REVIEW: VORNA – ‘Aamunkoi’

by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

VORNA is a Finnish sextet formed in 2008 that concocts melancholic grand metal. They are back with their fourth album, “Aamunkoi”, their most melodic and ambitious offering yet. The album title translates as “Aurora”. In literature, this means “The Dawn”. In the far north, where VORNA come from, this is also the name for the phenomenon of the polar lights. The vocals are sung in the Finnish native language, which makes it more mysterious and compelling to those like me who aren’t Finnish. Still, I did have the lyrics translated into English, and as expected, the lyrics are bleak with a flicker of hope and beauty entwined – fitting for their sound and origin. The album’s central theme is survival in the uncertain world where the lucky ones who witness a new day have a chance to strive for a better future – when they still can.

The opening song, ‘Hiljaisuus ei kestä’, which translates as ‘Silence Never Lasts’, is vibrant yet brutal, perfectly balancing the dark aggression and atmospheric melody. It is also impressively diverse, managing to pack all its intricacies into one robust entity. It is not only a great way to kick off the album and set the tone but also acts as a brilliant introduction to the band if you are not already familiar with them, and either way, it will compel you to stick around to hear what lies ahead. The lyrics end with “Although the echoes have all faded away, silence never lasts”, which leads nicely onto the next track.

‘Harva päättää hyvästeistään’ (in English means ‘Few Decide Their Farewells’) is full of beautiful and vast clean sections and hits hard, whichever direction it turns with the growls adding extra power in the precise moment needed.

‘Valo’ (The Light) is varied, highlighting their folk elements with strong resonant melodies, especially in the clean sections. The highly atmospheric ‘Aika Pakenee’ (Time Is Fading) has a particularly epic and prominent ending, making it a must-hear and lasting impression.

The dreamy ‘Kallioilla’ (On These Cliffs) is one of the lightest songs with no harsh vocals, making it very expressive and beautiful with pleasant clean vocals from Vesa Salovaara accompanied by ambient instruments and keys with the result being very striking.

‘Muualle’ (Anywhere But Here) flows nicely with a pleasant, upbeat keyboard intro before turning suspenseful and ominous in an intelligible and graceful way with the return of growled vocals and bite to enhance the impact.

The buoyant ‘Raja’ (The Point Of No Return) features some nice and effective harmonised vocals, while ‘Meri’ (The Ocean) features booming ritualistic drums and sound weaved with an ethereal vibe.

The final song is the title track, ‘Aamunkoi’ (Dawn), which is grand and stunning with charming vocals and soaring harsh vocals and melodies with powerful and well-structured instruments. Characteristically both musically and lyrically, they wrap things up in a delightful yet gloomy way, balancing the light and the dark with the closing words hitting hard, “Everything has its moment to blossom once again, another chapter reaches its conclusion. We are all destined to mourn the things we hold most dear. As the smoke clears… I witness the break of dawn burn away the remains of my night. I witness the dawn break and begin anew”.

The album is diverse, intricate and superbly crafted. It is sublimely sorrowful in its atmospheric mood and nature musically and lyrically whilst offering just the amount of hope and gleam. It is a captivating listen, and their musicianship and talent shine through. It also has an exciting and impressive blend of genres and layers, adding to its vast sound’s grandeur. Through the transitions, it is very moving and hits your ears and your heart hard in the greatest cathartic sense.

Aamunkoi will be released on April 21st 2023 on Lifeforce Records.

You can pre-save or pre-order the album below:

VORNA live:

06.05.23 FI – Tampere @ Yo-talo
12.05.23 FI – Helsinki @ Kuudes Linja
20./22.07.23 FI – Laukaa @ John Smith Rock Festival
04./05.08.23 FI – Tampere @ SaariHelvetti
10./12.08.23 FI – Kotka @ Dark River Festival



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