|Review: Ajattara - Tyhjyys|
Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2004
Review online: October 9, 2006
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 4/5 (80%) (7 Votes)
Coming quickly after their 2003 offering 'Kuolema', former Amorphis vocalist Pasi Koskinen (or Ruoja as he is known here) returns with the third effort from Finnish three-piece Ajattara. From the album cover art, you would perhaps expect ultra evil sounding black metal, but what is served up is something rather different.
Similarly to their first two albums, mid to slow tempo simplistic riffing and song structuring is the dish of the day here, sounding in the main like The Great Deceiver and a more melancholic Godflesh butting heads with a few down-tuned Sabbath styled riffs thrown in for good measure. All of the above is swathed in a sea of synth (which never really gets overpowering thankfully), and is accompanied with At the Gates styled vocals with fully Finnish lyrics, which really helps to create some evil brooding atmospheres throughout the album. And you can tell that atmosphere is pretty much what the band are all about, very dark, moribund and grim, although not quite slow enough throughout the album to be summed up musically by the 'doom' tag.
There are a couple of times in the album when soaring clean vocals are used to great effect, most notably in the tracks 'Naaras' and 'Langennut', both are again used in a (dare I say it without giving the wrong impression) very Fear Factory-esque manner. However, please don't be put off by the Fear Factory reference; Ajattara are definitely 100% more 'black' than 'nu'. Although no particular songs stand out to me as being more enjoyable than others, the intro and outro tracks are well above average for intro/exit music. They bookend the album nicely, bringing to mind some sort of post-apocalyptic world where corrugated sheet metal replaces earth, and massive electrical thunderstorms fill the blackened sky. Understandably, the album title 'Tyhjyys' means 'Emptiness' in English, which should say it all really.
In summary, I'd say that although the album is worth a look and is above average in many respects, it's also not particularly outstanding in any areas, and misses that certain spark to really get the blood pumping.
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