Formed in Autumn 2008 and named after a character in Finnish folklore, Vorna has mostly stayed out of the spotlight but after a few gigs and demos, the band is now ready to release its debut album Ajastaika. A fantastic blend of melodic black/folk metal, this blew me away on my very first listen and the amount of time Vorna has spent perfecting their music is very evident in this ambitious and stunning release; I just can’t seem to get enough of it.
After the introductory track which really helps to build the atmosphere, the album gets off to a banging start with Hiiden Taival, which is the perfect blend of aggression and melody, from the distorted chugging introduction that leads into harsh guttural vocals, to the melodic almost-choral-sounding vocals and the softer sections with synth. It just seems to be a track that has everything and is naturally the perfect choice to get the album going with. Ukkonen keeps the momentum going and features a beautiful synth line; something I was finding myself humming along to after my first listen.
It was fifth track Kaivatun Uni that really grabbed my attention. There was a definite Moonsorrow vibe to the track as it sprung into life and the recurring themes throughout the song were really engaging. Each time I played this song, I noticed different things – whilst on the surface it appears to be a little simplistic, the intricacy of it is incredible if you look a little deeper.
Lehväin Varjoon, the following track, is a little more of an upbeat and energetic number in comparison. With huge instrumentation backing up the vocals, this is a little bit of an epic, truth be told, and is another strong track that really helps to give the album momentum during the often-difficult middle section.
On first glance, Ensilumi may sound like a filler track, but it divides the album up nicely and works perfectly as an extended introduction to Ikuiseen Iltaan, a five-minute wonder of a track. There seems to be a lot going on within this number but this amalgamation of sounds and ideas just seems to work.
Ajastaika closes with Muisto, where vocalist Vesa seems to use a different technique to achieve some marvellous sounding deep vocals which are backed up nicely by some catchy synth lines in the background, before the album is brought to a very satisfying close by slowing down before the last minute or so of background-type noise.
It’s been a while since I last discovered such a promising band in the black/folk metal genre but it just goes to show – like the five years it took for Vorna to fine-tune all the details in order to bring out something of such great quality, good things certainly come to those who wait!