Vorna is a Finnish pagan metal band with a flair for the symphonic. The more music I listen to, the more I start to think of it in terms of stat sliders. You know, the ones you find in RPG's like Skyrim to change your facial features and attributes. Each group sits on a wide variety of these spectrums, and it is the differences and parallels in where they land on them that I try to capture in these reviews. I promise, I'll get to the point. I think the most obvious one here is that the orchestral element is turned nearly all the way up.
But where this concept fits the most with Vorna, is that you can think of their sound in this way: select preset character Equilibrium, the German folk metal band, then move the folk slider down to about 25% and the black metal slider to about 90%. The similarities are all there: the lush synthesizers, the high shriek and cadence of the vocals. Just mix and match with the moroseness of Insomnium and turn up the doom elements just a click and you've got it.
And while the fanfare and playfulness of Equilibrium has been discarded for a more grim performance, there are still some folky moments to be found. The lovely acoustics of "Yksin," for example remind the listener more outright of the various undertones of classical and historical elements at play in each composition. This is the more subtle symphonic black metal sound of groups old and new like Srogosc, Selvans, and Sacramentum. There's a touch of early Borgir on some of the keyboard arrangments, but for the most part Ei valo minua seuraa keeps things pretty chill.
Bottom line, whether incorporating distorted tremolo melodies or ambient interludes, epic pounding drums or church bells, Vorna know how to put it all together into a grand and engaging composition. I think the first 3 tracks blew me away the most, but really the entire album is solid from start to finish. I look forward to giving this some more spins in the future to pick up on all of the elements I likely missed early on...because there is a lot going on between these 6 band members.
The album comes out on Friday (12/4/15), but for now you can stream one of my favorite tracks, "Jälkemme" below. Enjoy.