It's not everyday you hear a new prog release that is so savage, so unrefined in its execution, yet so remarkably different and refreshing all at the same time. The sophomore recording from Finland's Alamaailman Vasarat are all these things and more, an instrumental behemoth of gigantic proportions that ironically uses no guitars to achieve their huge and aggressive sounds. The six members use a wide variety of instruments, including; sax, clarinet, pump organ, piano, trombone, trumpet, tuba, cello, drums, and percussion, but make no mistake about, these guys are as far from After Crying as you can imagine.
Much like a weird combination of traditional Finnish acoustic music and heavy metal, the band goes from bouncy romantic numbers to pieces of ominous brutality. "Vasaraasialainen" bops along pleasantly in an almost symphonic nature, with melodic horns and reeds providing the main lead instruments, but then the band moves into the somber "Pelko Antaa Siivet", a slow plodding number littered with dark organ, piano and cello. A song like "Hamarapuolella" starts off in charming Gentle Giant-like fashion, complete with irresistable sax and trombone lines, but then abruptly explodes into an almost metal-influenced mid-section, with distorted cello riffs, menacing organ, and manic sax excursions. Gentle Giant-meets-King Crimson-meets-Black Sabbath perhaps? Finnish speed metal with souped up, distorted cellos is the best way to describe "Astiatehdas", a manic rocker with evil sax and trombone melodies. The power that these guys display in this format is sheer brilliance. There are moments of soft jazz on the beautiful "Olisimme Uineet Vielakin Pidemmalle", as well as Zappa-influenced bombastic lunacy on the engaging "Lentava Mato." The real mind-bender is saved for last on the doom-laden dirge of "Jaa Hyva Mieli", a brutally heavy death march of distorted Sabbath/Candlemass cello riffs and mesmerizing sax melodies.
The most unique release of 2003? Perhaps. A CD that will surely appeal to both metal, prog, and jazz fans? Surely. A must hear for readers of this website? Absolutely!