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Höyry-Kone - Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa CD (album) cover

HYÖNTEISIÄ VOI RAKASTAA

Höyry-Kone

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.86 | 72 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars One of the more extremely wild and bizarre bands to come out of Finland's progressive rock scene was the eclectic and impossible to categorize HÖYRY-KONE (Finnish for Steam Engine) formed in 1991 and only released two albums before sort of morphing into the band Alamaailman Vasarat (Finnish for Hammers of the Underworld). Founded by Jussi Kärkkäinen (guitar) and Teemu Hänninen (drums), the band went through various changes before the lineup settled with Kärkkäinen, Hänninen, Jarno Sarkula (bass), Tuomas Hänninen (guitar), Topi Lehtipuu (vocals), Jukka Hannukainen (vocals and keys), Nina Lehos (oboe), and Marko Manninen (cello) who all played on the band's debut album HYÖNTEISIÄ VOI RAKASTAA (Insects Can Love).

HÖYRY-KONE was truly in a world of its own. With a musical appetite perhaps only matched by the American bands Mr Bungle or Estradasphere, these Finns found a way to mix and meld the angular sonic storms of King Crimson, the chamber rock in opposition of Univers Zero, quirky Zappa-esque arrangements, gypsy folk, polka rhythms, heavy metal, opera and unpredictable jazz and classical fusions. This was a band all about left field stylistic shifts that can only be explained as unrestrained and utterly unpredictable where every track takes you on a completely new demented journey. Add to that the excellent instrumental interplay that is impeccably delivered and it's a no brainer that this is one of the most unique musical journeys out there.

Starting out as some sort of post-punk polka prog with avant-choral vocals on "Örn," the stylistic shifts waste no time with the following "Raskaana" which showcases a mopey avant-prog musical workout with lyrics sung in a lackadaisical manner. All titles and lyrics on the album are performed in the band's native Finnish, but the intro track continues as it bursts into a spastic free flow of what sounds like the Talking Heads freaking out on drugs but then reverts back to a rather chilled pace again. "Pannuhuoneesta" is perhaps the freakiest of all with a series of bizarre sonic weirdness before adopting a polka-esque gypsy swing groove that implements a series of stop / start stylistic shifts that sound like a swarm of angry hornets. The vocals on this one are spoken.

While the dreamy placidity of "Luottamus" is a more mellow violin dominated slower number, "Kaivoonkatsoja" and "Hyönteiset" break out the heavy metal twin guitar heft although the orchestral touches of the violin, cello and oboe are never far behind. Of all the tracks on board "Hätä" is the one that comes closest to King Crimson's "Red" period with the crisp dissonant angularity of the guitar performances with a beefed up bass bravado that provides the anchoring support while the guitars freeform and drift in and out of the overall groove fo things. It also displays some of the most frenetic time signature workouts in an album that is stuffed to the gill with progressive excesses.

"Myrskynmusiiikkia" which translates into "Storm Music" is very much a turbulent cacophonous roar of the guitars but also offers glimpses of calm between the storms with Topi Leehtipuu's outstandingly clean operatic vocals that take the album to a completely different level. His style of singing is closest to the symphonic prog greats of the Italian rock scene and balances the rough and tumble experimental instrumental touches with a connection to the more melodic strains of the Rock Italiano Progressivo scene. The track concludes with the same raucousness that began but the true breakdown into pure chaos emerges with the ending "Hyönteiset" which wends and winds with weird vocals styles trading off and then climaxes with a thrashy metal guitar attack, a few seconds of silence and then a spastic explosive delivery of pure avant-garde chaos.

HYÖNTEISIÄ VOI RAKASTAA is an amazingly wild roller coaster ride of disparate sounds that conspire to make an utterly brilliantly unique album and one that offers enough variations as well as a nice mix of the melodic and off-kilter avant-garde to create a satisfying listen that never gets old. While HÖYRY-KONE would tame things down a bit for the second release "Huono Parturi," the band goes for the avant-garde jugular on this wild and wacky first offering. While many prefer the tamer sophomore album, i am absolutely blown away by this uncompromising mix of relentless adventurous juggling of styles. While similar only in its uncompromising idiosyncratic delivery system with bands like Mr Bungle, Estradasphere and even Zappa, the truth is nobody has ever sounded like HÖYRY-KONE. This was a one of a kind act! This album was deliciously designed for the musical adventurous and if that's what you've been craving then this will satisfy every step of the way.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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