About a year after their self-titled debut album was released and Finnish psychedelic rockers Seremonia return with a follow-up album entitled “Ihminen” (translated as “Man” in English). Anyone who checked out their debut album – which you all did of course, after it was so favourably reviewed by this website – will already know that all of the band’s lyrics are in their native language so most of what the band are about needs to be carried in their music for those who don’t speak Finnish to appreciate, which is fortunate as Seremonia are very adept in setting a mood.
However, the mood this time around is a little more energetic than last time, as opening track ‘Noitamestari’ races out of the speakers in a rush of speedfreak intensity that screams of Iggy & The Stooges-style proto-punk. The Black Sabbath influence is still there – like on the hauntingly heavy ‘Painajaisten Maa’ which, at over seven minutes, is the band’s longest song yet – but takes more of a backseat as the band put their collective foot down and inject a little more pace into more of the material.
The production is still fuzzy enough to please the stoner/doom audience that the band will appeal to most but with the application of speed some of the heaviness is lost, and although the band can seemingly whip up a haunting melody or balls-out groove at will, there’s nothing here as instantly impactful as the incendiary ‘Uhrijuhla’ from their first album.
But perhaps that’s the idea. Perhaps “Ihminen” should be listened to as one complete work rather than a collection of individual songs that you can skip or shuffle your way through. The album does maintain a certain feel all the way through and doesn’t really dip in quality, and consistency throughout a whole album is something that a lot of bands don’t manage too well, especially on that ‘difficult second album’.
“Ihminen” is a very good album that anybody who enjoyed the band’s previous release will no doubt get plenty of enjoyment from. The pacier feel to the majority of the material does take something away from the ethereal side of the band’s sound but with a band like Seremonia there are several avenues of musical influence to explore, and once the band integrate these tunes into a live set with the weightier tracks from their first album then we’ll no doubt see the beginnings of a pretty solid catalogue of songs.