Release: 21 April 2023
Label: Label: Lifeforce Records
I’d never heard of Vorna before picking up “Aamunkoi” and giving it a spin. What a delightful surprise! If you have some time, listen to the first minute of the first track– it’s a real treat. They’re a six-member band, so the mix is well-saturated with diverse sounds often lumbering through the wilderness in atmospheric harmony. We’re deeply in the realm of atmospheric black metal, here: no verses and choruses, just straight up motifs running into each other and long-held chords carrying the listener from one realm to the next.
We’ve got clean and growly vocals, clean and crunch guitars, an amazing bass, and it’s all sprinkled over with whistles and strings and keyboard-driven folk sounds and carried forth by a skillfully-handled standard drum kit. The vocals stand out in their respective places in the mix and mesh well with the instruments. The clean ones, especially, have some real power to them. The bass (especially in “Hiljaisuus ei kestä” / “Silence Never Lasts” and “Aika pakenee” / “Time is Fading”) is also really exceptional. The guitar work is great, too, especially in “Kallioilla” / “On These Cliffs”. The keyboard strings are present in “Valo” / “The Light” and have a stately MicroKorg sound that I love.
For this review, I was supplied a version with Finnish and English lyrics, and if you’re into this genre and don’t speak Finnish, it’s definitely worth following along. “Aika pakenee” / “Time is Fading” has some poignant lyrics: “If you have come this far, atoned for your past, learned from your mistakes, celebrated life and witnessed it fade away, you realize nothing awaits you in the end … time was ever of the most value.” “Raja” / “The Point of No Return” says in an oddly inspiring way, “It is not too late to alter the course, even going against the current. This reality is one of many – not finality”. This is the good stuff that makes me wish I spoke Finnish.
It’s hard to pick a favorite track. “Meri” / “The Ocean” sounds appropriately oceanic, and the track sharing the title with the album (“Aamunkoi”– meaning ‘Dawn’ but can also refer to an aurora or the northern lights) has a lot of power and energy– and the lyrics drive an appropriately hopeful message. This is such a great problem to have and why the album rates so highly for existing in such a well-explored genre. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to check out their older work…
- Hiljaisuus ei kestä
- Harva päättää hyvästeistään
- Aika pakenee