[Review] Rantama -Rantama

Rantama defines themselves as a Heavy Prog band from Kuopio, Finland founded in 2014 by Timo Rantama on guitar, Iiro Laitinen on drums and Tatu Back on bass, and with this lineup and with the name Rantama Trio they released their first album “Catching the Mystery Train “in 2016. The sound of the band was a mix between Jazz and Fusion, entirely instrumental, the turning point came in 2017 with the entry of the singer Taavi Kiiskenen, changing its name to Rantama and veering towards more Heavy and Progressive sounds. With this new set-up, on March 6, 2020, they released “Rantama” for the Eclipse Music record company, available on CD and Digital, containing 8 medium-long duration tracks. The “Bird Nest” opener begins with a sharp and massive guitar riff and a solid rhythmic session on which a warm and expressive vocal, sometimes choral, is inserted. A short track that however presents quality time changes with melodic openings that alternate with other heavier ones, immediately immersing us in the atmosphere of the album. “Roaring Rapids” connects to the previous one with a complex structure to the drum and positive and elaborate melodies of guitar and keyboards that intertwine. The singing is once again a strong point and also here it alternates solo and other choral moments showing Kiiskenen’s good vocal skills. A mix between Prog with Heavy strokes and more symphonic passages, a smooth and pleasant track with some more elaborate tempo changes. “Dying Star” is characterized by layers of pure Prog style keyboards, heavier riffs and a stronger voice test than the previous ones with soft parts in the refrains. The bass lines are load-bearing and the rhythm session is constantly changing as well as the structure of the song well developed and elaborated. The guitar is the protagonist and blends well with the keyboards, more supportive and that leave plenty of room for Timo’s forays, offering a good solo pulled in the end. A long arpeggio with darker lines, with Jazzy veins characterizes the first part of “Ground Frost Forger,” with the drum snare to mark the tempo. The bass is deep and the structure of the piece becomes more and more elaborate with the passing of the minutes with the guitar that guides us on this journey made of Jazz, Acid and Prog contaminations, where the individual technique of the artists comes out with quality. “Splendid Sun” is a short interlude between the Fusion and the Prog, entirely instrumental and focused on the guitar, even here the structure is intricate but pleasant. “We Are” begins with melancholic guitar melodies and a soft rhythmic session on which a very expressive vocal is drawn, the intensity increases with the passing of the minutes with vocal layers that overlap showing the great qualities. At the end, the guitar climbs into the chair with a short but intense solo, and then accompanies us to the closing. “A Small Blink of Light” is a more rhythmic track than the previous one with positive and cheerful melodies with a pleasant vocal and a more linear structure and in the form of a “song.” Good development and textures between guitar melodies and rhythmic session, a track almost entirely sung, flowing and cheerful. Closes the album “The Pond of No Return” begins with guitar arpeggios and a deep bass, the drum creates a mid-tempo and the vocal alternates clean moments with other more acute and choral. In the central part, space is given to a more instrumental interlude with tempo changes and more melodic openings, to then return the vocal and increase the intensity and speed up the tempo. The longest track on the album pleasantly closes this good job. A record and a band that are cataloged as Heavy Prog, but which in my opinion have softer, but not less pleasant, features, giving life to a sliding album. The instrument that prevails is the guitar, even if the malgame with the other instruments is of quality, while a special mention must be made for the vocal that is best suited to the various developments of the songs, showing excellent singing skills. An album recommended for lovers of modern prog sounds, with jazzy veins and light heavy influences, creating a homogeneous sound where everyone collaborates, putting aside virtuosity for themselves, a pleasant album.

Tracklist

1. Bird Nest (3:09)
2. Roaring Rapids (5:37)
3. Dying Star (9:15)
4. Ground Frost Forger (6:36)
5. Splendid Sun (1:58)
6. We Are (7:40)
7. A Small Blink of Light (6:11)
8. The Pond of No Return (10:12)

Lineup

Taavi Kiiskenen / Vocals
Timo Rantama / Guitar, Keyboards
Iiro Laitinen / Drums, Percussion
Tatu Back / Bass

Rantama |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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