Amongst the ranks of the many bands inhabiting the rich Finnish musical panorama, Stam1na is definitely one of the minor acts that deserves to be discovered. Their approach to Metal is furious and violent, balanced out with melody and elaborate arrangements, and their latest work, called "Elokuutio" and published last March via Sakara Records, is the perfect mix of these characteristics, allowing us to label it as a complete recap of the entire — speaking in terms of style — evolutionary process of the band.
One thing that immediately meets the eye is the digipak itself: made so that it looks like an upside down cross once it's unfolded, its uniqueness resides in the coloured forms pictured onto the cover. Looking at them through a specific free QR code reader app (which can be downloaded for example from Google Play) with a smartphone, they will "produce" a version of themselves in augmented reality.
Speaking about the contents of the album, instead, it shows to be a complex but quite uniform work through all of its forty-eight minutes, divided homogeneously into ten tracks. Antti "Hyrde" Hyyrynen's talent as vocalist has notably increased over the years as it can be heard in this disc: he mostly utilises harsh vocals but also provides some warm and solid clean vocals (as on "Pala Palalta", "Pienet Vihreät Miehet" or "Valhe") and proves to know how to kick asses growling bleakly ("Ikoneklasmia" and "Mätä Hohtava Omena"). Guitars' performance reaches high levels both in terms of arrangements and execution, too: the classic Thrash aggressive riffing blends in this work with influences coming from Progressive Metal (as in the intro of "Meidänkaltaisillemme"), Doom ("Marttyyri" and "Valhe") and Melodic (see "Elokuutio" and "Kuudet Raamit").
On the other hand, the rhythm section of the band doesn't play sparingly: insistent and hammering drumming ends up to result in furious blast beat (as, for example, in "Ikoneklasmia"), while a round and metallic bass clanks in the rear without being marginal or negligible. Also keyboards play a role as important as the others' in defining the sound of the band, adding an electronic shade to the final mix, highlighting the darkest moments with piano, choirs and synthesizers.
With this release, Stam1na confirms to be a truly solid project which I'd like to present to both progressive metal fans and dark sounds' lovers, as also to thrashsters and to those who just like heavy melodies. All in all, they seem to be a band able satisfy everyone's taste. Listen — and see — and believe: here's "Kuudet Raamit" video, make your minds up.