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Alamaailman Vasarat


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Alamaailman Vasarat Kaarmelautakunta album cover
3.66 | 77 ratings | 10 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Kivitetty Saatana (4:48)
2. Vasaraasialainen (5:50)
3. Pelko Antaa Siivet (3:59)
4. Hamarapuolella (5:15)
5. Astiatehdas (3:10)
6. Vanha Lapsuudenystva (6:14)
7. Olisimme Uineet Vielakin Pidemmalle (5:44)
8. Lentava Mato (3:41)
9. Jaa, Hyva Mieli (6:00)

Total Time: 43:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Jarno Sarkula / Soprano saxophone, Tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
- Tuukka Helminen / cello
- Teemu H?nninen / drums and percussion
- Miikka Huttunen / pump organ, grand piano
- Erno Haukkala / trombone, slide trumpet, tuba
- Marko Manninen / cello

Releases information

CD Silence Records SLC 014 (2003)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Anthony H. for the last updates
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ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Kaarmelautakunta ratings distribution

(77 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Kaarmelautakunta reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Another really intriguing urban landscape artwork cover over a superbly packaged digipack from the Swedish label Silence, announcing a second album from those crazy Finns. In here , AV manage to make their sophomore more worthy and more exciting and more artistically interesting album than the debut. The music is still very much sounding alike to their debut: the line-up is almost the same, but they've added a second cello with Helminen, which is determinant to the group's sound enhanced but still totally acoustic (maybe some pedals effects here and there) sound. Käärmelautakunta is relatively darker and slower than its predecessor, because the group chose to expand on the darker side, rather than the upbeat breakneck-speed polkas. This generally gives fewer but longer tracks (9 instead of 13 in the debut), which are generally more progressive as well.

This double cello-metal was a real novelty here, as they manage sometimes to sound like an all-acoustic death-metal band, and I can tell you that this is still majorly impressive. If I used the past tense, it's because since this album's release, the concept was copied and over-exploited since, so the pioneering dimension of AV might escape to some. Some of those speeded-up rhythms make you believe that there is an evil-doomed axemen accompanying the band but no everything is acoustic except maybe the effects pedals. The way of recording the cello is simply incredible and who knows where exactly they place the micros inside the cello. Elsewhere and throughout the album, the Zappa satire of the debut has segued a bit to more UZ gloom.

The album opens on effect pedal-deformed music, before unleashing Crimson-like crunchy riffs given by the trombone and sax over the now-doubled bass cello drones, while its follow-up is Gypsy/Jewish jazz. I find that the early part of the album is not as interesting as its later half, as the next few tracks retread what's been previously said in their debut album.. Astiatehdas is probably the most impressive cello-metal tune, one played at breakneck speed, but outside the cellos bits, it's little more than a super fast Gypsy jazz track. The slowly crescendoing Lapsuudenystava is again treading on the Gypsy grounds, but its masterful build peaks in the last minute. Olisimme is another cool and constantly evolving track, while the demented Lentava Mato is the fastest track on the album, driven by Hanninen's craziest of drumming, but unfortunately hammers again the Gypsy jazz nail once more, instead of striking a different chord. As they had done in the debut album, they chose again to finish their album with a very dramatic track Hyva Mieli, where the two inferno-cellos are making Metallica sound like a bunch of softies. Excellent track to end the album on.

All together a more inspired album than their debut, this could have been even better if that operatic-voice singer of Hoyry Kone had participated. Indeed I reiterate my wish to have at least one or two tracks sung with this kind of music to break up the monotony - although I don't mean it the way Nurinio would in their future collaboration. Some might be a bit tired at the end of such an album, because on the length, this type of music can be monotonous, no matter how it is played or brilliantly executed, partly because of its complexity, but also this endless revisitation of the same Eastern European Gypsy/Jewish musical realm. Indeed AV is hardly the first (and probably not the last either) in this niche, as there is Miriodor, Interference Sardine, Rouge Ciel in Quebec alone, not even mentioning Belgium or even Sweden/Finland. But AV does have its distinctive traits to avoid sounding like the rest of them and if you want just one album of their, Käärmelautakunta is the one to get, because all you need is one of their albums as so far up to Mahaan, they sound pretty well the same, a bit too much for comfort and owning a second album.

