Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Seremonia - Ihminen (album review)

Cover artwork by Seppo Kekäläinen.
Dead leaves scrape a nervous bone-dance across the splintered pavement in the chill breeze of night.  You adjust your collar as icy fingers tease the back of your neck.  You shudder.  Your pace quickens through the back alley as you check over your shoulder.  Nothing there.  You sigh in relief, turning your head back around as the hairs of your body begin to stand on end.  This is part of your fight or flight response, your body anticipating action, only it's too late.  The eerie eyed children are standing in front of you, blocking your path.  They have returned and this time they don't mean to menace you, they mean to destroy you.  This is Seremonia 2: the sequel.

On their second LP, Finnish quintet Seremonia is more direct, more to the point.  Where their self-titled debut wallowed in an anticipatory atmosphere, 'Ihminen' (Man or Human Being) is participatory, it delivers the coup de grace.  The dark and creepy vibes felt on the debut still show up on the follow-up, though not as often, like children as they grow up.  No, those creepy children staring up into bedroom windows on midnight streets from 'Seremonia'  [see the review here] have hit their teenage years and have become lost in their older siblings' punk records.

'Ihminen' is also a more substantial record than the first, tipping the scales at 11 songs and 42 minutes.  The first was a brisk, 10 song, 31 minute wham-bam affair that just never felt like enough.  It was like a Seinfeld episode where the band had to get in and get out as fast as possible while making as strong an impression as they could.  The songs on 'Ihminen' hang around a bit more and make merry.  It just so happens that Seremonia's idea of making merry pretty much resembles playfully popping eyeballs.  The opening riff of "Noitamestari" is like a declaration, the choppy, punky riff erupts like an electric needle in the eye of anybody expecting a dark and creepy melody.  I'm getting dangerously close to overstating the effect because this side of the band has always been nascent, though slow enough to disguise these leanings as doom.  The fact that this makes the album's "starting lineup" gives it the feel of a declaration.  And it's not just here, these sped-up punk leanings are apparent throughout the record.  It's somewhat ironic then that the songs on this album are so much bulkier than those on the self-titled.

Seremonia isn't content to simply punk it up from front to back on their sophomore album.  There's a host of styles on display, there's straight doom ["Itsemurhaaja"], folky moments ["Itsemurhaaja II"], the band's trademark creepy rock ["Hallava Hevonen" and "Ihminen"] and a Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd-ian track that takes the mood and elements of "Interstellar Overdrive" and crafts them into a more traditional song, and not just any song, but one of the standout tracks on the album ["Painajaisten Maa"].  The coming together of these styles with the emphasis on more uptempo numbers lends 'Ihminen' a strong Retro Rock flavor.  Finland has a few Retro Rock bands of their own, Dryasdust and Vinum Sabbatum among the best (and two of the best in the whole region of any style), Seremonia's latest album slots nicely into the category.  The lead-off single, released as a 7" single earlier in the year, "Ovi" is one of the punkier tracks on the album, but also has much of this Retro Rock appeal, as does it's follow-up on the album "Suuri Valkeus".  Seremonia's take on the sub-sub genre is tinted through the paisley colored lens of the sixties as opposed to the more typical hard rocking seventies stance taken by most bands in the field.

Finns are the life of the musical party.  Those nutty characters are always doing their own thing.  Seremonia is one of the nuttiest of them all.  On their second album, they seem to have settled down a little, adopting to a more traditional heavy rock sound, laying low on the highly suggestive atmospherics of their debut.  Perhaps this change was brought about to inject more energy into their live shows, I wouldn't know.  Either way, the change is a positive one, because the band hasn't abandoned their creepy side altogether.  Like creepy children, they have retained their familiar identity while adding layers and elements of a developing personality to become creepy teens and thus, Seremonia have turned in a hit sequel.

Highlights include: "Ovi" and "Ihminen"

Rating: 4.5/5

1). Noitamestari (2:07)
2). Itsemurhaaja (5:27)
3). Ovi (2:50)
4). Suuri Valkeus (2:44)
5). Painajaisten Maa (7:16)
6). Luonto Kostaa (3:45)
7). Ihminen (3:32)
8). Itsemurhaaja II (3:36)
9). Vastaus Rukouksiisi (2:10)
10). Tähtien Takaa (4:11)
11). Hallava Hevonen (5:05)
Total Run Time: 42:38

Noora Federley - vocals
Teemu Markkula - guitar
Ville Pirinen - guitar
Erno Taipale - drums, flute
Ilkka Vekka - bass

From: Finland

Genre: Psychedelic, Doom, Hard Rock, Retro Rock, Punk

Reminds me of: Dryasdust, Pink Floyd

Release Date: October 18, 2013

Seremonia on facebook


You can also find 'Ihminen' on itunes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...