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29 Nov 2011

Review: Self Titled (Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa

Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa
Self Titled
Anima Arctica, 2007

Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa is a neofolk outfit from Finland. Their music is dreamy, earthy, and yet also muscular. It feels carved from hard wood, bristling with a raw and rough texture that feels good against one’s skin.

The heart of Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa lies in the triumvirate of acoustic guitars, electric bass, and masculine vocals. The guitars are powerful but subtle, often setting off in complementary rhythm parts that make for music that seems simple, yet shimmers with depth.

The bass work is prominent (just the way I like it), and expressive. It often serves to provide an almost melodic propulsion to the guitars’ alchemy. Take first track, “Nukahtaminen.” We open with just the guitars, hinting at something special. Then the bass (along with some lovely accordion) slams home. You feel it deep inside your belly, and it is a good feeling.

The visceral effect of this album – despite its cold-northern-forest resonances – is completed by the deep male vocals that take the music’s throne. The singing runs like warm tree sap across one’s ears, knitting together the otherwise largely rhythm-oriented arrangements with beautiful melodies. The singer’s strength of feeling gives the songs more than a hint of wildness, at times a jagged edge. It is all straight from the heart.

The combination of bodily presence, arboreal invocation, and impassioned singing makes for a very pleasant listening experience. Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa are a great band and this is a great album.

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