This is the first album I heard from Finns Jumalhämärä, and I’m not sure whether or not had I heard their earlier works first, this change in style would’ve have made complete sense, or none whatsoever. The experimental black metal of their past is completely absent, no abstract, psychedelic screeches to the occult are to be found here, Resitaali is an album consisting of thirty five minutes of organ drone. There’s neither a devolution into a blackened metal fury, electronics based noise nightmare nor complimentary ambient textures. It’s just a whole release of church organ droning away for half an hour. And it’s fantastic.
You will know immediately within the first minute whether or not you are going to enjoy the rest of the album. If you don’t feel the energy of the dense sound of the organ tone as the first chord drones away then you won’t get any enjoyment out of the rest. But if you love the unique sound of this wonderful and much underused instrument then it’s a great album to delve into. Simple minor-chord sequences repeat through I, creating a lovely relaxed atmosphere with the high pitched notes, and when matched with the lower timbre of the deeper octaves that join it later in the track, the gorgeous sound of the tones reverberating away makes for a great calming atmosphere. It’s even more minimalist than most traditional organ based music played in churches, there’s no spiritual religious connection to be found here, it’s simply an appreciation for the sounds of a fantastic instrument – but with the grandiose and evocative sound it’s no wonder that the instrument is a staple of Christian church services dating back hundreds of years.
The second piece presents more of the same pleasant sounding tone worship, while III and IV provide a change. The third piece is much darker, based in a lower tone deep and dark tones drone away with little melodic sense while some more shrill high pitched tones juxtapose themselves in a more sinister and brooding piece from the album. They make use of the full range of the organ’s range, IV’s emphasis of the lowest end of the keyboard makes for a really dense sound as the same low tone reverberates for the first chord with a real heaviness, before brightening up a third of the way in and returning to some of the same simple, pleasant melodic structures heard on the first two pieces.
One more for the drone and ambient fans than those from the black metal spectrum regardless of Jumalhämärä’s origins, Resitaali is a very minimalist but gorgeous album, a tribute to the sonic textures and drones that can be wrung out of the evocative organ.