torstai 22. syyskuuta 2011

Somnivore review at HEX Magazine

Clergy of Oneiros
Anima Arctica, 2007
Review by Henry Lauer

True to their name, Finnish experimentalists Somnivore have served up a dream-laden sonic voyage with their album Clergy of Oneiros. Using found sounds, samples, noisescapes, and a stately sense of drama, they’ve created an unsettling, absorbing, and subtle piece of otherworldly work.
In essence the soundtrack for a shamanic journey, the music weaves fragments of classical music, noise, chanting, percussion, some truly unique mouth harp, and all sorts of recognizable (and not) samples. The tapestry of sound flows smoothly, freely…yet also with that disjointed, constant segue that dreams exemplify.
If the overall effect, therefore, is something that could be called dark ambient music, then so be it. Atmosphere is the order of the day, but the album doesn’t conjure dark horizons so much as the mercurial landscape of inner space and occult vision. Whether Gothic choirs, whirring buzzes, ritualistic drumming, or enigmatic, softly-spoken word, Somnivore never ceases in its hazy ramble through the landscape of the midnight hour.
This is an album for dreamers, trance-explorers, and mystics. It feels primal, like a lake buried deep beneath the earth, cold and still and resonant with the distant sounds filtering through the Underworld. Although there is enough repetition and structure to keep the ear engaged, the album continually opens and closes doors into dreaming and forgetfulness. At times it can be an unsettling experience.
Clergy of Oneiros is not for every listener, being clad in shadow and eerie gloom. As an aid for trance, meditation, and inner exploration, however, it seems extremely well suited. Recommended for those with an ear for atmosphere, magic, and liminality of mood.

keskiviikko 21. syyskuuta 2011

MAA, Tervahäät, Pyhä Kuolema T-shirts!

Pyhä Kuolema logo shirt

Tervahäät logo & tree

MAA, logo & birds
(these are leftovers from MAA concert, only a couple left, more soon!)

tiistai 20. syyskuuta 2011

Pyhä Kuolema

...while waiting the debut album to arrive from the press... here is the brand new Pyhä Kuolema logo!
T-shirts (black w/ white print) available from the Anima Arctica shop

"Saavun vaikken kulkisi"

1. linnun laulu I
2. nuori maa
3. tuhat kuolemaa sekunnissa
4. yöaika
5. pelkurin palkka on rakkaudettomuus
6. avaruusmies ja helvetinmies
7. ajattele minua
8. voimamies
9. linnun laulu II
10. syntymäpäivä
11. pyhän äidin kuolema
12. tanssi vainajille

maanantai 5. syyskuuta 2011

Hex Magazine review: Tervahäät

Review: Tervahäät

Anima Arctica, 2009
author: Henry Lauer

Picture the silhouettes of pine and birch, thick and dark, reflected in lake water. The sun has fallen to the sky’s edge, and a chill breath hovers on the air. You stand, feet bare on the earth, staring at the way the water distorts the reflection of the forest…and yet in its distortion the water also reveals a layer of hitherto obscured truth. Condense this moment into 35-odd minutes of music and you have Finnish band Tervahäät’s self titled release.
This deeply introspective experimental folk group are all about stately vistas daubed in shadow and mystery. Their music – heavy, distorted, slow-moving, yet folky and organic – invites beautiful, if unsettling, synaesthesia. A waking dream, like the journey of Orpheus into the Underworld. It is raw and vulnerable; at once personal and yet eternal.
Tervahäät’s album is mostly instrumental, woven from overdriven bass, atmospheric guitars, piano, a strangely soothing banjo, and some very creative and eerie found/junk percussion. The elements are spread minimally on the sound canvas, like an Impressionist painting of a winter scene. Our imaginations are invited to fill the gaps, to wander into Tervahäät’s cold but exquisite realm of inner space.
The occasional singing and spoken word vocals are half-wild, like a wolf mourning a broken heart. The lyrics are in Finnish so I cannot comment on their content, but the vocals perfectly compliment the music, which feels at once abrasive and majestic; pastoral and raw. Set again the vocals are occasional naturalistic samples, which are tastefully utilized.
This is not happy music, yet to say that it is depressive would be false. It does not convey the ecstatic melancholy of good doom metal, nor the love-lorn personal touch of some folk music. Instead, t resides in its own little space of dark animism, intimate yet foreboding. Despite the weight of the music, its atmospheric riches make it just as suited for background listening as for intensive focusing – I always admire such multi-faceted music.
Tervahäät is highly recommended for fans of folk music, ambient music, doom metal (although I stress that is is not metal by any stretch), and lovers of nature in its colder incarnations. It is not for those who cannot tolerate darkness and depth – the shallow and easily satisfied should look elsewhere. This album is both dark forest and reflective waters, and invites us to find ourselves in surprising new ways and places.