Ajattara - Noitumaa
Spikefarm Records
Blackened acoustic folk
9 songs (30:05)
Release year: 0
Ajattara, Spikefarm Records
Reviewed by Charles
I really dig Finntroll’s Visor Om Slutet; the EP where they dumped the electricity in order to produce a record full of acoustic folk music, ideal for drinking around a campfire in the Scandinavian wilderness. Well, I say I liked it, but actually whenever I play it what I’m really thinking is “this is all very well, but if only they were to replace the actual melodies with hypnotic, quasi-chanted vocals, bizarre moaning noises, minimalist percussive loops, and generally make it sound so batshit that it could very well be recorded by Hieronymous Bosch nightmares hopping around a giant three-eyed foot with their heads between their knees and goblins leaping out of their mouths”.

Well, if you’ve ever felt the same, fear not, because Ajattara have released their acoustic album and your wishes have been granted. Not being familiar with their previous work, I gather that they inhabit the more experimental realms of black metal, but Noitumaa appears to be something pretty unique. It’s “unplugged”, of course, but these acoustic riffs could easily be translated into electric ones, as they clunking and heavy. The opening of Ikuisen aamun Sara, for example, seems to be imitating black metal tremolo picking on the acoustic, and in this respect is uncomfortably reminiscent of Impaled Northern Moonforest. But these moments that don’t work are in a tiny minority. Ruoja’s vocals have paid admirably little heed to the conventions of switching from electric to acoustic, and could probably be dumped right into the middle of a raging riffstorm without any alterations required. At times they almost assume the air of a rap, albeit it a pretty bizarre one, with their mesmerizingly repetitive rhythms. Percussion is skeletal, consisting mainly of enthusiastic background tapping and banging, but is in fact rarely required when the guitars themselves have such rhythmic drive.

At times this is totally compelling. Saatana palvoo meita is probably the most headbanging acoustic piece I have ever heard. The album is actually really funny, owing to the sheer oddness of the sound, and I assume this is part of the point of it. It works perfectly as boozy folk music, but the inexplicably black metal riffs, as well as the assorted odd additions such as the zombie-like moaning in Sakeita riippuneesta lihasta ensure that any induced stupors are likely to be infested with nightmares. Lammas is most unsettling of all, with slow, funereal twanging being shadowed by bowed double base, sounding like a lullaby for Rosemary’s Baby.

This is a total oddity, and the kind of thing you could fall in love with, if you were of a slightly unstable disposition. It’s one of the more interesting acoustic albums of recent times, at any rate.

Killing Songs :
Saatana palvoo meita, Mita kuolema parantaa?
Charles quoted
Other albums by Ajattara that we have reviewed:
Ajattara - Murhat reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Ajattara - Itse reviewed by Joe and quoted 70 / 100
Ajattara - Kuolema reviewed by Crims and quoted 83 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:00 pm
View and Post comments