There comes a time in every band’s career when it’s time to embark on making their Difficult Second Album, and after releasing such a stunning debut album in the form of Ajastaika, it was always going to be a mammoth task for Finnish pagan metal outfit Vorna to top it.
Ei valo minua seuraa is by no means a terrible album, but it just doesn’t seem to pack the same sort of punch as their debut; whilst Ajastaika gripped your attention and held it from start to finish, Ei valo minua seuraa is more of a difficult album that takes a few more listens to get into. It’s definitely a grower, but on the other hand there aren’t any big and memorable songs that will rattle around your head for days after listening. It just feels a little lacking in direction, due to the album not having a definite beginning and end – the listener is thrown into the album with a wall of guitars on Harmaudesta and it simply peters away with the closing track Hiljaiset rauniot, which is a little disappointing to say the least.
Despite this, it’s good to see Vorna trying new things with their sound and song structures because it would have been a rather lazy way out to create an identical album to their last one. A particularly good element of Ei valo minua seuraa is that the keyboards take more of a central role in the band’s sound this time around, and the added bit of melody really works in the band’s favour – there’s a nice bit of complexity to them yet they aren’t showy enough to detract attention from the rest of the music, so the balance is just right. They’re used especially well in third track Itsetön, which is perhaps the highlight of the album. There’s more synthesised elements that blend in well with the more traditional piano lines that weave in and out of the guitars, bass and drums. Additionally, the clean vocals in this track give the song a bit more body and meat, subsequently making for a great listen.
Ei valo minua seuraa isn’t a bad album – it’s a good listen with some nice little gems nestled within it. However as a whole, the album just doesn’t have the same sort of punchiness or excitement factor as their debut, and it is a real shame because some of the tracks made a very powerful impression on me whilst witnessing them live in October – so perhaps this is an album best appreciated in a live environment.