Review Summary: Kuuraparta, founder of Finnic kantele metal band Nostatus, releases his first full-length that is nothing short of amazing. The Rhythm atmosphere of the kantele adds nothing but a spectacular aura. A must for every folk fan!
Now, I generally steer away from reviews that are full of fanboyism and an over-dramatized appearance; however, it would do the album injustice to be treated with anything less. Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, one-man project Nostatus (meaning the raising/waking up) lets every listener enjoy the ambience of his first full-length.
Before I can even being to explain the songs in a way that everyone can understand, I first must explain how deep the roots of Nostatus go. Kuuraparta (founder of Nostatus) started Nostatus as a vehicle to present Finnic kantele music incorporating contemporary metal aspects, with many other Finnic folk practices. Kuuraparta, being 25 years of age, is majoring in Fenno-Ugristics (the research of the Finno-Ugric languages) at his university of Finland. You think this information would be irrelevant, as Kuuraparta’s personal information has no influence on Nostatus itself; However, Kuuraparta chooses to use Fenno-Ugristic language patterns to evoke imagery in Nostatus lyrics. The majority of Nostatus lyrics are made-up using root words of Finnic-Urgistics (meaning that they are basically made-up words deriving from Finnish root words). Knowing this information before thoroughly listening to a Nostatus album is critical.
Listing song title after title would be a very unorganized way of Analyzing Nostatus music, so I will simply try to add connotations using words. The album starts off with Kuuraparta simply strumming his 12-stringed Finnish kantele, but the rhythm is then accompanied by a vague distorted guitar, which is where the contemporary metal edge comes from. I have given a very brief description of Nostatus lyrics but the vocals seem to be unattended to until now. There are ancient Finnish techniques, which Nostatus tries to invoke within his music, and the technique I am speaking of is called "runo-singing", which is derived from Finnish national folk music. The singing is best described as very deep singing, accompanied by native chants almost, and this technique originated over 2,000 years ago with it still being in minimal use. Runo-singing is best defined as a technique to tell a story or poem using chanting patterns, and while listening to it you often find yourself viewing a story rather than a song.
The Finnish katele is just about always used in the intro, and it isn't until about 15 seconds in to most the songs that the distorted guitar makes its appearance. Now, it is also very acceptable to view the guitar as out of place because the kantele creates the idea of an all-folk atmosphere. To everyone's surprise though, the distorted guitar is used throughout the album to keep the contemporary metal sound to be present.
Kuuraparta utilizes the kantele in two basic ways: fingerpicking and simple rhythmic strumming. The song "Sanan Synty" has vocal absence in the intro where the kantele is the only sound you hear. Kuuraparta has never told me this personally, but I strongly believe the majority of the album is played with a finger-strumming pattern, which was also used on previous Nostatus releases. You may gather thus far that this review is rather vauge, as I mainly focus more on Nostatus roots than the actual album's sound, however, the connotation one takes with this music if more important than the actual songwriting.
As this album is appreciated more as a whole, I would be spitting on it if I didn't mention the brilliance of "Sie Kurja". The song starts off with Kuuraparta fastly strumming his 12-stringed kantele until the song comes to a three second stop. Without notice, you get the rush of Kuuraparta's Finnish runo-singing vocal technique, and after that the ambience of the album is never the same.
"Taonta" is also another distinctive mention, as there is no kantele in use. The song starts off with a distorted intro, and seemingly the riff is going in and out, in and out. The distortion is soon joined with Kuuraparta's vocals, slowing chanting:
The album then concludes with the distortion fading out, and all that's left is the connotation of traditional Finnish life.
This album, now analyzed as a whole, is a must for everyone. I too hope you can enjoy it as I enjoyed it.