Vorna - Ajastaika
Inverse Records
Melodic Black Metal / Folk Metal
11 songs (53:72)
Release year: 2013
Inverse Records
Reviewed by Metalette
Surprise of the month

Finnish band Vorna is off to a strong start with their debut album Ajastaika! Even on this first record, a truly unique sound is apparent in their music. Though this album has a predominantly symphonic, black metal style with folk elements, there’s a magic in the details that gives Vorna a distinctive edge. Right away, the vocals are extremely strong, ranging from intensely deep growling to gut-ripping, higher growls. There are even the occasional clean vocals, which sound great every time they are featured.

A wide array of instruments are used in the music, from flute to harp to accordion, and there is a consistently full, orchestrated sound. I think there might even be some pan-pipes at some point… Many songs seem to feature a particular instrument – like bells tolling along to the melody in Ukkonen or the organs that show up in Hiiden taival – but of course all the songs include ambient orchestration to back the music. While featuring swampy artwork (a really cool album cover, by the way) and the sounds of rain and sloshing through mud in some of the tracks, the use of the folksy and symphonic instruments results in, for me, visions of woodland meadows and northern forest serenity. Maybe I need to take a total re-listen or something, but that’s the effect Ajastaika has on me and I really like it.

From what I know of Finnish culture (mostly thanks to metal bands and The Dudesons), I think the album also captures essences of Finnish-ness, and the harshness and beauty of Finnish nature, especially. On the last track, Muisto, I believe there is the distinct sound of the crunching of footsteps through snow, and then if I’m not mistaken, shortly after there are the clinks of what one could assume to be bottles of Vodka. A shot in the dark perhaps, but regardless, both Muisto and the intro track Taakse jää conjure vivid imagery of the land of the midnight sun.

Besides the beauty of the more exotic, symphonic sounds, the use of acoustic guitar in Ajastaika is amazing. Not only are there many interludes of acoustic picking or strumming – which add fantastic depth and intricacy – but there is also a surprising combination of acoustic guitar under the typical distortion. For some reason this absolutely fascinates me; in Ikuiseen iltaan an acoustic guitar picks through a gorgeous melody and continues underneath blast beats and fast, distorted strumming.

My favorite song on Ajastaika is Kaivatan uni. It’s got harps and acoustic guitar right in the beginning, mixed with black metal-esque strumming in the verse, and some noble, folksy guitar riffs thrown in. But the real kicker in this song for me comes a few minutes in, with a jaunty, accordion-lead beat to which I simply must dance in my chair. Just you try not to dance when you hear it; you’ll see.

I already am anxious to hear more from Vorna, after such a dynamic debut album!

Killing Songs :
Kaivantan uni, Muisto, Harhan Liekki
Metalette quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Vorna that we have reviewed:
Vorna - Ei valo minua seuraa reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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