Murmansk
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Murmansk

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland | MAJOR

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland | MAJOR
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"MURMANSK: CHINESE LOCKS REVIEW (RUMBA)"

A WORLD OF CRUSHING BEAUTY
Murmansk
Chinese Locks
5/5

“A dumbfounding debut by the Helsinki based band.”

“It opens with echoes, distant whale noises and frozen plateaus. Already the name of the band promises something enormous, wild and highly charged. And the contrasts, let's not forget about them. Widescreen-claustrophobia. There's a phrase to perhaps best describe what Murmansk is all about.

Not long ago, at their record release show at Helsinki's Kuudes Linja, Murmansk came as if out of the blue and stole the show. The intense focus of the bassist, Olli, as he controls the bouncing powerline holding the songs together – with eyes affixed to the floor. The guitarist Jari's Telecaster-tearing manic rage. Jaakko's relentless drumfills. Coming to a chorus, the frontline kicks their pedalboards to full throttle, and over the barely contained chaos drifts the vocalist Laura's heart-stopping scream.

Murmansk were followed by the American Kinski, and even though their set deserves a lot of credit, after Murmansk it still felt like an obsolete blues-exercise.

When it comes to young bands, that magic is usually gone by the time they get to their debut album. Thankfully, this is not the case with Chinese Locks. It is almost inconceivable how well the album captures the intensity of Murmansk's live performances.

Just listen to the dizzying drum fills opening Pale, the clever reference to Sonic Youth's Dirty Boots on Shallow End, the moody atmosphere in the spirit of Massive Attack and Portishead on Last Scene, and the Nirvana -like rage on the hidden track – how wonderfully nineties! And the way Laura gasps for air after every scream sounds like she's getting buried alive in a landslide.

And so the journey continues, from harmony to dissonance, from walls of guitar to quiet, atmospheric parts. Murmansk cuts a wound in the soul with Chinese Locks, bleeding out the blood of a black heart and the beloved names of the 90's: Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure, The Cranes, Come, Huggy Bear, Ride, Catherine Wheel, Swervedriver, PJ Harvey and Fugazi. Even memories of the Finnish pioneer in the field, Alice in Wasteland, awaken somewhere deep inside.

Shoegazing. Mathrock. Hardcore. Postrock. All of that, but revived in a very refreshing way.”

- Jean Ramsay
- RUMBA (April 2008)


"MURMANSK: CHINESE LOCKS REVIEW (RYTMI)"

MURMANSK
Chinese Locks
Around Your Neck
5/5

"Oh my god how good this Helsinki based Murmansk's debut album is. They say that they are even better live, which I find hard to believe as the beautiful and heavy soundscape of Chinese Locks is in perfect balance with the surrounding reality, especially when listening with headphones.

The band's aggressive shoegazing is like a streamlined block of concrete in a particle accelerator: ruthless, fragile and comforting. The second song Vague Language is perhaps the most brilliant and the most easily approachable example of this. But the whole album, all the way to the 15-minute Wholeshebang! track radiates such confidence and know-how, that this album will most definitely be on my list of the best albums of 2008. Everything is crowned with Laura's transformable voice."
- Jussi Mäntysaari - RYTMI


"Press quotes"

It's heavy, atmospheric and, all in all, immensely satisfying. And, for a debut album, quite impressive. Very recommended!
It's A Trap! (US)

Oh my god this debut album by the Helsinki-based Murmansk is good! Word has it that they are even better live, something I find hard to believe as the beautiful and heavy soundscape of Chinese Locks is in perfect balance with the surrounding reality, especially when listening with headphones. The band's aggressive shoegazing is like a streamlined block of concrete in a particle accelerator: ruthless, fragile and comforting. Rytmi Magazine (Finland)

Murmansk is all about noise. This shouldn't be a surprise, as I just mentioned they frequently lapse into experimental rock. (...) It is in the experimental moments that Murmansk sets themselves apart from other rock groups. Fensepost (US)

The sound the band have is strongly linked to the sound being made at the turn of the 1990s - shoegaze rock. But this isn't swirly guitars and dreamy soundscapes - the band have a rock'n'roll heart and if you like bands like Curve, Autolux and Televise you could well find the music that Murmansk make appealing. Indie MP3 (UK)

Time will prove that Murmansk is a band that you will hear more about. diskant.dk (Denmark)

This assortment of heavy, searing guitars, fantastic and pumping bass lines, an angelic voice and a powerful drumming that would put even Slayer to shame instantly hooked me and never let me go since then. This is great, great music. Greenfeyboy (Germany)

Go and see them live while you can still afford the tickets. Aktivist (Poland) - Various


"by:Larm Festival review, Oslo, Norway (Drowned In Sound)"

