Back in the early 80’s, long before Finland was truly on the map musically as a hotbed for alternative music, when you were lucky to know about HANOI ROCKS if anyone, given the lack of internet etc…there was a little band called MUSTA PARAATI, who despite only having a brief career, as well as several line-up changes, managed to influence artists like Jyrki with their post-punk, early proto-goth style. Now, in 2018, after a 30+ year hiatus (If you can even call it that) Jyrki has gone through all the appropriate rituals to bring these Finnish goth icons back from the grave, providing vocals for the brand new English self-titled album “Black Parade”. Please note, if you’re expecting anything relating to MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, you’re going to be disappointed…
The album opens up with “Animosity” and don’t worry, it’s the track name, you aren’t going get a smack in the chops. Generally a slow burner; you initially only get the soothing notes of guitarist Saku Paasiniemi, before it expands into a soft, synth-pop piece. A beautiful blend of rock ‘n’ roll, with throwback electronic keys and retro pop production, coupled with Jyrki’s distinct baritone vocals all combine for a strong start. Despite its slow-tempo it still houses a hook-laden catchy chorus and is textbook post-punk. We then have another of many highlights courtesy of “Nacht Der Untoten” (Which is German for Night Of The Dead) and the icy synth notes, along-side Jyrki’s deep drawl complement each other wonderfully, really allowing the idea and tone of the chilling, horror theme to shine through aesthetically.
Switching up linguistically next we go from German to French via “Aujourd’hui” and given the dark gothic tones, plus the French connection this reminds of early 69 Eyes works such as “Dance D’amour”, with the synths taking on an almost orchestral approach, adding a sense of intensity and drama at the tracks climax. Both “Radio” and “Digital Twin” provide up-beat, quirky, albeit by-numbers pieces of retro goth-pop, especially the latter, before standout track “Today”, as the shortest track here, gives a hard hitting dose of up-beat, bass-driven rock that fans of SISTERS OF MERCY should easily lap-up. While there are weaker tracks on offer here, like “Reaper” and “Chopsticks”…it’s more a case of them being a bit generic as opposed to bad, coming off as more filler than failure, managing to keep the album overall sounding consistently solid.
Given Jyrki’s distinct vocal style and the accompanying music, it would be easy to mistake this as 69 Eyes version 2.0…given the blend of garage rock and gothic atmospherics, almost acting like an unreleased selection of tracks rather than a new record with Musta Paraati…but let’s not let that detract from the fact we’re still getting superb quality gothic rock in 2018. This is must have for post-punk fans AND 69 Eyes fans, and it easily gratifies 69 Eyes fans around the world while we wait for 2019’s new 30th anniversary album, as well as reintroducing fans to one of Finland's hidden gems in the process. Musta Paraati? You Musta' listen to this one, seriously…