What makes an album “good”? Is it the production? The performance? The emotionality? Or is it the combination of all those elements?
Sorni Nai may be THE album of the past few years that encapsulates every aspect of what makes music art.
I rarely ever compliment albums in the way that I’m going to write about Kauan. This is a band that I hadn’t really heard of until late 2015, and the impact it has caused in my way of seeing art is just…yeah, exactly.
For those of you who do not know Kauan (in a way that includes myself), they’re a Russian metal/folk band. Now, don’t let the term “metal” overwhelm you beforehand, they ARE metal but not THAT kind of metal. And they sing in Finnish. Can you really not give them a shot? I swear Finnish has this very poetic feeling. And although I have no fucking clue what he’s saying, I get the final message anyways. The magic of art!
Sorni Nai was written inspired by the Dyatlov Pass Incident in 59. I’m sure many of you have heard the story one way or another, or at least a mention of it.
Basically, a whole crew disappeared in the middle of an expedition in the Ural region, only to be found far from their tents, half-dressed and dead from strange wounds and hypothermia. Not much information was ever released from the Soviets, given that they had no answers to give. That is unless you are part of the group that says this crew ran into a Soviet military base and got killed for discovering it. There’s plenty of mysticism around the case, obviously. Not just from the lack of facts, but from the ghostly folklore that surrounds that area. You probably get the idea by now, right?
I’m not entirely sure if all their previous albums are as conceptual as this one. Albums usually have a concept to bind the songs, but it’s not always in a story-driven fashion.
These days it’s hard to release a record with such characteristics, because people are looking for something more immediate. But I can assure you that Sorni Nai has all the qualities of a masterpiece, whether you enjoy the stillness of its snowy passages or its darkened gloomy verses. If you don’t feel a thing listening to it, then you better check your pulse.
I could use many more over the top adjectives to describe this record, but that’s pointless if you don’t just give it the chance to enter your system. You don’t get to hear something as profoundly written as this often, so just go on YouTube, type “Kauan – Sorni Nai” and enjoy the 52 minutes.
And for those who don’t enjoy the darker vocals (screaming), there really isn’t much to do other than get through the little parts that have it. Most of it is sung in a very calm voice, so don’t worry. I think it has 3 parts where you go “okay, that’s rough”, but nothing serious.