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Varjo-Orkesteri — Prima Volta
(Bandcamp Inverse, 2022, DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2022-08-19

Prima Volta Cover art

Prima Volta is the debut album by Finnish prog rock / metal band Varjo-Orkesteri (Shadow Orchestra in English). The band came together by accident when Jarmo Pikka, Pasi Hakuli, Saku Hakuli of Fog Light were planning a new album of instrumentals. They started discussing adding vocals and then enlisted Markku Pihlaja. Initially the lyrics were to be in English, but over time they emerged as Finnish. The result is ten tracks of Finnish prog rock ranging from harsh speed metal prog to the sublime. Their first single “Sydänmusta” is very different from the rest of the album. Rather than assaulting you with heavy prog power guitar, Saku Hakuli finger picks his electric guitar while Markku Pihlaja sings a senstive melodic song about a heart that is so black that it hides the soul. A one word review of the rest of the album is “Whew!” These guys cook and their demanding music leaves you drained from the rapid guitar licks, dissonance, martial rhythms, gritty vocals, and melodic guitar melodies. Another standout track is “Kuvajainen” that is more rock oriented than the rest. The Nordic countries are producing a lot of interesting prog rock bands that are today extending the genre. Varjo-Orkesteri is certainly a band worth investigating.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Varjo-Orkesteri

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