Monday, September 16, 2013


Svart Records

Talk about perfect timing folks. Finland's Seremonia will be releasing their second full-length album, "Ihminen" (Finnish for "human"), just in time for Halloween!  All of you ghouls and goblins should appreciate that fact and embrace this release with open arms. Instead of being candy for the kiddos this Halloween treat is for all the grow-ups who have outgrown the costumes, but still long to celebrate All Hallows' Eve. What makes this album such a treat? Let's take a magic carpet ride with this female-fronted band and find out. Seremonia (Finnish for "ceremony") rely on the unearthly combination of (heavy) psychedelic rock (late 60's/early 70's style), prog rock, doom metal and proto-punk to do the "talking" as their uniquely-flavored rock is sung entirely in their native language! That need not be a problem though as evident on "Ihminen". The lead vocals of Noora Federley give the band a haunting and slightly ghoulish quality. Hence the Halloween association. But, to peg them as just a "seasonal" band would be a wicked crime as this band's creepy brand of psychedelic rock is easily something to be enjoyed all year long!  Now, the group's lead vocalist Noora Federley is cool and all (she has more of a raw, real garage rock and roll style going on) it's doubtful she could sell such acid-soaked rock all by herself. That's where a skilled band comes into play. You have Teemu Markkula who handles it all (or so it seems). He plays electric and acoustic guitars, delivers the goods thanks to his use of the synthesizer and (finally) provides backing vocals as well! That sounds like a lot right? Well, the guys that back up Noora are as good as they come! In addition to Teemu Markkula you also have Ville Pirinen (electric guitars, synthesizer and backing vocals), Erno Taipale (drums, flute and guitar) and last, but certainly not least, Ilkka Vekka  (bass and synthesizer). All of these fine gentlemen, with maybe the exception being Teemu Markkula, are veteran heavy metal musicians. The thing is the list (of who's who and where they played before this band and where they are also currently playing) is way too long to type up! As such I'll just leave that part as homework. If you are really curious just hit up the Metal Archives and they'll have all the info you need (and then some) as it's all spelled out there. Meanwhile this band, and their often fuzzy delivery, just rocks on and on and on and on. That's a huge amount of rocking I know, but that's the one thing you'll definitely take away from this Finnish group. They know how to keep things rocking even if the music throws in the occasional curve balls like Erno's spacey flute parts. Why it is that I always think of Jethro Tull, or more specifically Ian Anderson, when I hear flutes in rock music I do not know. Either way the flute playing here is cool while also different. It fits their style though so Seremonia knows how to make it work just like the rest of their instruments. Back to the album we should, or really must, go and it's worth mentioning  that after it's all said and done you might walk away from this album a bit hazy from all the smoke (if you know what I mean) and lost since your concepts of space and time have been thrown to the curb! First of all smoke-engulfed acid rock does that, but introducing some slightly ghoulish doom to the mix results in a serious head rush! On one hand Seremonia are one of those bands where it feels like you're having a flashback through space and time. That's cool and all, but what's funny is that while this same music invokes another time and what not it also has enough of a modern quality that it never feels as if it's out of place on today's stage. So, while you explore a band that is obsessed with the sounds of acid rook and 70's doom, which this band has down pat, you can simultaneously add this album to your upcoming Halloween playlist and make your party a serious happening since this album also comes packed with some fresh new rock riffs!  Everything about this band and album I love. And yes, that includes the skeleton on the cover which reminds me of the great Mexican rudo La Parka! Does that mean that I am possibly looking at another addition to my year-end best-of list? That might very well be the case.

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