Murmansk

Until now, non-metal bands from Finland went largely unnoticed. This year’s by:Larm appearances suggest that 2010 undoubtedly belongs to the Finns. Enter the alien and eerie world of Murmansk. Borrowing their name from the cold and isolated Russian outpost, this Helsinki–based foursome invited the selected few present at Rockefeller Annex on Friday night to an intense and passionate sonic experience. Hidden behind a thick veil of smoke and large amounts of distortion their compositions proved to be incredibly well-arranged and flawlessly executed. Their bass-driven sound consisted of countless melodic layers and dynamic changes creating lunar soundscapes infused with urgency and aggression, while their gripping lower-key passages were washed away in gloom and melancholy. Their aloof and enchanting singer is tiny in size but possessed a considerable vocal range.

http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4139252 - Drowned In Sound (UK)


"Lost In Music Festival review (Mojo)"

Equally intense at ex-warehouse Pakkahuone are Murmansk, a four-piece with a female singer. Sweet yet strident vocals are underpinned by a pumped-up overhaul of the distorted attack of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. The passionate force of Murmansk and Joensuu 1685 suggests that Finns have no problem with the visceral, even when not tackling metal.

Much of the rest of Lost In Music isn't quite so draining.

http://www.mojo4music.com/blog/2009/11/finns_aint_what_they_used_to_b.html - Mojo Magazine (UK)


"Spot Festival review, Aarhus, Denmark (Mojo)"

"A change in mood comes with two Finnish bands: Murmansk and Joensuu 1685. Murmansk mix the attack of Death Valley 69 Sonic Youth with My Bloody Valentine and top it with Julie Driscoll vocals. (...) Finland is in good hands."

http://www.mojo4music.com/blog/2009/06/denmark_full_points.html - Mojo Magazine (UK)


"Spot Festival review, Aarhus, Denmark (Clash)"

"Time for a quick sprint back to the site for the similarly intense Murmansk, a Finnish outfit with a shoegazing bent. The few punters who’ve left the sun to head inside are well rewarded by a raucous guitar attack and a tiny but powerful front woman in Laura Soininen: the girl’s a star."


http://www.clashmusic.com/live-review/spot-festival-the-clash-review - Clash Magazine


"Lost In Music Festival review"

"While in Finland, I caught Murmansk’s performance on the suggestion of a number of people. Much like nearly every other band I caught there, they didn’t disappoint. They rocked harder than anyone I saw in Finland and did it with most of the lights off. Great for a dramatic light show, not so much for my photos. Still, even if I never got a clear view of the lead singer’s face, they were a memorable group. I’d love to see them paired as an opening act for someone like A Place to Bury Strangers."


http://www.youaintnopicasso.com/2009/11/08/murmansk-lost-in-music-showcase-10-23-09/ - You Ain't No Picasso (UK)


"Die finnische Band Murmansk im Porträit (Zeitjung.de)"

Angenehm kühl

Die finnische Band Murmansk
im Porträit

Murmansk zeigen, dass die Kälte Finnlands zu mehr führen kann als abgestorbenen Gliedmaßen oder Metal.

Man kann sie spüren, ihre Affinität zur Kälte. Allein der Bandname: Murmansk, benannt nach der nördlichsten Großstadt der Welt. Dazu eine Website voller Eisschollen und Winterlandschaften. Und natürlich auch die Songs. Dabei wird Kälte in der Musik oft mit Berechnung, Verkopftheit oder gar Seelenlosigkeit assoziiert – wegen der eisigen Unnahbarkeit, weil der Sound nicht greifbar scheint. Dabei funktionieren Murmansk völlig intuitiv, sobald man sich in ihrer Unruhe fallen lassen kann.

Inmitten dieser unkontrollierbaren Gitarren, die scheinbar keinen Riffs folgen, sondern Krachkaskaden errichten und einstürzen lassen, aus Geräuschen, Feedback- und Effektorgien, thronend auf einem gewaltigen Rhythmusfundament. Irgendwo zwischen Sonic Youth, Isis und Curve. Dazu diese eindringliche Stimme, die Halt zu geben scheint, um im nächsten Moment in überzogen-sphärischen Hall überirdisch zu wirken, um sich dann Richtung nöliges Riot Grrrl zu verabschieden – alles oft in einem Song.

Murmansk machen es einem nicht leicht. Ihre beiden Alben Chinese Locks und Eleven Eyes To Shade sind kein Easy Listening, wollen es auch nicht sein. Dabei lauert unter all den Schichten aus psychedelischem Prog, Noise-Rock und Shoegaze keine verklärte Intellektualität, sondern eine Vorliebe für Rock’N’Roll – für rohe, unbeherrschbare und treibende Songs. Beobachtet man die vier Finnen auf der Bühne könnte man ihnen glatt zutrauen, dass sie im Anschluss ihre Instrumente zerstören, soviel Energie transportieren sie. Doch solch ein Pathos passt nicht zur Band, Murmansk vermeiden allzu große Gesten. Deswegen braucht es auch seine Zeit bis man mit ihnen auftaut, sich an die Kälte gewöhnt hat, aber dann entdeckt man eine der atmosphärischsten Bands seit Langem, fernab jeglicher Hypes.



http://www.zeitjung.de/ZEITGEIST/artikel_detail,5394,Angenehm-kuehl.html - Zeitjung.de (GER)


"Murmansk tun weh. Trotzdem hingehn!"

