If Värttinä had never recorded another album after 'iki' in 2003 their achievement would have been momentous, an unrivalled catalogue celebrating a tradition, in performances of unrivalled brilliance. Maybe that's why Miero has such an incredible effect, sweeping us off our feet with an unexpected surge of creativity that has dug deeper into that ancient tradition, taking our breath away, and stretching the song-writing genius of Värttinä further than we ever thought it might go, with a vocal range previously untapped and blinding instrumentals.
How can a band which has been together for so long achieve this? Part of it, says sax and bouzouki player Janne Lappalainen, is that with the The Lord of the Rings the band has been forced to be together for much longer stretches of time than ever before, writing songs and lyrics all the time. This has served to unleash huge amounts of music from them, not just for the stage production, but when it came to the album in the summer of 2005 there were nearly forty songs that could have gone on it, they just dripped music and texts. "Just when we were worn out and tired, we wrote our best tunes ever," laughs Janne.
What emerged is an album of the darkest songs the band has ever done. "We've done happy music," says Janne. "We've grown up, we have the confidence to address any emotions." 'My loathing drips blood, my pain slashes, curses, drenches with pus' - there's plenty more like that, dangerously cloaked in that wonderfully mysterious Finnish language. Dark? The lyrics are black, jet black, yet the music is vibrant, energetic, pulsating with gleaming instrumental writing and witty singing. It's this all-important contrast which makes the album so successful - music which gets under your skin and words which impregnate your mind. "I'm a big fan of strong emotions," says producer Aija Puurtinen (lead singer with Finnish cult band Honey B and the T-Bones as well as vocal coach at the Sibelius Academy.......