Review by progmonster
4 stars To this point, their best effort yet. On "Käärmelautakunta" they weren't afraid anymore at going in the most extreme directions, expanding the ways of their previous release. Alamaailman Vasarat at their wildest, really ; now the guitar parts almost dominate the whole sound of the band and doesn't interfere in disparate tracks like they used to before. The album gains on energy but young blood and amplified distorted guitar do not necessarily means strong music. On "Käärmelautakunta" however it is the case ; an album full of twists and turns, and a sonic palette that includes cello, trumpet, trombone, pump organ and so on. If you liked the craziness of Emir Kusturica's movies, you will find entering in Alamaailman Vasarat's world is quite easy. A sense of drama, a sense of fair, a sense of music that likes to tickle the boundaries of contemporary music. Thus, a sense of prog.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I have to go against the grain on this one (shocking, I know) and try to explain why you should spend your hard earned money elsewhere. I know you have found this band by the nearly unanimous glowing reviews all over the Web. It's amazing. Doing some research I have checked all over the place and every prog reviewer from here to Saturn thinks this album is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Since it's likely that makes me delusional I may as well proceed with my dissent as briefly as I can.

AV's unique Finnish acoustic chamber jazz-metal sound is very interesting at first and I can understand the excitement this generates. The best spin I ever had with this album was the first and it goes down hill with each subsequent play. The gimmick of the unusual sound approach is enticing initially but I have found that the interest is not sustained over the long run. I actually find that the highly repetitive and quirky melodies get downright annoying the more I listen. These songs are far more effective as soundtrack to the cute videos the band has at their website. But as a progressive music album in my collection I do not see this as a compelling selection.

"Kivitetty Saatana" starts the album with perhaps the most annoying melody, dragging and repetitive and predictable beginning to end. Same with "Vasaraasialainen" which begins with a bouncy little jig that repeats and repeats. To its credit, this song does have a little breather in the middle for some solo cello before the nightmarish main melody returns. "Pelko Antaa Siivet" is one of the good songs, where they nix the silly formula for an honest and thoughtful display of their fine instrumental abilities. The track exudes a feeling of loneliness and confinement that plays right to the fine cover art. If the album were more like this song we'd be in better shape. "Hamarapuolella" begins and ends with another irritating repetition but features some nice playing in between. At one point they manage a noise that you would swear is a distorted electric guitar, very cool considering there is no guitar present. "Astiatehdas" attempts an acoustic speed metal of sorts that is cool the first time and painfully boring by the fifth time. "Vanha Lapsuudenystava" starts promising with a nice piano/cello exploration but falls into the same repetition and gets annoyingly faster and denser towards the end which just detracts so much-I'm not sure why they insist on this approach. To sound hip or edgy? "Olisimme" is another mess. "Lentava Mato" is a super fast chamber jam that amounts to little. "Jaa, Hyva Mieli" is one final exercise in tedium with yet another heavy consistent chug through most of it and nothing memorable to cut through it.

The dominant feel of the music is one of playful mischievousness and certainly this can be a good thing sometimes. Here I feel that we have some talented guys who are relying on this fashionable sound they have birthed and they just play it to death. I think they have potential to try something more thoughtful and less cute down the road. I can't recommend this album to anyone I'm afraid. But keep in mind that the other 7 billion people on the planet love this so you'd best not take my word for it.

Review by Moatilliatta
4 stars This album is great. The group has a unique sound, made more possible by the instruments they use. Somehow they make acoustic instruments sound very dark and heavy - even distorted. I've been told they are exclusievly acoustic, but I swear some of this stuff sounds like it has added distortion. If they pulled off that sound naturally, I am very impressed. This album shows that Alamaailman Vasarat is a worthy successor to Hoyry Kone. It's still quirky, though the operatic side is gone, ostensibly because they don't have the vocalist from before. The songs can be fun, angry, sad, even melodic. It's very good, but I still see some room for improvement.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Finnish band plays metal/Balkan folk/klezmer/60-70-s movie soundtracks/classic and even jazz. All in one. In fact I like this music.