Eine kleine Polemik zu Beginn. Manchmal scheint es so, dass jeder schwedische Nachwuchshansel, der eine Gitarre halten und drei Akkorde spielen kann, wenige Wochen später mit seiner Band auf Deutschlandtour geht und auf den wohlw0llenden Bonus hofft, der ihm wegen der vier Worte »neue Band, Schweden, oh!« hierzulande entgegenschlägt. Rein gefühlter Erfahrungswert. Viele großartige Bands aus Schweden gehört die letzten Jahre, aber auch viel oberflächlich Belangloses und selbstverliebt Selbstgefälliges.

Was mich endlich zum Punkt bringt. Finnische Bands gehen nicht so selbstverständlich lässig mit der Selbstvermarktung um wie die schwedischen. Was im Endeffekt dazu führt, dass Bands zwischen Helsinki und Oulu vielleicht stillschweigend darauf hoffen, entdeckt zu werden. Und sich ansonsten eher nicht über die Landesgrenzen hinauswagen. Sei es wegen fehlender internationaler Kontakte zu Promotern und Agenturen, sei es wegen der Scheu davor, sich in den Mittelpunkt zu stellen und selbstbewusst zu sagen: Welt, hier bin ich!

Um so erfreulicher ist es, dass eine der interessantesten und aufhorchenden machendsten jungen finnischen Bands in diesen Tagen tatsächlich für einige wenige Konzerte nach Deutschland kommt: Hamburg, Köln und München, ihr habt es gut: Ihr könnt Murmansk live erleben! Näheres unter unseren Tourterminen.

Das Quartett aus Helsinki, das sich nach der nördlichsten Großstadt der Welt benannt hat, geht mit kompromissloser Entschlossenheit bis an die Schmerzgrenze. Rüttelt an den Gitterstäben, die den Noiserock vom Rest der Welt trennen. Schert sich nicht um Vorbilder. Sonic Youth, klar, haben wir gehört, aber wir sind wir!

Bassgetriebene Intensität. Blutende Schönheit. Gewalttätige Sensibilität. Überwältigende Hingabe. Die Ohrstöpsel fliegen aus den Lauschgängen, nutzen nichts. Es geht um Gewalt und Empfindsamkeit hier. Und um die Stimme von Laura Soininen. Die Sängerin will nicht die charismatische Frontfrau sein. Ist schüchtern, zurückhaltend, inmitten all dieser extrovertierten Lärmwälle. Passt nicht? Passt eben deswegen genau!

Murmansk sind funkelnd Suchende. Brutal Findende. Sensibel Ausprobierende. Mitleidlos Zerstörende. Aufmerksam Beobachtende. Zielgenau Zuschlagende. Unbequeme. Schmerzende Andere.

Live erlebt im vergangenen Sommer auf dem Ämyrock-Festival in Hämeenlinna, abseits des Mainstream, wo die Newcomer umsonst und draußen spielen. Hingerissen von der Intensität. Also. Obwohl es wehtun kann: Hingehn!


http://polarblog.de/2010/3/8/murmansk-tun-weh-trotzdem-hingehn/ - Polarblog.de


Discography

Eleven Eyes To Shade (Finland 2009, G/A/S 2010)
Chinese Locks (album, April 2008)
Wholeshebang! (single, February 2007)
Teeth (EP, January 2006)

Band's albums have been receiving airplay on national radio stations.

Photos

Bio

The name of the band will probably best describe also the music: Distorted, rough-cut and ambient; withdrawn but aggressive. Murmansk combines dark-toned melodies with walls of sound, wrapping the songs in echo and feedback. Even though the band's sound partly leans towards shoegazing, it also has a more violent, minimalistic and straight-forward side to it. The common references include such bands and artists as Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and PJ Harvey.

The Helsinki-based band was formed back in 2003, but it took them five years to release the critically acclaimed debut album Chinese Locks in 2008. The album was topping Album Of The Year 2008 charts in music magazines - in both critic and reader polls. This band is without a doubt one of the most discussed acts in the Finnish indie scene, and international attention is picking up after touring in Europe and performing at international showcases.

Spinefarm/Universal released Murmansk's second album Eleven Eyes To Shade in 2009 (Finland) / 2010 (Germany-Switzerland-Austria) to enthusiastic reviews from fans and critics alike. The band is currently recording their third album.

Murmansk is especially known for their intense and energetic live performances. They've toured venues from Western Siberia to London and shared the stage with several world-renowned bands, such as A Place To Bury Strangers (US), dEUS (BE), Liars (Mute, US), Kinski (Sub Pop, US), Zombie-Zombie (FRA) and Karnivool (AUS).