posted on 12/2011 By:
Tenhi has always managed to create beautiful soundscapes out of melancholic simplicity, and Saivo is a gorgeous addition to their discography. Subtle, natural, and ever-mesmerizing, this is not “metal” by definition, but its resonance with fans of the genre is undeniable. These Finns have carved a niche for themselves within the neo-folk field but have consistently pushed the boundaries of melody and harmony without sacrificing the pure folk aesthetic (fans will see what I did there) of the music. 2006’s Maaäet was a veritable masterpiece, blending elegant innovation with captivating sonic imagery, and Saivo comes very close to matching the greatness of the aforementioned album.
A track-by-track summarization of the album would not do the work justice, as each song is crafted to nestle perfectly in context with the rest of the material. The somber, almost spoken, vocals are the perfect narration amidst layers of poignant violin, tender acoustic guitar, and other textures of lovely folk instrumentation. Saivo creates a mysterious nighttime atmosphere that listeners would benefit from furthering with quiet and candelit surroundings. The album plays out like a nocturnal creature awakening from slumber. The ‘animal’ slowly opens its eyes and stretches its limbs with “Saivon Kimallus”, slinks through its woodland home, then settles into gentle rest with “Siniset Runot”.
Granted, the flow ebbs a bit toward the end of the record, and those unfamiliar with Tenhi may find that their interest wanes slightly before being recaptured with the final track. These brief moments of lethargy are easy to forgive when considering Saivo as a whole, and I would not consider them to be definitive flaws. Tenhi has never released a disappointing album, and Saivo improves upon their already incredible legacy. This record possesses a primeval darkness balanced with underlying warmth, like the glowing flames of a ritualistic fire sending sparks into a wintry night sky.
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