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Oh my... it's a candy moon! - 83%

Lich Coldheart, February 11th, 2017

Tulikaste must be one of the most sugary metal albums I ever listened to. Despite it not really reaching Twilight Force-y levels in terms of sweetness and containing a strong dose of heaviness, the overly present melodic shredding, the polished production, the overuse of the synths and the space sound effects makes the record pretty saccharine.

The record has gotten some strong positive points such as a good amount of cool riffs that are proof of the great creativity and the musicianship of the band, an overall good flow and the unpredictable sections that succeed one another during the songs. There's also a good amount of shredding which is inspired enough to keep you interested but, unfortunately, it is used excessively and becomes tiresome at some point. Even the strong rhythmic guitar ends up achieving the same result due to its one-dimensional tone. Those flaws are, however, the consequences of this record's being overlong and would have been key factors to a sublime listening experience had Tulikaste been around 40 minutes long instead of a full hour.

The music creates a strong enwrapping atmosphere that draws you in a tour throughout the Universe. The cool, ethereal space sounds and the ambient spacey interludes that make the transition from one riff storm to another contribute greatly to the achievement of that atmosphere and makes a unique, fun trip through the cosmos out of Tulikaste, trip of which even the legendary Hawkwind would be proud of.

Tuliterä did a great job with this record and proved their level of cosmic artistry is in a league of its own. They managed to create a mix of space rock and prog metal that flows elegantly and they deliver both it terms of cool sound effects and riffing. The good bass and drum support are elements that further embellish this cosmic image that would have been really astonishing had it not been for the excessive use of synths that makes it so damn saccharine.

The album itself is not very memorable but I don't think it was made for this purpose to begin with. I think this album is meant to allow the listener to have some fun among the stars while the music is playing and that's it. Should one want to relive the experience they have only to spin the disc once more. I may be wrong but, at least, that's what I use this album for. It may be overlong and overall quite mellow but Tuliterä manage to express themselves in such a great way that I'm willing to close my eyes to those imperfections.

To sum up, the album is very enjoyable and a good choice if you want to have some fun. It may be excessively sweet but it's one hell of an instrumental prog metal album. If you happen to enjoy space rock, prog metal or lighter kinds of music in general you should, at least, give it a try.

No Man's Sky: The Metal Version - 80%

raspberrysoda, August 29th, 2016

If this album could be compared to a video game, it would've definitely been No Man's Sky. Both Tulikaste and the video game are space-influenced, with both inducing an outer spacial atmosphere. Once you've hit the start button on both, you know that in that moment you've left the planet to explore the unknown stars- because both are relatively new, and although one is pretty much unknown among its targeted circle (the metal audience) the other is pretty much known among sci fi gamers. Unfortunately, both share the same problem- although they have a very strong concept, both generate the same algorithm and start being very repetitive.

Considering that this is a purely intrumental album, the music here itself isn't bad at all. The drums have a really cool part in the album, and the audible bass is very prominent too, but the most notable instruments are definitely the guitars and the synths. Yeah. Synths. They sound like they came straight from a sci fi movie soundtrack, and with the guitars which plod through the album, the album sounds promising so far. The problem here is that after an idea is used for too long, it loses of its strength and impact on the listener. Take the first song as an example - the same theme is used for the four minutes of a duration, with the slightest change bring the addition of the guitars- and the same goes to most of the tracks here. If the album's span was reduced by a half and the song themes weren't as overused, it would've certainly made this an even more fun listen than it actually is. Tulikaste is pretty much an extra terrestial rollercoaster of melodic bridge sections, sci-fi-ish "solos," and atmospheric ambient sections which really give you a feeling of floating outside of our atmosphere's range.

I really don't know what the band has achieved with releasing this full length, but if it was meant to be a soundtrack to a space-based video game, well done Tulitera. You just made the game soundtrack of the year, and with metal influences it's a double win for sure. Recommended for enthusiastic space-related video game fans who happen to like metal as well.

Whoa There Friend! You Might Need to Slow Down! - 78%

stainedclass2112, August 29th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Independent

Tulitera's Tulikaste is an instrumental heavy metal album with some slightly progressive leanings and a lot of keyboards. Let me stress that, this entire album is actually dominated by keys and synths. The guitars actually play second fiddle to the synths here and they rarely do more than your basic heavy metal riff. This would be quite the problem if not for the extremely innovative way the keys are used. The band manages to craft one hell of an atmosphere with the tools at their disposal, and the final product is anything but boring. Its main problems lie in its tendency to be rather one dimensional, but overall, Tulikaste ends up being a very unique, interesting, and to varying degrees, effective synth-driven metal album.

