Aava Tuulen Maa

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Band Name Kauan
Album Name Aava Tuulen Maa
Type Album
Data de lançamento 18 Novembro 2009
Estilo de MúsicaAtmospheric Doom
Membros têm este álbum19

Tracklist

1. Ommeltu Polku 06:37
2. Valveuni 10:39
3. Föhn 10:14
4. Sokea Sisar 12:35
5. Neulana Hetkessä 10:39
Total playing time 50:44


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Crítica @ Satanicarchangel

15 Maio 2014

It's Just Post Rock

Aave Tuulen Maa is a pretty bog standard post rock album but seems to be garnering a lot of critical praise from the metal community. The reason for this is simple; metalheads don’t listen to post rock and when confronted with the conventions of a genre they don’t understand are quick to lavish praise upon it and use the term masterpiece and/or intelligent. Being both a metal fan and a post rock enthusiast, I've gotten pretty used to this phenomena over time but it still annoys me. Any dedicated fan of post rock would realize this doesn't offer much on the basis of innovation, and although pleasant enough, is certainly not worthy of the universal acclaim being placed upon it.

Kauan essentially do what every post Godspeed You! Black Emperor post rock band has been doing for the past few years or so. Rather long songs consisting of lengthy expanses of clean guitar wandering, pretty melodies and the constant search for climax. The atmosphere that Kauan aims to create is definitely there, coming across as somber and beautiful, but in terms of post rock, this ambiance has been dealt with so much that it’s hardly revitalizing.

Being a former doom metal band, Aave Tuulen Maa still retains trace elements of the genre. Songs are generally slow and plodding favoring atmosphere much more than other elements. Melodies carry with them a solemn beauty whilst the vocals are tired and lethargic. Vocals are rather static and mostly serve as a simple narrative on top of the backing music. It’s a pretty standard mix but it’s done well for what it is. The introductory track works well in setting the tone for the album, soothing nature samples backed by an ensemble of violins and clean guitar strumming. All the elements for a competent post rock album are presented here, but the ideas are never expanded upon, favoring a safe and comfortable sound rather than anything new and exciting.

The second track serves to highlight what I mean, opening up with a steady drum beat, clean guitars and backing ambient sounds, it’s nothing too dissimilar from what an artist such as Labradford has been doing since the late nineties. The use of backing ambiance works in the bands favour, allowing a much needed sense of variation to shine through, but the music is far too concerned with adhering to the already standardised conventions of post rock to use them for anything more than their desired purpose.

However, musically it’s hard to fault Kauan as they certainly display a good mix of things. The use of piano works well with the music, creating sombre overtones to the music whilst the guitar playing is incredibly melodic with a lot of tasteful, emotional sections. Drums are your standard affair, with very little creativity deployed and instead used exclusively to create the beat. The search for crescendo is rather subdued, with the music not altering much save for more instruments being added into the fray. The way the songs move and evolve remind me of a number of ambient and noise artists where more elements are added and then taken away to create a constantly shifting wall of sound. The way Kauan pulls this off is pleasant enough but comes off as lethargic, ultimately lacking in variation and dynamics.

The added elements from neofolk show Kauan not entirely willing to depart from their atmospheric metal days. Heavily inspired by the works of Agalloch and Empyrium, the somber acoustics work well with the post rock instrumentation and create rich and vibrant soundscapes within the music. There’s a distinct sense of romanticism floating throughout the album, with the acoustics and piano creating a sense of longing and peaceful melancholy. Kauan are a good band in eliciting an absorbing atmosphere but the range of ideas displayed by the music is too limited in scope to achieve much of a lasting impression.

Certainly that’s not to say that Kauan are incapable of experimenting as the track Fohn creates a rock based introduction with a rather bouncy feel and catchy bass lines. It reminds me, to an extent, of the Swedish band Katatonia as the music contains a distinctively depressed rock edge whilst still maintaining elements that could perhaps adhere to the mainstream. It works well in the context of the album and unsurprisingly results in what might very well be the best song off the album as it allows the band to escape, even if briefly, from the tried and true conventions of post rock.

Whilst I would certainly recommend this to people who just want to disconnect and drift away from the world, there’s not much in the way of staying power. Each song is rather interchangeable between each other and the lack of dynamics and variation ultimately hurts this album in the long run. However, it’s pretty good and I enjoy listening to it from time to time even if it’s not something I frequently return to. It’s a very pleasant but ultimately quite bland album that doesn't really accomplish much through its fifty minute running time. However, there’s far much more interesting post rock out there that you’re better investing in something actually worth your while.

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Albums in Atmospheric Doom