Finnish AJATTARA never have been known to be fast or overtly technical in their approach to Black Metal and nothing has changed with their latest effort "Kalmanto". Some of you might have read very negative reviews about this album, claiming that the Finns are continuing to continue what they've been playing for four albums and that they seem to have run out of creative steam and whatnot.
Now I have to admit that the evil Finnish god of the forest (because that's who Ajattara is) still is anything but an epitome for evolution, opener "Ilkitie" kind of rubs me the wrong way and I was about to agree with the above-mentioned critics, but thankfully following "Turhuuden Takila" has a completely different caliber, stomping, intense and with this kind of choir-like element to it I'd even go as far as to say that it's one of the best songs the band around former AMORPHIS shouter Pasi Koskinen has penned so far!
And also "Naimalaulu" with its stomping rhythm and the surprising inclusion of a violin is a track that has me perk up my ears, in between, though, I have to say that the memorability of some of the songs indeed is somewhat lacking (the title track, for example, starts out as very minimalistic Doom, before it takes a turn for the odd and then continues Doomy, but in a rather non-descript way, if you know what I mean), even though some of them have this intense atmosphere that has the potential to take you into its grip, "Alttarilla Aamutähden" is one of those, where the keyboards add this somewhat dramatic flair and once more utilizes the violin in a very interesting way.
In the end we have three really good and interesting songs out of nine, which is not a too favourable outcome, I am afraid, the rest is somewhere between meh and blah, so the rating is in favour of the three mentioned tracks, which manage to elevate the album somewhat, but for a band that's been around for that long, three out of nine still is not enough...
(Online January 17, 2008)