The strengths of the album will become apparent immediately: the atmosphere of this thing can be just heavenly at times. Take the masterful effects of the song "Firedew" or the sublime mixture of futuristic synths and eastern musical vibes that is "Voidborn" and you'll quickly come to fall in love with the ethereal sci-fi vibe that this album emanates. The guitar riffs and bass work, while not as obvious and driving as you'd expect for a metal album, do a great job of keeping a sufficient level of energy in the music. This is shown off on my favorite track, "Jagat", which fires off the runway with a kickass speed metal riff then proceeds to scorch through the stratosphere with an ever-entrancing layer of effects and synths. Throughout this entire album everything manages to be really creative and well done.

Really, this band sort of pulls off one hell of a feat in crafting a really memorable synth-driven metal album that has very few obvious flaws, but after a while the magnificent atmosphere starts to lose its sheen. A lot of times, there's just so many freaking synths that it would put Alex Lifeson into a coma. You feel yourself actually wanting a more streamlined experience rather than just keys and sound effects layered over a few riffs. This is proven in songs like "Alpha Blade" and "Jagat" which show off some really nice riffwork in addition to the synthesized craziness; they end up being the best on the album. Songs like the 14 minute "All-Seeing Delirium" rely too much on their atmosphere and totally fail to offer anything to chew on. It's even worse on the last song on the album, which is basically a throwaway track with a boring riff and some noodly keys.

So as a whole this album does a lot of things right. Its got a ton of really cool effects and a killer, futuristic atmosphere and the occasional kickass guitar riff. It also stumbles a few times, mainly in the fact that it relies too heavily on its keys and atmosphere. At best, this album sounds like a completely mesmerizing journey through the stars (complete with space whales!) but at worst it sounds like background music that didn't make it into the Ratchet and Clank series. I like this album quite a bit - it offers a really immersive experience that is a step above your usual instrumental metal album. However, it could've been a masterpiece with a bit more ingenuity and streamlined songwriting, but as it stands it is merely a really cool, space-themed instrumental metal album.

Overdone synth, underdone guitar - 70%

PorcupineOfDoom, August 29th, 2016

Tuliterä are weird. If I had to sum this project up in one word, I think "weird" would be the best way to do it. There's a lot of variety on their debut LP Tulikaste, but the one constant is the spacey feel to the music. Do I like it? Well, it's hard to sum up if I like the entire album when every song has a personality so different from the last, but overall I think it's a success.

First things first, I haven't listened to an abundance of instrumental music but that's a factor that can swing both ways. There's no worry about awful vocals or lyrics ruining some masterful instrumentation, but it's also possible that you miss out on a huge part of the music. It's one less dynamic to play with, which obviously leaves a lot of potential for an instrumental project to fall a little flat. There's a lot going on already in Tuliterä's music so the impact isn't always felt, but I do sometimes question if some singing - even something slightly distorted in the background - would have helped to breathe that little bit more life into Tulikaste. It's not exactly dry, but despite all of the atmosphere brought to the table by the keyboards it always feels like something's missing, and it's fairly obvious where the finger ends up being pointed.

There's something I don't like about the guitars. The rhythm section is pretty clunky and generally seems to be there solely to make some noise, although it often fades into the synth and becomes part of the background. It's slightly distracting, but not enough to completely ruin the music. The leads have a tone to them that makes them sound weak. Maybe it was their intention that the guitar loses out to the synth, but if so then it's a decision that I question. Obviously with such large influences from space rock the synths are needed to craft the atmosphere, but I don't think that means the guitar can't be at the forefront. There also isn't much innovation from the direction of the guitar, with most of the work being done by the synth. But while the guitar suffers from being a little underdone, the synth has the complete opposite problem. Too often rather than just creating the distant feeling of being deep in space we're bombarded with all sorts of effects, not always with a negative impact but often making everything seem a little cheesy and overdone.

The one thing that Tuliterä never get wrong are the ambient sections. This is probably the album's saving grace. The band are very good at choosing when to implement each feature so as to compliment what's already there, as demonstrated brilliantly on the opening track 'Percolator' which is entirely ambient. I got excited hearing that, thinking that the whole album would be more of the same spacey ambient brilliance. Sadly that's not how it plays out, but the ambient sections do play a large role in many tracks, particularly in the buildup of 'Voidborn' and as an interlude in the fourteen minute epic 'All-Seeing Delirium'. These parts always capture the feeling of space so much better than anywhere else on Tulikaste just because of their minimalist nature. Maybe more of this would have been boring, but they're played so masterfully when they crop up that I can't help but feel Tuliterä would be able to pull it off.

Having listened to Tulikaste a few times over I can conclude that it's not bad, but I wouldn't say it's great either. The synth is too dominant and the guitar doesn't play enough of a role, at least for my liking, and the sci-fi feel is always a tad too exaggerated. 'Voidborn', 'Firedew' and 'Percolator' are all excellent tracks that capture everything that I feel this album should, but the other six are hit and miss.

