Fine. Let’s come right out and talk about it. There’s really not much of a distance between Angel Witch’s self-titled 1980 debut and what Rotör is doing. It’s a whole bunch of Angel Witch mixed with some Motörhead, some punk rock and a nice touch of grit in the vocals. But, when it comes down to it, is there really anything wrong with that? There’s a reason those bands were so awesome and timeless. So, other bands using their toolbox to create some super fun punk-influenced metal… who could begrudge that?
When listening to some high octane rock & roll, it’s important to lubricate one’s mind properly. Musta käsi provides plenty of opportunities for throwing your fist into the air, dropping to your knees or ferociously playing air guitar on your beer gut. So, as a warning, you’re gonna want to stretch out and get yourself in the right physical shape before pressing play.
One of the most fun aspects is that Rotör rocks out in the language of their native country, Finland. Honestly, simply not understanding the words can make things really fun. Kind of reminiscent of Japanese punk rock and rock acts like Guitar Wolf who go full octane in their own tongue. Finnish, as a language, provides a bunch of rock & roll staples. Most importantly, the language is staccato and consonant heavy, thus the vocal stylings are easily spit in the microphone creating rhythms of their own that layer nicely over the classic Motörhead-styled beats in the background. Second, there are plenty of rolling R’s across the tracks. Particularly on my favorite track, “Valittu.”
Another aspect of the Finnish take on this rock blend includes a 1950s-leaning sound that rears its head on tracks like “Porttokirkko” and “Portti helvettiin.” It’s not du-wop or anything like that, but the tracks have a real “family-style” feel to them. Palatable and formulaic. There’s also their take on the ballad in “Käärme,” and subsequent track “Loputon,” which is more successful than you might think as it leans towards traditional heavy metal in its riff structure and its implication of a sing-along type chorus.
All in all, Musta käsi is an album that immediately appealed to me. From the badass robot cover art to the fast-paced style tinged with punk, it immediately connected to my crusty heart. While I am always impressed by bands who take music in new directions I’m not always married to those albums as heavy rotation. There’s something comforting about Rotör and their use of classic elements that feel familiar. It’s a very easy album to listen to in almost any setting. There’s really nothing wrong with doing what has worked so very well for nearly four decades.