06 June 2007

The Hammers of the Underworld (CD Review)

Alamaailman Vasarat: Maahan (WolfGang)
www.vasarat.com
myspace.com/alamaailmanvasaratofficial

This is the soundtrack to a continent that exists only in the minds of the musicians. The band's name translates as "The Hammers of the Underworld" and their music follows the name's implications... sort of. Beats hammer at your head, but these beats are as much of brass as of the usual heavy-music tools of drums and guitars.

I don't have much info to go on; the band's website does have brief English-language track notes, though the CD's insert has no notes at all, just photo after photo of the musicians' ears. Seriously!

So the music is the focal point. From the frantic pace of "Helmi Otsalla" to the cello-heavy langour of Rooman Ruumiit" and the brief classical finale "Elukka," this album is unremittingly odd and entertaining, whether you consider it world music or ethnic punk or progressive rock or experimental brass or something else entirely.

This track is described thusly: "A snake brought the plague in the town. This one is 'straight up' dance song with a lot of Klezmer in it. It is also a story about snakes who try to assault one tiny town with a plague. Luckily this end badly for snakes so the town is saved, at least for now."

[mp3] Alamaailman Vasarat: Käärme toi ruton kaupunkiin
from the album Maahan


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