Eclipse Review: Tenhi - Väre (2002)


artist: Tenhi
release: Väre
format: CD, LP
year of release: 2002
label: Proph­ecy
dur­a­tion: 57:39

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Väre was Tenhi’s second full length album, and one that showed that the band had pro­gressed strongly since Kauan and the airut:ciwi EP. Although those two releases were already rather good, and showed that the band had a unique style, Väre proved that the band was able to refine their skills as musi­cians and song­writers. The album shows a great vari­ety of moods and sounds, yet it is all unmis­tak­ably recog­nis­able as the work of Tenhi. To my know­ledge, there are few, if any, artists who even come close to the sound of these Finns, per­haps best described in their own words: “folk-influenced pro­gress­ive music”.

The album starts off with the mys­ter­i­ous “Vas­t­akaiun”, car­ried by flute, strings, won­der­fully sound­ing drums, and the typ­ical dirge-like vocals. The more upbeat “Jäljen” shows how nat­ur­ally Tenhi switches between dif­fer­ent moods, without sound­ing out of place. “Vilja” is another beau­ti­ful track, with a calm melody richly worked out in gui­tar and vocals, and a lovely flute solo near the end. And see, there I go again, try­ing to describe all tracks indi­vidu­ally, because they are just so good. A few other parts I just have to name: the eponym­ous instru­mental “Tenhi”, which is a beau­ti­ful rework­ing of the track that ori­gin­ally appeared on the Ker­tomuk­sia demo from 1997. Then there’s the ritu­al­istic tri­bal sounds of “Varis Eloinen”, with the deep har­mo­ni­ous vocals, and hand drums, later dom­in­ated by gui­tar. The album ends with the beau­ti­ful “Kuolleesi Jokeen”, a rep­res­ent­at­ive of the sim­ple but great gui­tar bal­lads that band also makes.

I think there’s also some­thing magic about the lyr­ics of the band. To a for­eigner, a lan­guage like Finnish may eas­ily sound poetic, but the Eng­lish trans­la­tions reveal that Tenhi is pro­foundly inspired by ele­ments of nature and weather, as well as mel­an­cholic and folk atmo­spheres. As always, the art­work is fit­ting, and on this album, for the first time, the band intro­duced an own take on the book­let. It is small, with white and black print on thick grey paper, dis­play­ing both the lyr­ics and pho­to­graphs, which gain a unique char­ac­ter through the lim­ited use of col­our.

It is safe to say that this is a superb album by what I think is one of the most inter­est­ing bands of today. If you’re new to Tenhi and you are just get­ting into their latest mas­ter­piece, Maaäet, don’t for­get to look at its pre­de­cessor. If you haven’t heard the band at all, please do so, and this album will be a per­fect intro­duc­tion. Truly worthy of eclipse status, in short, and highly recom­men­ded to every­one.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Vas­t­akaiun (7:58)
2. Jäljen (4:54)
3. Vilja (4:59)
4. Keväin (2:24)
5. Yötä (5:26)
6. Suor­tuva (7:01)
7. Tenhi (6:14)
8. Sutoi (5:54)
9. Katve (3:08)
10. Varis Eloinen (6:37)
11. Kuolleesi Jokeen (3:04)