Riiti is Paara’s second full length album that consists of four songs. Two which clocks over 10 minutes and two that runs well over five minutes. Albums that are structured like this will usually be very story-telling and dramatic, and that is precisely how this album goes. This piece features grand openings, pulsing drum walls, hammering guitars, beautiful clean vocals, energetic harsh vocals, calm interludes and more.
Paara hails from Finland and performs all their lyrics in their native tongue. I haven’t found the lyrics anywhere but they must be lengthy pieces because there is almost always some singing or other vocals going on. The mix is vert crisp and clear and if you understood Finnish I’m very certain you could follow the stories unfold without too much effort.
Unlike most black metal of this style this album does not have a distinct reverb in the mix. All instruments are up-front and easy to hear. The drums are very punchy and provide and strong foundation for the other instruments perform on. The guitar tone is not as ice cold and muddy as the of first wave black metal. Instead I would say that the tone leans towards a blackened death metal sound. The guitars are played either in tremolo or in longer notes and the riffs and melodies feel very mature and well developed.
Though Riiti is not without it’s issues. There is definitely the feel of repetition throughout it, all songs try to be the same thing to some degree and if the riffs, phasing and structure are overall the same the risk of losing the listener’s interest is high. There are few of those moments on Riiti. One example is “Kuiskaus pimeästä”, the album finale, which starts quite aggressive but then the song continues with a rather long and drawling part. Fortunately, after this bit the song progresses into beautiful interlude that bridges over to the absolute peak of the song. The build-up from mellow to raging is very impressive, and they also manage to throw in an unsuspected folky sequence right before the album closes.
The major impression I got from this album that they went in with a clear picture from start and realised their ideas competently. Despite struggling to stay interested through all parts of the album it’s still an effort well worth checking out and I would rate it 72/100%.