Revontulet – “Hear Me” (2014)

Label: Arcus Records

Review by Vard Aman

Revontulet are a band whose progress I have been following with great interest ever since I discovered them; and thanks to Alexandra‘s regular updates, following Revontulet‘s progress has not been too difficult. It also keeps the interest alive (which shows how important this is for bands), and Alexandra has been a genius when it comes to this: a single here; a cover version there; a little talk about and demonstration/snippet of one of Revontulet‘s songs once in a while always spaced just far enough apart to make sure that the interest never wanes. That, and the quality of what they were making, made Revontulet‘s debut album “Hear Me” one of the albums I was most looking forward to since the announcement was made that they were recording one.

Revontulet was formed in 2008 in Moscow by vocalist and composer Alexandra, and drummer Sergey Zorg, who have together remained the core of the band ever since. Their name is Finnish for the Northern Lights (aurora borealis); and the band does seem to have a special connection with Finland conceptually (the album was mastered in Finland too). They play some complex and well crafted Symphonic Metal, featuring some big orchestral parts and even bigger vocals. Alexandra has a powerful mezzo-soprano voice with a huge range, of which she makes full use, straying occasionally upwards into the range of a soprano and downwards into the range of a contralto (there usually is some overlapping, but Alexandra goes well beyond merely overlapping, especially at the lower end of her range). She has the kind of voice that makes you look at her photo in the CD booklet again the moment you hear it (assuming you hadn’t heard it before) with an increased awe. Her voice is unique as well; a lot of operatic vocals tend to sound similar within their various ranges, but not Alexandra‘s – you know who is singing when Alexandra is singing. And to put the cherry on top, she sings with feeling as well as having perfect control. Operatic vocalists in Metal take note: this is how it should be done!

Musically, all the songs are well written and well arranged. Clearly this is a band that know what they are doing and do it well. Many of the songs on “Hear Me” have been around for some time already, so even though this is their debut album, thanks to some great promotion, one can already start talking about Revontulet “classics”, such as “Infernal Angel”, “Rainheart” and “Eternal Autumn”. “Infernal Angel” and “Eternal Autumn” are certainly among the best songs off the album, along with the epic “Hear Me” and the beautifully crafted “Suomi”. The production is solid, although there were times when I thought that the guitars could have been just a tiny little bit more powerful and with a bit more body.

So, we’ve established that Alexandra is a great vocalist, a good composer, a clever promoter, and together with Sergey a good engineer/producer. She’s also an excellent lyricist. All of the lyrics are in English (with a little Latin thrown in), so it’s a job extra well done considering that she is not writing in her native tongue (just a few missing articles here and there).

A sample: “Music my farewell, my verse effaced lines, my lonely voice will fade away, into endless silence”. Or something a little less doomy: “Do you remember, all those words untold, passion concealed, our hearts closed”. Or something more epic: “Lead me to your beauty, show where your breeze sings alone. Shades disappeared, sunrise is blooming, with open heart I meet new dawn”. With all that said, was it worth the wait; and did it live up the expectation that built up with all the teasers, snippets, videos, funding campaigns and online concerts (which I missed thanks to the wretched South African internet)? Yes! Because now… well, let me put it this way: “Eternal autumn is mine”!

Rating – 92/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Blizzard
  2. Infernal Angel
  3. Suomi
  4. Rainheart
  5. Velvet Night
  6. The Pianist of the Darkest Night
  7. Eternal Autumn
  8. Hear Me

 

Line Up

  • Alexandra Revontulet – Vocals
  • Sergey Zorg – Drums
  • Dmitriy Sakharchuk – Guitar
  • Maxim Orlov – Bass

 

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