Taking a sharp left turn from his iconic black metal sound, Tervaaja who’s the main brain behind Ruohtta brings us a unique and toe tapping goth rock album titled Juorni. The album is grim, taking a very nihilistic approach that is reminiscent of his black metal releases. While it would be easy to compare this album to the bands of old, what Tervaaja does with this release is something very unique and easily identifiable as his.
If you’re even somewhat familiar with his band Ruohtta then the instrumentation would sound very familiar. Minimalist and very airy, the guitars are rather light but have such a jagged bite to them, the vocals are raw and grisly, something that could easily be on a black metal record. On top of that you got some punchy drums, a tight bass line, and some incredibly catchy song writing. While yes this album does wear its influences on its sleeves, with elements of The Cure, Joy Division, and even Bauhaus, but I feel like it truly does this album a disservice by saying its a direct copy. Tervaaja brings his own grim and cold style to the table and that indigenous Sápmi cultural influence found on his other acts is inescapable with this release and brings something new to the table for sure.
Biggest takeaway for me with this album is the atmosphere it builds. There’s something that sets this release apart from the bands I’ve mentioned before and its the more grim and nihilistic feeling that this album builds. Very reminiscent of black metal, and almost feels like a more toned down and not as distorted approach of black metal its self. While I may not know what the lyrics are saying per se, the inflection and raw and authentic delivery is all the message needed to pick up on what is being said. This whole goth rock/black metal influence really reminds me of Forgotten Woods and how members of that band later went off and formed Joyless, where even with them the black metal influence was implemented into their music in a way that wasn’t overly intruding and making it gimmicky. :heiva: really accomplishes that with this debut release and combines two genres who are similar yet so different in a way that is fresh, different, and very approachable from both groups.
Would definitely recommend this album to any fan of black metal, goth rock, post-punk or what ever other dark genres you wanna throw out there. This is a must listen alongside Tervaaja’s other band Ruohtta if you’re looking for something a bit more heavy. Either way, they’re both enjoyable and I think make for a great companion piece with one another when listened to back to back.