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Crossover Prog • Finland

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Aardvark' biography
In the long line of artists whose presence and whereabouts remains enigmatic and partially unknown, we find Finnish act AARDVARK'. They were possible formed sometime in the 1990's, and issued their debut effort Nocturnal Mammal in 2000. A few years later they contributed to the Kalevala project issued by French label Musea Records. Come 2006 and we find them signed to Mellow Records, the line-up at the time confirmed as Ari Nääppä (guitars), Juha Särkioja (bass), Riku Luostari (keyboards), Timo Sivula (drums and percussion) and Tero Arteli (vocals). Their new CD is called Tuntematon Sotilas, and in a rare press release by the band we learn that Aardvark' has changed quite a lot since our first album Nocturnal Mammal and the Kalevala project.

The current status and whereabouts of this Finnish act is unknown at the time of writing.

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AARDVARK' discography

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AARDVARK' top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Nocturnal Mammal
3.38 | 12 ratings
Tuntematon Sotilas

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tuntematon Sotilas by AARDVARK' album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.38 | 12 ratings

Tuntematon Sotilas
Aardvark' Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Today is a major national celebration day in Finland, our independence day. One of its traditions (which I personally don't care about) is to watch from the TV the black & white film classic Tuntematon sotilas (=The Unknown Soldier) directed by Edwin Laine. It's based on Väinö Linna's famous war novel, fictional work about Finnish soldiers fighting against Russians in WW2. And this album is also an hommage to that book.

The 5-piece band AARDVARK' - which debuted in 2000 with an album I have never seen anywhere - were quite obscure during their existence, nor are the members' names familiar to me from other connections. The music is mostly instrumental, and it has a retro sound with organ and electric + acoustic guitars, and often a very tasty bass as Evolver points out. One could be fooled to believe this was released in mid-70's when bands like TABULA RASA, FANTASIA, NOVA, NIMBUS and KAAMOS were carrying the slowly dying torch of Finnish progressive rock. If it was, it would most likely be considered a classic Finn-prog album nowadays.

The sound is solid and bright, and the compositions have a lot of complex time signatures right out of the unwritten guide of prog composing, without getting very epic/symphonic though. Repetitious melodic structures sometimes remind me of (the early to mid-70's) CAMEL but in a harder-rocking format. The lyrics are in Finnish. Timo Arteli's tight, masculine and perhaps slightly stiff vocals also sound retroish somehow. It's fortunate the album is instrumentally oriented, I certainly prefer the instrumental tracks; especially the jazz-flavoured 10½-minute 'Ei taivahassa oo kuolonvaaraa, ei kyyneleitä, ei yötäkään' is gorgeous.

Surely not the most original, but shamefully forgotten and obscure band that still deserves to be listened to. 3½ stars.

 Tuntematon Sotilas by AARDVARK' album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.38 | 12 ratings

Tuntematon Sotilas
Aardvark' Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Apparently this Finnish group had been around since the 90's, having recorded a very hard to find album in 2000, ''Nocturnal mammal''.They had a good shot to be known though some years later, when Mellow Records released their second offering ''Tuntematon sotilas'', inspired by the novel of Finnish writer Vaino Linna ''Unknown soldier'', dedicated to 95,000 Finnish people, who died during World War II.The line-up was Ari Naappa on guitar/mandolin, Riku Luostan on keyboards, Juha Sarkioja on bass, Timo Sivula on drums and Tero Arteli on vocals.What is amazing is that the album was recorded individually in different places: Luostan recorded his keyboard parts in his farm in New Zealand, Sivula performed the drums in a studio in Singapore, while the rest of the members were located in their homecountry.

Musically Aardvark seem to have been influenced by the harder side of Progressive Rock, having evident 70's references and sounding very close to Norwegians ADVENTURE, although the symphonic textures are less pronounced and the focus is on the punchier side of progressive music.Still the retro feeling is obvious throughout an album, which is filled with excellent Hammond organ, orchestral Mellotrons and impressive synthesizers.Combine these textures with an energetic guitarist, who seems fond of putting some gears in composition, a solid rhythm section and a raw but expressive vocalist, singing his lines only in Finnish, to get a picture of the band.Very nice music, which contains lots of long, instrumental parts with mascular electric guitars but also some strong keyboard ideas with respect to the analog sound, while the singing parts are also very consistent with good choruses.Aardvark did not forget to add some well-crafted acoustic tunes and decent melodies among their most powerful moments to complete a diverse listening.The rhythmic lines and the background symphonic keyboards are propably the best offerings from this talented band in a bunch of well-composed and energetic tracks.

The long distance between Aaardvark's members was propably the reason the group stopped its activity to this work.A nice, dynamic and passionate example of Retro-drenched Progressive Rock with cool guitar and keyboard ideas.Recommended.

 Tuntematon Sotilas by AARDVARK' album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.38 | 12 ratings

Tuntematon Sotilas
Aardvark' Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars This album by Aardvark' (How does one pronounce the apostrophe?) manages to draw me in without overwhelming me. There is nothing on it that strikes me as particularly virtuosic, but the band's use of odd time signatures and phrases is at very least intriguing.

The songs stay in the somewhat hard rock realm, with the above mentioned time changes and prog flourished added on top. At times, mostly during vocal passages (none of which I can understand, as they are sung in Finnih), the group lays back too much, but only in one song, Koskelan Taisto is that much of a detriment.

In fact, despite the criticisms, I really do enjoy this group's style, especially the passages with overlaid bass tracks (how to attract other bass players).

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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