When I heard ‘Yksin’ for the first time, I froze in amazement. That whispering, yet urgent scream ran down my spine and stuck its claws into my brain. I was a remarkable musical experience, which has that unique power only unique findings have. Vorna surrounded me completely and wouldn’t let go of me. It doesn’t happen as often as one might presume. Still, sometimes one finds something this exceptional. Something like Vorna.
The band labelled as folk/pagan/black metal was founded in Tampere in the year 2008. However, it first drew the attention to itself quite recently, in 2013 to be precise. And as it usually happens in these cases, when the band is musically brilliant, it took the musicians three years to become known not even in its home country but also abroad. To be honest, I somehow missed the first three demos. For me, the first touch of Vorna was the song ‘Yksin’. Apart from the brilliant music, which stabbed my heart and stays there forever, this was also about encountering the phenomenon called Vesa Salovaara. I’d never heard about him before, I’m still not familiar with his previous work with the band Deadwinter’s Child. Still, Vesa was new to more than one listeners, and those were asking ‘How comes that we haven’t heard of him before?’. And news like Vesa spread incredibly fast.
His distinctive, black metal harsh vocal, the Saruman’s overwhelming voice coming from the dark of Finnish forests, is so unmistakable, one never forgets its sound. And after hearing it, one has a tendency to compare others to it. Yes, the vocals are pretty good but it’s not Vesa, I thought while listening to many other bands of the genre. Vesa has a great charisma of a man capable of selling the melancholic darkness, a charisma of a joggler with emotions. You don’t have to understand Finnish, this voice will still make you enter the swamp of dark music. You will follow it. Willingly. I would pass this blond man in the crowd without a second glance, yet he performs magic on the audience and he can guide it deep into the land, where the music is painted black.
Vorna does not open graves but it certainly opens the human’s mind. These six musicians operate with the atmosphere of their music, where the guitars sound very acoustic and are not in the centre of attention, leaving the main accent on the story told by the main rune-teller. It’s painting a picture of Finland of your dreams more than of the real country. It’s more about an image of the far North. Vorna is playing with something ancient in us. Something which tends to believe stories, legends and myths. Still, it’s a strong music, which isn’t afraid of symphonic motifs or epics. However, it never falls into the common clichés. This is where Vorna’s originality lies.
I usually don’t like the overuse of synthesisers in metal but it belongs to the band’s style inherently, same as the elegant guitars’ sound. Saku Myyryläinen is capable of turning the artificial sound into something natural. He is a master of the sound and he knows its limits, which he never crosses. The guitars are based on creating the melody. The lord of this part of music is Arttu Järvisallo, whose style can be compared to Esa Holopainen from Amorphis. The drums under the hands of Mikael Vanninen sounds soft. Henri Lammintausta with his rhythmical guitar and an excellent bass player Niilo Könönen frames the picture with rhythm. Altogether these six musicians are creating very elegant and well-balanced music full of clever ideas, which balances somewhere between the genres.
The album ‘Ei Valo Minua Seuraa’ from 2015 showed the large scale of Vorna’s sound options. Furthermore, both following singles, ‘Aalloista’ from 2016, and ‘Tie varjoista’ from this year, proved that Vorna remained faithful to its rich style while still having a lot to offer.
Translated by ©Toini