Juha Jyrkäs, a Finnish author and musician has released his first solo album “Sydämeni kuusipuulle”. He is the owner of an extensive musical career, built through out the past decades. Some might recognize the names Tevana3 (Juha’s previous band) and Korpiklaani (with whom he collaborated by providing some lyrics). Much can be said of his musical exploits, whereas his multi-instrumentalist versatility is noteworthy. Highlighting the expert use of the kantele (a traditional Finnish string-instrument) and his vocals – Juha seems to know his way around the music scene.
Although his solo release was originally from 2019 – from a cassette only special edition made by the small independent Kuoriaiskirjat record label – it is only in the re-release in a more standard format (CD) that the following review will be based on.
This is one of the most interesting projects I’ve heard of in the latest years – Metal music without electric guitars and bass, and making use of alternative percussion instruments. Instead, Juha Jyrkäs uses electric kantele, bass kantele and the percussion elements (played by Pekka Konkela) are some sort of an ethnic drumset, from which information is not disclosed.
What we have on this album is primarily pagan heavy metal with some folk elements. Juha’s voice varies between clean and harsh vocals, providing a more black metal vibe to some sections of the album. The percussion elements are somewhat hypnotic, which, combined with the characteristic sound of the kantele, lull the listener into mystical dimensions.
“Nuole Mua” includes a catchy chorus and “Voimaa” is one of the highlights of the album – short but very intense. On the latter one, the Estonian bagpipe, saz and mouth harp were included.
The contribution of different guests makes this album dynamic and it keeps getting more interesting as it progresses. Milla Asikainen lends her voice to “Hämärästä aamunkoihin”, “Korpien kutsu”, “Tulisydän” and “Honkajuurella asunto” – giving them a dark neo-folk intonation. Jaakko “Hittavainen” Lemmetty (ex-Korpiklaani) was also invited to play the violin in the song “Tulisydän”. A special reference needs to be made to the album closing song – with Avdakeja Andzhigatova vocals in Kamassian language, an extinct Samoyedic language.
In brief “Sydämeni kuusipuulle” is a brilliant album with the ability to transport you to northern Finland scenarios, immersing the listeners in its mysteries.