Offensively flashy crap - 10%

Napalm_Satan, August 28th, 2016

Tuliterä try oh so hard to impress us with this instrumental spacey crap but fail miserably. The album is largely driven by the keyboards, which sucks because they're awful. They bleep and bloop constantly, playing these 'spacey' sound effects and somehow sound really off and wrong when they play a melody, which ruins even the quiet sections of the album. And perhaps even worse is that they never really stop - they're always there, endlessly jangling away and giving everyone a headache. The modern and downtuned guitars are buried in the background, playing a few solid thrashy riffs here and there amidst not doing much at all or going for some awful chugging sequences. The leads on this album recall arsewash like Between the Buried and Me with their 'spaciness' and beeping nature. They're all over the place and dominate everything. They're pretty technical, yeah, but they go nowhere. In fact the only thing that doesn't annoy are the drums, which are played with a great deal of skill by balancing technicality and restraint, a skill that no one else in this band has at all.

Obviously something with only a few riffs doesn't work as a metal release but this doesn't work as ambient either. It's far too 'in your face' to act as ambient, and is written like a jam session. These songs kind of meander about and progress far too quickly, so nothing sticks in your mind and nothing is really ever developed. When the band gets a good riff going (like in 'Firedew', which I'm only mentioning because it's playing now) they manage not to develop it at all. The same riff grinds away, the solos noodle on and on and the keys are either there and being annoying or staying mercifully quiet. I can't remember anything from this album after several listens, apart from hazy memories of 'spacey' keyboard effects and soloing, as well as being very annoyed by the end of it. The album is relentless in its flashiness and gives me a headache after a while.

The album shows zero restraint throughout, bombarding you with all of this for its excruciating hour long duration. Despite the keyboards and attempts at being spacey no atmosphere is ever cultivated because that requires nous and songwriting talent, something this band lack in completely. So what we have here is the worst case scenario for modern progressive metal - all form and no substance, no restraint, no songwriting, no atmosphere and a disturbing lack of good riffs. This is completely fluffy, flashy novel garbage that makes old Dragonforce seem restrained and tasteful, only this shit isn't fun at all.

A Cosmic Journey - 86%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, May 1st, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Independent

I cannot say that I have heard anything like Tulitera in my life. They emobody something that is so much more than a band of four men who love progressive metal. They are composers who see value in substance, even without lyrics, for the songs speak for themselves. They are a producer of music that will alter your mood and emotions and leave you awe struck, wanting more. Tulikaste has been one of the most dynamic albums I've listened to in terms of sound, mood, and tempo change. Although some songs tend to be a little to lengthy for their own good, the songwriting is what makes the album so memorable.

There is a definite sci-fi theme in Tulikaste. With the absence of lyrics, in theory this message would be hard to get across. But with the spacey sounding keyboards and synths, a song titled "Star Rodeo" and an album cover of a sword slicing through a spiral galaxy, the message is easily received. This theme and the quality of the music will change your mood and can even relax you. When listening to "Firedew," I can envision the triumphant take-off of a rocket destined for space and then a bumpy ride through the cosmos. It goes into a all-consuming, otherworldly journey into musical sections of lightning fast, euphoric complexity, only to return back to the triumphant beginning. The track that will send chills down your spine and goose bumps all over your body is "All Seeing Delirium." Clocking in at a whopping fourteen minutes and eleven seconds, this track is full of different movements and sections and will make you feel much different than you were before you listen to it.

In terms of song structure and length, this album is a hit and miss. As great as "All Seeing Delirium" was, it was too long for me at times, and featured parts that could've been broken up into smaller songs. Other songs like "Menticide," "Jagat," and "Firedew" all had a fitting song length to the amount of material put in them, or they possessed a good mixture of parts, interludes, and sections in which a longer song length would be fitting.

The musicianship was very good in Tulikaste. The word "artistry" would be a better fit for a group whose abilities exceed that of just a group of musicians. I see many cases of good attention to detail, a fantastic amount of sensitivity to parts other than just guitar and drums, and an overall vibe of completeness. There is quite a bit of alternate parts and harmony sections happening throughout the album. The beginning of "Cetus" is a good example of this. Not only does bass player Tommi Tolonen get a chance to shine and play a part that is different from the guitar, but he gets to provide the basic melody in which the guitar riffing of Vesa Partti and Hannu Willman can harmonize with. Also, in "Cetus" is the right and precise drumming of Tommi Nissinen. The majority of the song involves tempo and speed changes in which he must adapt to, with no room for mistake, to keep the band flowing properly. But Nissinen just kept a musical straight face and swept thought the song like a pro. He also provides a supportive groove in the beginning and end of "Firedew" (this album's best song), in which a solid beat is necessary to help the band move along properly. There is even a guest appearance by a tampura player on the track "Voidborn," which adds to the sullen mood of that song.

It's arguable that the production could be considered slick, but what can one do when a manufactured sound is what the end result of what these nine songs called for. So I'm not going to say much about Tulikaste's production because there isn't much to say, except that sometimes the guitars were put through too many filters in some songs. I simply can't wait to see what Tuliterä has in store for myself and their other fans. They provided well with Tulikaste, showed the world what they can do and represented the "space metal" theme very well. If substance and great music is what you seek then Tulikaste is for you.