Review Summary: Maaaet exists on a level that many albums in the industry will never reach.”I would like to sit on every root of this tree,
With kindled curling flame.
On each bough of this tree a heart loosens;
Pain won't hurt when a sparrow-day.”
-"Varpuspäivä" (As translated from Finnish to English)
Music is an intricate language. Melded and birthed under the initial lattice work of the instrumentals with an optional set of lyrics lies the substance and the essence of the sounds - the veritas
of what the artist has created. It is a life of its own: it is the feelings invoked
- it is the feelings evoked
; ideally, it is a force that lasts forever, even outliving its very creator in the number of its days. The under-flowing language has the power to move minds and bring together enemies - to connect lives and to sooth the emotional loss of a death. Some musicians aren’t aware of this power in their art, and some, like Tenhi, wield it like a weapon to pierce and dissolve the preconceptions of the mind where a new pathway for growth can be forged and built upon – a new revelation can be realized and understood. Somber, desolate, and undeniable beautiful, Maaaet
is a revelation of one side of this immaculate veritas
that makes up the framework for an artist’s music: it is a key to the emotional realm of the of the mourning where anything living weeps a sorrowful song.
is the third studio album from the Finnish group Tenhi. Anyone familiar with the band will notice that things are a little bit different on this album when compared to the band’s two prior releases. For one, the intensity of the folk-ish instruments have been noticeably cut back in trade for a more sparse and distant sound. For two, vocalist Tyko Saarikko has perfected his somber, baritone that relays the album's Finnish lyrics with just the right emotion in his delivery; the timbre of which has become an immaculate, captivating instrument in its own rite. Finally, an undeniably powerful atmosphere has been created for this album – the likes of which could very well move any
listener to tears.
Right from the onset, the band begins on the mournful trudging of “Varpuspaiva (Sparrow-day)” - a song that engulfs listeners with its distant piano notes and echoing guitar tones. The atmosphere the band instills here is natural and unforced in nature; it’s as if their agenda for a somber feel never existed – as if they tapped into a realm that goes beyond the goals of general songwriting. “Kuoppa (Depth)” follows and strikes listeners as a song with vengeful intentions for a perceived loss: ”In depths the wait, orn hopes, in depths slain, a memory, this end,”
- as translated to English. A brooding violin and a strong set of backing vocals aid Tyko as his intentions are revealed. As the first two tracks illustrate, the band displays a strength on this album in the way they are able to diversify, yet conceptually mold different sounds and facets of the mournful emotions over the course of the album.
“Viimeiseen (Through Bloom-blades)”, “Maa Syttyy (Orphan Boy)”, and “Aatos (Reverie)” return to the somber, distant feel of the first track. A mournful set of vocals and acoustic guitars articulate these tracks with a tale of loss and personal depression. “Sarastuskavija (Frail)”, likewise, plays to the same realm of these feelings but instead with a piano as the main choice for an instrument. The tracks that slow the album down to a crawl are the most atmospheric and moving tracks on Maaet
. The other offerings – such as the building “Salain (Shapeless)” or the welcomed bass interludes on "Uuvu Oravan Luu (Ease Squirrel Bone)" – are generally more involved and upbeat in an instrumental context - if not an emotional one - and diversify the flow of the album without actually disrupting it. It’s actually quite an odd occurrence to be honest: with so many different instruments and changes in pace, one would expect a rocky, inconsistent listen that would leave listeners with a feeling of confusion and of possible revulsion. However, Tenhi’s songwriting is so strong on this album that everything flows perfectly – even if it shouldn’t.
It’s really hard to cut down the feel and sounds of this album to a single review: you just can’t give Maaaet
enough justice with the limitations of mere writing. The underlying facet of music that I referred to earlier is something that has to be heard and felt for oneself. You see, Maaaet
exists on a whole new level that many albums in the industry will never reach. It’s engrossing, conceptual, mournful, and is altogether a landmark in the neofolk genre. Maybe this is why Tenhi have been able to release stunning release after stunning release: they control the underlying fabric of music in their songwriting. The essence, the identity, the very key to the mournful realm of emotions: Tenhi’s Maaet
is an example of when an artist controls all aspects of the music from the instrumentals and the lyrics to the very veritas
of the music itself.