In 2009, without any fanfare, Viima releases their second album, Kahden Kuun Sirpit (Two Crescents). With it comes a new lineup (4th according to their website) in which only two members are left from the previous album, Kimmo Lähteenmäki (keyboards) and Mikko Uusi-Oukari: (guitar). Noining are Mikko Väärälä (drums), Hannu Hiltula (vocals, flute and saxophone) and Aapo Honkanen (bass). One thing is noticeable, the female vocals are gone and replaced with male vocals. It’s nether a bad or good thing. It just makes the band sound slightly different on the new album.
The album contains four songs with total playing time of 45 minutes. Three of the tracks range between 6-9 minutes and the epic title track is around the 25 minute mark. The vocals are all in their native tongue but they have English translations to help those of us that not fluent in Finnish.
This time around, along with the male vocals, the band embraces more of a symphonic style than the previous album. The folk elements are still there but not as prominent. The music has all the elements of 70’s style progressive rock without sounding derivative or “modern” (taking a 70‘s band and giving it all the treatments of modern day tools). In fact it sounds like it could have been recorded in the late 70’s(that is a compliment).
One thing I really like is that every time I listen to this album, it becomes more and more a favorite. I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best recordings on 2009. While the entire album sticks to me the highlights of this album are instrumental “Sukellus”, which reminds me of Camel around Snow Goose to Breathless and the epic title track which takes on characteristics of two famous epics, Genesis‘ “Supper’s Ready” and Caravan‘s “Nine Feet Underground” while sound nothing like those songs.
I would recommend fans of the aforementioned bands to seek this out especially if they don’t mind non-English vocals. I would also say fans of modern symphonic bands like Moon Safari, Moth Vellum to name a few. As previously stated, Viima and this album have become one of my favorite releases on 2009 and without any doubt securing a place in my top 20.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on November 15th, 2009