Alamaailman Vasarat ("The Hammers of the Underworld") are a unique prog band from Finland with an unusual line-up of musicians. Their brand of genius/insanity can be called- "ethnic brass punk", "kosher-kebab jazz. The bands origins come from different kinds of rock or jazz music and they make the simple statement: to rock you need no electric guitars! All you need is a pump organ, some brass, solid rhythm section with drums and cello and no prejudicies allowed, except that major keys are mostly banned. With this sort of recipe you will surely come up with something extraordinary.
Many people have admitted that one must hear music of Alamaailman Vasarat to understand what it really is about. One time you can sense flavours of ethnic music from different corners of the world combined with punky or metallic elements created by heavy cello and brutal drumming. Another moment they may surprisingly dash into a wild distorted polka or to a melancholic waltz a'la salvation army. This may sound confusing, but don't be afraid, it's all carefully thought about - and judging from the enthusiastic feedback given by audience in the live gigs, by those having purchased CD's and those having seen the hilarious video "Kebab tai henki!", it works like hell.
On stage Alamaailman Vasarat have proved that instruments like pump-organ and cello kick ass! The audience that have been attending the gigs, are by no means narrow-minded ethno music listeners, nor prog purists or jazz elitists, as one might expect judging from the instrumentation of the group, but quite every-day music consumers fascinated about the ultimate energy and briskness of this unusual combo. It escalated to the extreme in the Provinssirock 2000 festival, where the group had to give up a reasonable deal of the space on the stage to the divers, which you normally only see at metal gigs.
Alamaailman Vasarat was founded in 1997 by two members of Höyry-kone - the highly regarded avant-garde progressive rock group - drummer Teemu Hänninen and bass player Jarno Sarkula. The pragmatic reason for starting a new band next to another existing, was that Sarkula had impulsively bought a soprano saxophone, which he could not yet play, and both were fascinated about the idea to do music with an acoustic approach for a change. Later on the line-up was completed with the pump organist Miikka Huttunen, the cellist Marko Manninen (one more Höyry-kone member) and the trombonist Erno Haukkala.
The first year Alamaailman Vasarat matured the line-up by composing, arranging and rehearsing new songs, also constantly recording demos at their own studio. Alamaailman Vasarat made a soundtrack to a short film in late 1998, started doing live shows in the spring 1999 with a debute at the legendary rock club Tavastia in Helsinki, and later that spring filmed the video "Kebab tai Henki!", which was included in the program of the Tampere Film Festival 2000 and received fierce applause from the audience. During 2000 Alamaailman Vasarat have done a reasonable number of live shows at clubs and festivals in Finland and recorded their debut album. A short visit was done to USA in October 2000. Plans also include more videos, more performances in Finland and a productions with theatre and film industry.
Alamaailman Vasarat's debut album Vasaraasia has been rated on the World Music Charts Europe Top 20, where it was on the 11th position in January and 7th in February 2001.
More recently Vasarat's lineup has been expanded to feature two cellists. At first, Tuukka Helminen was asked to perform on few gigs early this year while Marko Manninen was recovering from hand accident. Later on he joined the band and will now permanently shape the band's sound with his unique style and technique.
In late June, the band played at Nearfest 2003, and gained a lot of fans. Their energy, musicianship and showmanship really sparkled and
Alamaailman Vasarat proved to be one of the testivals top performances.
biography courtesy of: Alamaailman Vasarat with a few changes by myself
Alamaailman Vasarat Discography:
KÄÄRMELAUTAKUNTA Released March 2003 Wolfgang Records
VASARAASIA Released September 2000 Wolfgang Records