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   SHAMAN
Shamaniac
2002
Natural Born Records
http://www.naturalbornrecords.com/shaman


rating: 4/5

1. Mu Sieiddi Be Ales Mun      Gottan
2. Ii Lea Voibmi
3. Shamániac
4. Jalla
5. Sugadit
6. Duoddarhálti
7. Vuola Lávlla
Let me begin by saying that this band is not to be confused with the Brazilian power metal band Shaman. These guys come from Finland and they play a combination of folk metal and more traditional heavy metal flavoured with a touch of Lapland's magic. Allow me to elaborate. Shaman released their debut album "Idja" in 1999 and their music was Sentenced-esque rock metal with "yoik" singing and lyrics written in Saami, a language spoken by few people in Northern regions of Europe and a singing style slightly similar to yodeling. With this album their music has taken a step or two to a much more folkish and mystical approach. As said, the music is both folk and heavy metal, but also some dreamy, atmospheric passages are present here.

The mystical atmosphere is well presented in the music, as at times you really get the image of being at a camp fire in the middle of nowhere and the sun setting behind the mountains and trees. And when the night finally falls, all you hear is a distant drumming of shamans somewhere in the woods. The main man of the band, Jonne Järvelä (vocals, yoik, guitar) actually plays a shaman drum on the album and his voice is clean but also a bit harsh. Other than that the album also has some uplifting, vigorous and rocking moments. The opening track, "Mu Sieiddi Be Ales Mun Gottan" (I Kill for My Seita) is a 17-minute epic that's divided into three parts and it's both folky and dreamy where you really get the feeling of soaring with the wind somewhere in Lapland. There are still some parts that remind a bit of the aforementioned Sentenced-ish rock, but also some guitar leads remind of Iron Maiden and the keyboards add a funny 70's retro feeling on "Sugadit". Productionwise this is a decent album. The sound is not the best possible, but on the other hand it's good enough not to start bothering you.

In general the songs are combinations of folk, heavy metal, atmospheric stuff and brisk rocking parts. Whereas there are hundreds of bands that completely lack originality, Shaman gives us a nice lesson on how to sound unique. Even if it may sound "traditional" at times, the language and the singing style give the album a nice addition on the originality department.

submitted by Aleksi 01.01.2003

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