Aarni was a spirit of a dragon, which was believed to be lying on top of a buried treasure. Used as a prefix in Finnish, Aarni can have a number of meanings, for example "ancient untouched forest" and "will-o-the-wisp". In Greek Aarni (with one 'a') means "lamb". "Bathos" is a very strange album that makes me feel confused and unable to characterize this kind of music. But in general you will find unusual Doom Metal mixed with ambient and folklore elements.
Aarni's story began in the autumn of 1998, when Markus Marjomaa quit a local Gothic Metal band called Inevitable due to music related conflicts within the band. The group was joined by keyboard player Comte De Saint-Germain and drummer Doomintroll. Aarni would be completed by Mistress Palm, oddly apparently not a real person but a computer program. A self financed EP, "Duumipeikon Paluu", was delivered in 2002. Aarni issued a split CD release with fellow Doom Finns Umbra Nihil for a 2002 release through the Firebox Label.
What can I say about this album...I think I'm not the most appropriate person to judge the music of Aarni, but I'll try and give it a shot.
"Bathos" is an amazing album which has magical and mystical soundscapes. It can journey you to a magic place, just like the ones we dreamed of when we were kids, with strange animals, unseen plants, talking trees etc. On to the music now, first of all I noticed the amazing rhythmical parts in every track. All the songs on the album have unusual harmonies and melodies that I've never listened to before. The general style is Doom Metal, played like never before, perfectly mixed with ambient soundscapes, Folklore elements and some psychedelic moments. The vocals are sometimes clear, sometimes like recitations and a few growlings. The themes of Aarni's music consist of Finnish folklore and paganism, occultism and mythologies. Aarni's lyrics take form in many languages such as Finnish, Classical Latin, Ancient Egyptian and many more.
The album starts with an ambient intro, with its name being written in the Greek language, "Oneiroskopos" [Chief Editor's Note: the song's title is not written in Greek in this review in order to be viewed by everyone] and it means something like a "dream machine". The third song, "Quinotaurus", is my favorite; it starts off with a flute, then continues with an amazing romantic melody accompanied by acoustic and electric guitars, synths and perfectly well-matched vocals. "Kivijumala" is an instrumental song. The fifth song, "V.I.T.R.I.O.L.", is also amazing, with very slow melodies which give you a strange and mysterious feeling. "The Thunder, Perfect Mindfuck" is the only song from the album which is closer to Doom Death, than the other songs and also the only song which has brutal vocals. "Mental Fugue" has very beautiful guitar lines and melodies and reminds me of some Rock Jazz songs.
I believe that "Bathos" is the best Doom, Avant-Garde or whatever album. Very nice harmonies, beautiful melodies and a feeling of magic and mysticism that few musicians succeed in depositing all that together in one release.
- Album Highlights: All the album and the artwork cover.