Thursday, 8 November 2012

Seremonia - ST (album review)

Imagine being held prisoner by a gang of children who deliberate your fate in a monotonous emotionless tone in a language you don't understand, every now and then one of them will glance at you, pitilessly.  Ah, now you're ready for Seremonia.

Seremonia is a psychedelic stoner doom band from Finland whose female vocalist sings entirely in her native language.  They prefer to throw some funk in with their doom-y riffs and that together with the singer's dreamy and distant vocal delivery make for some eerie and memorable performances.

Though the lyrics are in Finnish song titles like "Lusiferin Käärmeet" and "Antikristus 666" leave little doubt for English speaking listeners as to their subject matter or the vibe they are going for and manage to pull off.  The latter features whispered spoken word passages in an already eerily subdued song structure.  The chorus's multi-tracked vocals and lazy delivery make for one of the most chilling moments on the album, and it's catchy as hell.

There are numerous catchy and memorable moments including the two songs mentioned above and also two songs the band has shot some funny and creepy promos for "Rock'n'rollin Maailma" and "Uhrijuhla".  These are perhaps the most uptempo moments on the album with emotionally distant vocals woven over funky riffs.  "Aamuruskon Kaupunki" is another standout track and offers something else by the group entirely.

My one major criticism with this album is that it's too short.

For bands from non-English speaking countries there must be some tension when coming to the decision of which language to sing in because the truth is the majority of the rock/metal audience speaks English.  A lot Swedish bands, for example, will allow themselves one Svensk song (or song title) on an album, but just one.  To sing in one's native language is a risky proposition, but for Seremonia to do so was the right decision.  The distant vocal style blends perfectly with the fact that you (non-Finns) don't know what's being sung, adding to the atmosphere and tension.  But I've already dwelt too much on the language when the point is always the music itself and its overall impact.

My fear is that non-Finns may not give this band a chance and that they will miss out on one of the most unique listening experiences of the year.  The songs are built from good funky riffs and solid rhythm but completely draped over in an atmosphere of eerie danger and deranged evil.

They are an experience unto themselves, this is an album guaranteed to throw you into a specific mood that only the best doom albums can.

Highlights include: "Uhrijuhla" and "Antikristus 666"

Rating: 4.5/5

From: Finland

Genre: Psychedelic, Stoner, Doom, Occult Rock, Retro Rock

Reminds me of: Black Sabbath, Blizaro, Ghost, Goblin

1). Seremonia (0:48)
2). Uhrijuhla (2:23)
3). Rock'n'rollin Maailma (3:28)
4). Huutava Taivas, Kuiskaava Maa (3:41)
5). Aamuruskon Kaupunki (5:50)
6). Kosminen Ruumisvaunu (2:10)
7). Lusiferin Käärmeet (4:23)
8). Antikristus 666 (3:05)
9). Kiirastulen Tähtisumu (1:08)
10). Hautakiven Varjossa (4:32)
Total Run Time: 31:22

Release Date: September 14, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Being held at knifepoint in an old yellow school bus perched precariously on the edge of a mountain by the escaped inmates of New Bedlam's insane asylum for children.


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