Poropetra, formed in 2002 by Juha Jyrkäs, plays ethnic music with metal elements and this is their debut full-lenght. No, this album does not sound heavy. The metal touch can occasionally be heard in the compositions, electric guitars in the background and the creative drumming.
There is truly a lot going on in these songs. To give you a picture of what i mean, here's a list of the musicians and their instruments:
Elsa Pardonen - lower female vocals
Nancy - high female vocals
Juha Jyrkäs - main male vocals, throat-singing, yoik, 5- & 12-stringed kantele, distorted kantele-effects, cattle-calling bells, maracass, hands
Hittavainen - violin, electric & acoustic guitars, bass, mandoline, flutes & pipes, mouth harp
Kuuraparta - low male vocals, 12-stringed kantele, electric guitar, hands
Aapo Hopeakoski - drums, congas, udu, Tibetan singing bowl, spoons
All four singers differ greatly from each other and have personal voices, which can at first sound a bit odd when all of them are singing at the same time. All of them are fairly good, except Juha's singing sounds a bit crappy at first. He puts a lot of emotion into his singing, though, so it evens out. Elsa's singing is quite back in the mixing, so you can't hear her that often.
Due to the great amount of instruments, there is a lot to be heard here. Hittavainen must've spent a great amount of time on mixing & mastering, because everything seems to be in balance despite the unbelievable amount of stuff that's going on in these songs simultaneously. This also gives the album a lot more listens, because you'll keep noticing more and more stuff the more you listen to the album. It really hooks you in.
There is really no basic style on this album because of the vast amount of instruments used. Sometimes the music is simple & atmospheric with a sparse amount of instruments and repetitive melodies relying on moods, sometimes it's fast, beat-driven and sprawling. There are fast and happy parts and slow, atmospheric and even a bit sad parts - the music really delivers the moods and/of the lyrics (you can find the lyrics translated to english on their homepage). The main things are the rich use of instruments, which has been carried out in style without messing up the compositions and atmospheres, and that the songs are goddamn catchy. Kantele-melodies play a big part on this album, and the diverse percussions spice the songs up. Most of the time there is no individual instrument in the spotlight. Sometimes there may be a guitar- or a flute -solo, but the solos aren't lenghty and fit in nicely. The song lenghts vary from one minute to more than five minutes, so that the songs' atmospheres mix into one enjoyable entirety.
Most of the compositions & lyrics have been made by the main man Juha, with some compositions & lyrics that have been taken from traditional songs. All the lyrics are in finnish and tell about the same stuff the traditional songs do; abouth myths, environment, memorable events and everyday life and nature.
All the tracks work as individual songs but it's the album as a whole that really hooks you, because there are a lot of hooks in each song - be it the rhythm, melodies, singers or just the sounds of the individual instruments. The bonus track has a lot less serious atmosphere, and it's more simple and repetitive than the other ones. The atmosphere in nice, though. Juha is the only singer in it, and on it he seems to sing badly by purpose. It also sounds that there's some keyboard-jamming in it. All in all, it's a bonus track for a reason.
If you're looking for metal, stay away. If you're looking for an interesting, catchy and well-done musical piece and you're not bothered by the vast amount of ethnic influences, this is for you. Also for all people who are interested in fennoscandinavian and east-european ethnic music and, especially, throat-singing used in many of the songs.