It’s Vorna’s season now; with the September 27th release of Sateet palata saavat, translated in English as “the rains will return”, they gift Finnish metal with insight into the climate and imagery of autumn and beyond.
The band, comprised of Vesa Salovaara (vocals), Niilo Könönen (bass), Arttu Järvisalo (lead guitar), Saku Myyryläinen (keyboards), Henri Lammintausta (rhythm guitar), and Mikael Vanninen (drums), recently embarked on a Finland-based album release tour, and were met with much fanfare. They sold out of merch in chilly Oulu, and nearly sold out Helsinki’s On The Rocks on November 16, a night in which the city was saturated with live music options.
Salovaara said, “I’ve always felt that Vorna’s music has a built-in autumn vibe, and all three of our albums have been released during the latter half of the year. From what I’ve heard and read during this first month the album has been out, people seem to agree! There’s also a practical reason as we were signed to Lifeforce Records in early spring, so there wasn’t enough time to prepare and promote the release before summer. I think everything came together perfectly this time around.”
Graphic designer Petri Lampela fashioned the cover art for Sateet palata saavat based on the lyrics, including the highly recognizable tree with a face. Salovaara said, “When [Lampela] heard the finished album after it was mastered, he decided to take a bit more epic approach for the cover, which represented the song material even better. So the cover is basically Petri’s own visual interpretation of the album. We couldn’t be happier with the end result.”
“Ylle kaartuvat” serves as intriguing entrance music, rife with strings and choral vocals. Just over a minute and a half in length, it sets the tone for the album and builds tension that’s released once we reach “Toinen”. This second song plays with time signature and embraces Salovaara’s harsh vocal capabilities, as well as Myyryläinen’s pronounced keyboard; it compelled us to relisten several times.
Since its release on September 27th, listeners and reviewers have tried to poinpoint Sateet palata saavat’s genre influences, to varying degrees of amusement and success. Since their prior catalog contains mythological and pagan themes, it is easy to preemptively expect that before listening to this release. However, Salovaara insisted that Vorna has shed that brand.
Salovaara said, “I think one of my favorites has been ‘nu vintage black metal’ or something like that. This whole genre thing has been an issue for us as long as I can remember! We’ve never wanted to limit our songwriting or create some artificial boundaries by trying to classify our music too tightly.
“We’ve decided to classify it based on the fundamental elements which guide our songwriting: melodic and melancholic metal with Finnish lyrics. That’s as close as I can get. Besides, it appears that different people tend to hear different things going on in there anyway. Some people still want to label us as pagan metal, which to me feels a bit weird. But who am I to deny them their right to hear those kind of elements?”
“Aalloista” arrives midway through the album, written mostly by Järvisalo and originally released as a single in 2016. Despite its tenure, this song is relevant to the rest of the album and delivers Vorna’s trademark melancholic sound that highlights the cyclical nature of life and death.
“Overshadowed are its long shores / by the clouds it creates of itself / A wave is but a fleeting moment / a painter of time now bygone”
Salovaara said, “’Aalloista’ was one of the cornerstones of the album, style-wise. It’s also a bloody good song and was received really well by the audiences, so we felt it earned its place on the album. It deserved to be released in a physical format.”
“Virvatulet” is another flourish, highlighting Vanninen’s aptitude and the band’s dramatic touches such as bells, strings, and layered vocals. “Kauas” rounds out Sateet palata saavat, dripping with emotion and the same cinematic significance that was present when the album began. Salovaara also cited the song as being the most personally meaningful to him on the album.
“It’s a perfect ending for the album and in a way wraps up one chapter in my life and in Vorna’s career in a very beautiful and satisfying way,” Salovaara said.
Overall, this third LP has truly put Vorna on the map. Their somber lyrical portraiture doesn’t force the listener into Vorna’s point of view, but rather opens a window into scenery and invites introspection.
Salovaara and company eagerly seek to continue sharing Sateet palata saavat’s wares with fans on the road: “We’ll be focusing heavily on the new material. I’ve heard a lot that people on our live shows tend to subconsciously drift into some kind of trance where time and place lose their meaning. Some people have been deeply touched, others sing, laugh and have fun from start to finish. Everything is allowed; come as you are, and feel as you feel.”
See Vorna live: