Waltari - Release Date

Waltari is certainly an odd name for a very odd band. Having started in Finland in the late 80's with a veritable smorgasbord of albums behind them, I was surprised not to have heard of them before. According to everyone's favourite homework-helper, Wikipedia, Waltari mix " punk, pop, heavy metal, rock, techno, funk, progressive rock and rap". I think you'll agree this is quite an ambitious mix and Waltari are an ambitious band indeed, but with their new album 'Release Date' they manage to miss as many buttons as they aim to push.

So how does such a mix sound? Bizarre is the only word to describe it. One minute there is a heavy metal themed song called 'Let's Puke Together', the next a funk-rock styled 'Colgate County Showdown' which is soon followed by a more rocky song, 'THD'. The album jumps from style to style constantly, and luckily the band are all skilled at playing the different genres. One of the more interesting tracks on the album is the final track, 'Spokebone', which features Amorphis singer Tomi Joutsen, techno beats, ethnic violin grooves provided by the band Varttina and traditional rock. Now I'm not particularly interested in guest-spots for the sake of guest-spots, but Tomi's vocals have always hit the mark for me, and I'm not one for guest bands for no reason, but Varttina's contribution is excellent. It is however slightly telling that the track I enjoyed the most on this release was also the one, which included the most outside influences. Waltari are on the right tracks with their music, but as we shall see there are failures in it.

However, this mixture of styles has its downsides. Some tracks can feel a bit disjointed within the overall structure of the album or even in themselves. Whilst the album leads much harder overall to a traditional rock approach for the majority of the time, the myriad of different genres included in the music means that whilst there's something to please everyone there is equally going to be a style or instrument someone finds deeply offensive. Whilst I found myself often thinking of how adept Waltari are at blending this styles, I couldn't say I actually found them all that enjoyable for the majority of the time.

It's hard to give this album a fair score really. If you're the sort of person who finds bands ambitiously try to take on a lot of genres a lot, sometimes succeeding sometimes failing, then Waltari's sound will be right up your street. If you find such things a bit confusing and pointless, then this is not really the release for you. If you stand somewhere in the middle, like I do, then you'll find your opinions to be as much of a mixed bag as on the record!