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Alamaailman Vasarat - Vasaraasia CD (album) cover

VASARAASIA

Alamaailman Vasarat

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.26 | 58 ratings

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AFlowerKingCrimson
3 stars I just heard the sad news regarding the passing of Alamaailman Vasarat's Jarno Sarkula at the age of 47. He was the saxophone player (alto and tenor) for the band who's name translates to "hammers of the underworld" in English.

I am not typically a huge fan of RIO or avant garde music but can appreciate it when it is done well. Even in a genre where musicians strive to be original Alamaailman Vasarat strike me as being a pretty unique band. They are all instrumental with saxophone, trombone, keyboards(including pump organ and grand piano), cellos and drums.

My personal story with the band began in 2003 when they played the fifth edition of the North East Art Rock Festival(or Nearfest for short). I didn't really know much about them but did see them mentioned online about a year or two prior to their appearance at Nearfest. I thought they were good and unique and liked how they were able to get an almost heavy metal sound with no guitars. Instead the distorted cellos provide the metal element. I wound up talking to some of the members outside and also inside the venue where most of them(including Jarno)autographed my copy of their first album.

This is probably the kind of album you have to listen to more than once to appreciate. It works as both background music and music you can pay closer attention to. While there isn't necessarily a whole lot of variation in sound there are some tracks which are more light and mellow and then others which are more energetic and typically feature the use of distorted cellos. If one didn't know any better they could easily be fooled into thinking they were guitars. In fact this band could maybe even be considered heavy metal klezmer music if such a thing existed and if it doesn't well I suppose this band are the first to do such a thing.

Needless to say, Alamaailman Vasarat were one of the more interesting bands of Nearfest that year(along with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Magma). As such this is a worthy album for those who don't mind stepping outside of the box of normal prog from time to time. If you are already a fan of RIO and Avant but don't know this band then you should definitely check them out.

AFlowerKingCrimson | 3/5 |

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