Writing about music is an activity I have undertaken with much passion and devotion over the last decade and, as it happens with every occupation outside work, it does tend to occupy much of my free time. So to answer the question, “Why bother?”, I can point to the excitement at discovering ‘new’ and interesting bands, such as that of the Finnish atmospheric metallers “Tenhi”, for example, whose fifth studio album “Saivo” is to be released by the German specialised label Prophecy Productions.
So why is Tenhi a ‘new’ band? Because the duet Tyko Saarikko/Ilmari Issakainen has been in a healthy working relationship for the last fifteen years -something that quite surprised me as I have never heard of this band before.
As it happens in cases like this, I started listening to these twelve compositions with excitement and, most importantly, without any preconceptions and it was not long before I was rewarded. Tenhi is one of the few bands that I know that has a natural feel for atmosphere and melody and whose music comes across as quite minimalistic when the truth is that each and every composition contains layers upon layers of music.
The first signs of “Saivo” being a sensational album come through pretty early on, as the opening track “Saivon Kimallus” is based on a beautiful melancholic piano theme and dreamy vocals that should appeal to everyone, especially to fans of the Liverpool legends Anathema.
More amazing piano melodies and clever string instrument supporting orchestrations can be found in “Pojan Kiiski”, whereas both “Uloin” and “Pienet Purot” are slow atmospheric pieces with a strong Folk influences, mainly due to the incorporation of various flute parts. While I was immediately hooked on the mournful violin theme and the ethnic-orientated polyphonic vocal performances of “Sateen Soutu”, it was when confronting the main melody of the nine minute epic “Haaksi” that I first felt the first impact – a similar success with “Surunuotta”.
The second half of the album features material of similar high standards of quality, with “Savoie” and “Sees” as the most simplistic and straight forward, “Vuoksi” and “Paluu Joelle” – the most indulgent in deeply emotional melodic themes and the ten minute “Siniset Runote” – the provider of orchestral and melodic arrangements of epic proportions.
“Saivo” is an album that is quite specialist and the sweet melancholy that it offers in abundance can only be really appreciated when in the right mood. The reason why this album has scored so highly in my appreciation, however, is because when you do find yourself feeling moody and introspective, there are not many albums that can help you make a trip of self-discovery as fulfilling as this twelve track gem! Tenhi are now pretty much a band on my radar and chances are that after giving “Saivo” a good spin, they will be on yours too!
Rating: ****1/2 (4.5/5.0)
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Power Plays w/c 17 July 2017
DANIELLE MORGAN Shy (indie)
BIGFOOT The Fear (Frontiers)
JUDIE TZUKE So (Big Moon)
JONNY LANG Bitter End (Provogue)
Featured Albums w/c 17 July (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TEN Gothica (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 RIVERDOGS California (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ELEANOR McEVOY The Thomas Moore Project (MOSCODISC)
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