Terasbetoni - Maailma tarvitsee sankareita 3.5/5
1. Myrsky nousee
3. Maailma tarvitsee sankareita
4. Jumalten usva
Terasbetoni are one of those bands that have the style and sound they want to perform completely locked down. Rather than making experimental jabs at something unexpected or even simply advancing their existing sound from CD to CD, they instead seem content to push their punchy, anthemic approach as far they possibly can.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this sort of attitude – it’s always nice to have a few steadfast bands to fall back on who provide exactly what you expect from them with each release – the law of diminishing returns resolutely insists that such an approach cannot be sustained indefinitely.
While 'Maailma tarvitsee sankareita' is not the CD that sees Terasbetoni finally dig the mine dry, it is maybe similar to Sabaton’s 'Coat of arms' in the sense that even though it is still a successful venture in its own right, the cracks are finally beginning to show in the band’s writing.
Not to suggest for a minute that Terasbetoni are just writing the same song over and over again - far from it in fact. Like the rest of their catalogue, ‘Maailma tarvitsee sankareita’ is actually a very well balanced CD of varying tempos and moods. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that again in similar fashion to Sabaton (last comparison, I promise), they seem to be repeating the same basic blueprint of the CD as a whole each time.
Still, taken on its own terms ‘Maailma tarvitsee sankareita’ is thoroughly agreeable, showing that while they may be short on variety, Terabsetoni for the moment still want for nothing when it comes to inspiration. It does get off so something of a false start though with “Myrsky nousee”, which begins on big, booming 80s stadium rock drums and settles too quickly into a dull groove, never really getting going properly despite a typically strong chorus.
Far more satisfying is track 2, the riotous “Metalliolut” (that means “Metal beer”, I’ll give you that one for free) which stars one of the band’s trademark ‘national anthem’ type joyous melodies that shifts between lead guitar and bawdy choir vocals on the storming chorus to silly, uplifting effect. Terasbetoni are at their best when they mix these freewheeling melodies with a bit of good old-fashioned speed, so as is often the case, the faster songs are usually the best.
The CD could probably do with a couple more of these faster tunes overall, but the band do a good job of spacing out the ones they have written to ensure the pace oscillates nicely. That may be doing a disservice to the songs of a more sedate tempo though, as they mostly fair far better than the opening track. Whether it be the chest-beating title track or the epic, Middle East-tinged “Konstantinopoli”, they usually have plenty to offer.
Jarkko Ahola remains the lynchpin that holds the band together, his in-your-face bass playing a driving force in the faster songs and his dramatic vocals without doubt the most powerful weapon in their collective arsenal. The galloping “Thantos” probably shows him at his best as he leaps with alarming ease between operatic bellowing and straining falsetto shrieks, while in the instrumental parts his bass mangling gives the guitarists a good kick up the backsides.
It is a little unexpected then that one of the more lingering moments on the CD comes when he takes a back seat. The haunting closing track “Gloria” – one of a couple of ballads and easily the best – is mostly sung by guitarist Arto Järvinen, whose sombre intonations suit the gloomy, downbeat mood perfectly. When the gentle opening to the song is eventually boosted by the roar of the guitars Ahola also shows up to add some wailing backing vocals and the 2 singers guide the CD to a rousing finale.
Someone familiar with the band’s first 3 CDs will no find surprises here, and similarly anyone blown away by their first taste of the band shouldn’t expect to find hidden depths in the old works, but taken on its own terms their 4th volume still provides all the charismatic performances and boundless energy Terasbetoni are famed for. How long they can keep it going for is debatable, but the stand-alone quality of ‘Maailma tarvitsee sankareita’ is not.
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