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Finland never fails to impress us with talented bands and heart-grabbing musicians, so maybe we became a little bit too spoiled by this country? And suddenly you come by a gem like this one and it´s like a reality-check, something completely fresh wakes you up. Severnaja is so low under the radar, that if it was not for an accidental discovery through one of their YouTube videos, I would have never found them. Now I can only rush you to also listen to them, whilst it is still hidden and unknown, something very special, because those guys have all the potential to make it huge!
There is near to no information about the band, which is very confusing because Severnaja is definitely worth a place on your CD rack, somewhere between London After Midnight and Beseech´s "Drama". Severnaja is a Latin transcript from a Russian adjective, which actually means "northern". It is a bit tricky to pronounce and fits the band´s style only geographically speaking, whilst contents-wise it is a lot more diverse than that and nothing similar to what you have heard from the Finns before.
They deserve to be noticed if only for two reasons: fresh, clean and genuine singing style, with no growls or howling, no screams or forced tension, just a pure beautiful voice that talks to your soul. The second reason is cliché-free lyrics, which modern love-rockers so often overlook today. There is no rain and pain. Severnaja´s music talks to you as if eye-to-eye, intimately, personally and very honestly. There is no anger, no rebellion or drama, nothing like that and you won´t need a dictionary to decode the northern mythology in the lyrics. It is all human and it is today, slightly romanticised but still understandable and what most of us can relate to. There are sometimes too many simple synths for my taste, and it seems they lack a bit of something heavier and at times more dramatic to match the versatility of the vocals but at the same time I am sure they will get just the right sound if playing the same album live on stage.
The absolute highlights of the record are two songs: Euphoria and The Beyond Within, although both are one of the slower pieces among the other tracks. Euphoria, I can guarantee, will stay on repeat in your player. It speaks to you and every time you listen to it, you will discover something new and even more touching than the time before. You feel bothered and you don´t know why, so you just have to play it again and again to figure it out. The Beyond Within is a slower song, fitting for a candle-lit night with red wine. It is like you are being woven into it and you just have to uncontrollably follow. In fact, if Vampyre Lestat´s band still existed today, this would be their number one hit song. This and the chorus to "Noir" - another highlight of this record.
If only Severnaja´s synths were more complex and the overall musical accompaniment harsher, a tiny bit more distorted, it would make an ideal soundtrack to the Lestat series and books altogether. But this is a very good first record aside of all that. It will make an excellent live act, especially at some dark-themed event. This truly amazes me how such artists are still unsigned and unknown?! Give them a chance, you won´t regret it. Dare I say, this is a new wave of Finnish romantic/heavy genre opening up.
Marina Minkler, transl. K. Gransalke
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