum of scenes related to his studies, HIIDENSOINTI's general sound and its Finnish roots. The compositions heard on the first album were matured from a very...
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4.00 | 1 ratings
Hiidensointi
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ovia ja Aikoja
2013

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HIIDENSOINTI Reviews


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 Ovia ja Aikoja by HIIDENSOINTI album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Ovia ja Aikoja
Hiidensointi Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
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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 Hiidensointi by HIIDENSOINTI album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Hiidensointi
Hiidensointi Crossover Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars "So you have found some new black metal music?" my friend asked, after seeing the front cover of Hiidensointi's first album on my table. The romanticism of shamanistic visions from folklore along with pagan deities of the ancient forests can also relate to other kind of musical approaches, and on with this band the directions are both Finnish folk tradition and heritage of local classic progressive rock sounds.

Composition "Koskella" opens the album dynamically and also gives a good first impression about the general sound of the album, motivating to dive deeper to the record's contents. The team on the album work together very well. As from individual achievements, I consider Petri Koivistoinen as very talented guitar player, and also a fine song writer, carrying the responsibility of composing all of the album songs.

Singer Nina Hiironniemi has soft, tender tone, and in my opinion she has found herself a proper position within the group, not being either too shy or trying to exceed her own capabilities, resulting as very enjoyable vocal element upon the instrumental force of the music. Also the lyrics are from her quill, finding pleasant channel to the feeling of traditional Kalevala tales, and also searching interfaces to universal everyday lives of common man. Though few rhymes sounded maybe bit naïve, I do not expect poetry of the ages as default (though would enjoy it), and might emphasize sincerity as a compensatory virtue. A special mention from clear pronouncing when singing, it is really easy to comprehend the words without text sheets, a factor sadly not so often present on vocal music. Nina's husband Mika is also handling the drums in proper art rock manner, not getting lost to unnecessary complexities, but reaching positive ferocity to the faster parts, finding interesting rhythmic arrangement solutions, and reaching calmer melodic tones for the more serene sequences. Pate Laitinen supports with his bass guitar the rhythm basis very well, and Janne Haka-Risku illuminates the songs of this album with supportive melodic solo lines and ethereal sound carpets of his synthesizers. After the recordings he departed from the group, and there has been a violin player on the gigs, maybe emphasizing the traditional musical roots of the group even further. The balance and mutual confidence borne from healthy self-confidence of the musicians was very evident from the concert I managed to see in late 2011.

The album continues with "Isätön poika", the song verse flowing on really elevating moods, meeting some contrasting instrumental twists which gave me associations from my scarce neo-prog encouters. Also the melodic bass lines in some parts are interestingly unconventional, walking on quite different paths than the other melodic instruments. The sounds are overall quite clear but maybe a bit too metallic for my own tastes on some parts, especially from drums and on few guitar riff phases. If this is however controlled solution, I accept the band's decisions to find mixing solutions and tonal colors they find most suitable. Softer tones approach with "Valonvaltiatar", which I found as very lovely ballad, deepening to more powerful forte emphasis after tender start. "Lintunen" follows the reached melancholic moods, and also principles of merging diverse compositional elements with both skillful changes and control of details on instrumental maneuvers. Following "Kaihomieli" is quite powerful composition, pulsing with both desperation and emotional confusion. The main guitar theme has interesting characteristic of allowing feeling of traveling aimlessly, and when mingling with singing and lyrical contents, gave me somehow associations from Kalevala's tales of Kullervo's demise.

Song "Suolla" is quite interesting as it differs quite much from the other songs, being some sort of pagan folk tune for male voices. It also gives hints about the source of group's name, and maybe even motives for its existence for its musicians. After this change on yet quite recognizable similar musical style, I found myself contemplating the fine band in spite of their talent and charm are possibly still maturing their composing abilities, as there were few tracks following which sounded quite identical to earlier tunes; Positive and dynamic "Aihetta lauluun" appeared from its structure and melodies like a variation of the opening track, and also "Pohjalainen pitkä poika" sounded slightly similar from its melodic curves the earlier minor key songs of the record. However the song expands as quite explorative instrumental tune, and there are some really wonderful guitar licks to be enjoyed here. I also thought about musical group's convention to have certain characteristic musical idioms on their songs, so I wonder if I just tried to find something negative from an album I liked? And conclusively, as premise for a rock group the similarity of songs is not a big sin, but I believe these musicians aiming for creativity can spread their wings of imagination yet further, and I hope I'm allowed to see this yet another small miracle among the myriad happy events of life.

The last cuts on the CD are "Oivallus", a song with good lyrical messages, sung by Petri, but maybe not being among the most essential tracks of the record for my own listening experience. "Virran mukana" ends the record with boogie tracks sounding bit like 80's hits on the intro, heavier guitars blending the groove with heavier elements and crafting the song towards more personal directions. The song titles also form a pleasant circle, as the first track refers to the rapids, and this final is about being carried along the current. As a whole, a very recommendable album for those liking moody and artistic folk rock, or the adorers of Finnish prog music with shades of Jukka Tolonen's wild guitar drive's legacy. I personally wait with high hopes the following album's release, and possibility to see the and on local concert stages.

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Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the artist addition.

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