Ajattara - Kalmanto

Ajattara is better known as the Black Metal project of former Amorphis vocalist Pasi Koskinen, which goes by the name of Ruoja here. Although the tag Black Metal is constantly lumped together with the Finnish quintet, it must be said that Ajattara, which is mainly a tool for Ruoja to vent his anger towards humanity, has clearly no intention of going for the conventional and overcrowded path of Norse Black Metal. Forget all about the blast beats, crude production, chaotic riffs, fairylike keyboard intros, etc… Instead we have mid-tempo rhythms coupled with some quasi-industrial beats and eerie synthesizers/noise effects on the background that adds a certain bizarre atmosphere to most of the songs. For the first half of “Kalmanto” the end result is rather striking, with such standout tracks as the Middle-East inspired "Turhuuden Takila", the symphonic and dark “Madot” and personal favourite "Ilkitie", a song that evokes all sorts of disturbing images. Remember the scene in “8mm”, where Nicolas Cage is searching for Machine in his own house and Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy” is playing on the vinyl-player, could as well be "Ilkitie" and the overall effect would be exactly the same.
Unfortunately, the second half of the album doesn't quite match up the quality and consistency exhibited on the first half, with Ajattara merely content in rehashing the same ideas and riffs throughout the remaining songs.
These lads deserve a pat on the back for doing something different than norm within the scope of Dark Metal, but a slap in the face for not doing it properly throughout the entire album. (6/10)

Band info: www.ajattara.fi
Label info: www.spinefarm.fi