Unlike many folks I know, I don’t have a problem with instrumental albums. Many of the albums I own and play fall into that category, albeit they all seem to be by bands called ‘Symphony’ something or the something ‘Orchestra’; yep, like many metal heads I know, my car radio is as likely to be tuned to Classic FM as to any rock station. As such, in my opinion it shows no small amount of confidence and plain and simple balls for Finnish act Tuliterä to release an hour of vocal free Prog as their debut, namely ‘Tulikaste’, indeed, a search of online dictionaries gives the best translation of the album title as ‘Baptism of Fire.’
From the album cover of a magical sword flying through space, it is clear that the band are not afraid to show their seventies Prog influences, and opening track ‘Percolator’ does just that, Theramin like whizzes and whirs that were a staple of space opera sci-fi of that era streaking through the track that serves as an extended intro to the album. ‘Alpha Sword’ follows with the hard rock beats of clashing Manga star-ships, and I found it impossible not to imagine a screen full of brightly coloured space fighters weaving through the void, each piloted by an extravagantly coiffured hero. Even the title ‘Alpha Sword’ invokes images of ‘Battle of the Planets’ and ‘Ulysses 3000’, long forgotten cartoon fodder of my youth.
‘Jagat’ follows, and I found myself wondering when Ziltoid the Omniscient would growl forth to demand more of the universe’s finest coffee, the fast and technical guitar work having more that a little of Heavy Devi about it, whilst the track that follows, ‘Firedew’ opened with a slower, more orchestral feeling with hints of Mike Oldfield about it before the pace again built up like an instrumental break in a Blind Guardian track.
Tuliterä manage to pull off what is no mean feat by keeping the attention of the listener throughout what is not a short album that is bereft of any vocal hooks to grab the listener, relying instead on musical composition to tell their stories. Throughout can be heard influences of the likes of Pink Floyd in ‘Voidborn’, J-Rock in the sprint of ‘Star Rodeo’, and even the meandering indulgences of Yes in the epic ‘All Seeing Delirium’ for which the keyboard player must have donned their finest Rick Wakeman wizard’s cape to journey from the centre of the earth to the far reaches of the galaxy, whilst album closer ‘Menticide’ could well accompany the advance of the red weed from a Martian invasion. If you’re after a bit of sci-fi heavy atmospheric rock, or maybe you’re just a mad scientist looking for some background music to play in your lab whilst conducting your blasphemous experiments or threatening to torture a captive space princess, Tuliterä may well be what your are looking for.