Whenever Apocalyptica some time ago opened for Finnish bands the way and formula to success, it is nothing strange to hear mostly classic strings sound there. More interesting is what for they are used. Not only pseudo-power metal sound, but many other styles, from all over the world. Great drumming, piano and brass adding to strings all are making the music much more different and dynamic.

It is possible to group album songs for few groups by stylistic similarity. First, Apocalyptica-influenced metal string attacks. Second - John Zorn influenced pseudo movie soundtracks ( to classic movies from your ( or possibly my) childhood)). Third - Balkan street bands, Goran Bregovič and klezmer influenced songs. This category often attract listener because of it's hot emotions and rhythms, but don't try to find deep interpretations of this music there. It sounds quite "on the surface", rootless, what isn't too strange for musicians from cold Finland.

All groups of songs sound quite interesting, but not too much connected between each other. Another problem, inside of the same group, songs are quite similar. So, being very eclectic, album is more collection of average ( and average +) songs. Even if many RIO bands (I believe under Masada and other Zorn's projects influence) started to mix same components at the late 90-s- early 00's, this album represents quite successful version of it. Around 3,5.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second Alamaailman Vasarat album diversifies their style a bit. Their core business is still jagged gypsy folk with a punk-energy shot, but the intensity and tempos vary a bit more then on the debut. Strangely enough, the variation doesn't remove the impression that this band remains a one-trick stop.

The great thing about the album, and this type of Kletzmer folk music in general, is how immediate and catchy it is. Alamaailman Vasarat adds a (very) light RIO avant-garde touch to the music, adding some dissonance, sonic experimentations, interesting harmonic arrangements and of course their 'saxophone-metal' trick as evident on the sweeping Astiatehdas and the heavy Jaa, Hyva Mieli, which are, due to the more original approach, the two highlights of the album. But generally I find their music less dynamic and adventurous then the original world music that they were inspired by.

On top of that, Alamaailman Vasarat also let go of an essential feature of this type of music, namely heartfelt intensity. A few vivacious moments not withstanding, this music bears none of the passion and emotional turmoil that usually defines Kletzmer music. I only have to play a couple of minutes from a Turkish artist like Selim Sesler to hear how cold and calculated Käärmelautakunta sounds.

A nice listen but there's little to discover behind the pleasant façade, not from a musical perspective, nor emotionally. Hardly 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Alamaailman Vasarat - Käärmelautakunta Well, there's honestly not much to say about this one. It's Alamaailman Vasarat, and it's good. Basically, the sound Alamaailman Vasarat encompasses, for those unaware, is one of a heavy, horn-induced drug overdose in the desert (for the Eastern elements o ... (read more)

Report this review (#171111) | Posted by Figglesnout | Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With their sophomore album "Käärmelautakunta", Alamaailman Vasarat stay true the basis of their first album, but change things up just enough to make it a more enjoyable listen. This album follows in the footsteps of the longer and slower (and actually more beautiful) songs from the debut. The r ... (read more)

Report this review (#126236) | Posted by Arsillus | Monday, June 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 01. Kivitetty Saatana (8/10) 02. Vasaraasialainen (9/10) 03. Pelko Antaa Siivet (9/10) 04. Hamarapuolella (10/10) 05. Vanha Lapsuudenystava (7.5/10) 06. Olisimme Uineet Vielakin Pidemmalle (8.5/10) 07. Lentava Mato (10/10) 08. Jaa, Hyva Mieli (8/10) Kaarmelautakunta is a more profe ... (read more)

Report this review (#41885) | Posted by | Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Acoustic death metal, or so they say, is the original and completely crazy style definition of RIO band Alamaailman Vasarat, insane finnish people with a very unusual perception about music, a clear view of a strange all-acoustic combo, with a very electric point of view, and it's still hard t ... (read more)

Report this review (#32733) | Posted by Minstrel X | Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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