Seremonia – Neonlusifer Review

I love languages. The versatility in sounds and scripture are endlessly fascinating to me. This is why it always makes me happy when a band decides to go with their native tongue instead of trying to wrangle a second language into submission. Metal lyrics are rarely much good and frequently indecipherable anyway, so there’s much more to win than there is to lose in shirking the conversion altogether. Seremonia seem to follow my train of thought, as these Finnish psych-rockers perform exclusively in their native Suomi, a language I’ve seen characterized as a murmuring brook. So the linguistic choices are approved: how about the rest?

If I have to attach a motto to Seremonia’s style, it would be ‘no school like old school.’ Old school here means raw psychedelic rock straight from the 70’s, its DNA profile demonstrating a direct descendancy from Hawkwind. There are two sides to this particular coin. One’s the rollicking hard rock with which the album bursts from its stable, where the deliberate lack of polish is particularly noticeable in the static-laden crunch and fuzz of the rambling riffs. The other is the slow and experimental psych jam that enters with “Raskasta vettä,” and sporadically clouds the rest of the album with its purple and green haze from that point on. Both sound as retro as bell-bottoms and tie-dye in every aspect of its execution.

While there are no real surprises to be found, the songwriting is largely solid, particularly on the more upbeat tracks. The riffs have a punky edge charged with static, and their energetic execution treads the balance between noisy and catchy well. The drums have a freestyle, improvisational quality to them, befitting the loose, shoot from the hip style of the band. Frontwoman Noora Federley draws from the well of occult rock with her almost shamanistic delivery, a style that’s all the more effective through the inherently naturalistic sounds of the Finnish language, but her technical skills leave a lot to be desired. Her range is minimal, and the level of energy differs just as little, which makes her performance the most monotone element on the album.

Production-wise, Seremonia keep it old school as well. Whereas other modern-day psychedelic and -adjacent bands frequently opt for more fuzz than an Enterprise full of tribbles, Neonlusifer hardly seems to be produced at all. The drums in particular sound like I’m standing right next to someone wailing on a 20-year-old kit that’s seen daily use in a dusty garage. I’d put good money on the whole album being recorded live in its entirety. The only element that seems to lose out a bit is the bass, which doesn’t show much of itself, leaving the whole sounding a bit trebly. The faster tracks benefit the most from Seremonia’s loose and rambling style; on the slow jams, the rawness comes across less like a cool DIY style and more like the music needed another pass on quality control.

Neonlusifer is a mixed bag, all in all. The sweet drum and guitar tone stand opposite the limited vocals and underserved bass. The fun riffs are diminished by the somewhat tiresome jams. Seremonia seems quite content with its little niche, and it does me well to see a band so certain of its style and personality. The actual execution, though, could benefit from a bit more focus and balance. Polish does not mean it needs to be produced to a plastic sheen; sometimes it just means handing in a third draft rather than a first. That’s the sort of polish that would be beneficial to this album. But if you like a bit of raucous psych-rock that drips 70’s acid from every pore, you can do a lot worse than Neonlusifer.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: V0 mp3
Label: Svart Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 4th, 2022

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