Riutta is a Finnish prog-band that was born in 2004. Some lineup-changes and demos followed and now, in 2013, the world saw the release of Riutta's debut full-length album. It's available digitally, on CD and vinyl.

This album offers a lot of contrasts. The songs range from direct rock with prog-influences (a'la newer CMX) to light minimalism, and from hazy jamming to very naive-sounding pop-spheres and rather abstract space/kraut-atmospheres. The guitar is occasionally very distorted and raw, and soon it starts delivering clean notes with catchy melodies. This melancholic beast needs you to keep your ears open.

Although the band's palette seems confusing when opened up like that, the songs are actually well-written and their progressive groove lasts well throughout the album - a big reason for that being the sturdy and great-sounding bass guitar. There are various kinds of neat riffs and groove-hooks scattered all around the album, but somehow it doesn't properly lift off into a climax at any point. I'm blaming the soundscape, as although the deep bass-sound and otherwise crispy instrumentation sounds pleasing at first, it's revealed to be rather hollow and one-dimensional in the long run. The compositions vary a lot, so some assistance from an experienced producer would be helpful to bring out each song's best traits and most appealing hooks. It all seems a bit too safe, even and quiet now, and noting the compositions' variation and amount of strong contrasts I strongly feel that the compositions are greatly underpresented here.

The vocals are an issue, too. The male singer (who has been rightfully compared with Samuli Putro) has a rather naive and kind-of boyish voice which works well in the compositions' lightest and most atmospheric parts, but it doesn't have the force nor character that the more direct and rock-based parts would need. As such, the vocals are holding the songs back too often.

"Kaikki On Hyvin" is an album that demands your attention so that it can give you anything, but in the end it's too scattered and premature to be a fully satisfying experience. It got me interested in the band, but didn't properly reward the time I've given to the album - and the visual side is rather dull, too. I'm sure that the band can create something a lot stronger in the future as they're clearly skilled and capable fellows, but on this album they went for too many things at once. A simpler, more focused approach and a soundscape allowing stronger contrasts would do the band good.

I hope Riutta takes this album as a learning experience - and that their next album won't take as many years to be made, heh.

6½ / 10