Heartrot

Bjørkø

Solo albums from musicians from well-known bands can be hit or miss…but this one’s a hit. Tomi reaches deep into his pockets and produced an album rich in diversity and several different styles. Critics could argue that it lacks an overall sense of identity, but I believe that is where the magic lies.
December 8, 2023

BJORKO, the new solo project of AMORPHIS guitarist Tomi Koivusaari, is an inspired and deeply creative effort, full of dynamic emotion. Featuring a fabulous and talented lineup of guests including Jeff Walker of CARCASS on the first single, Koivusaari describes the debut album, “Heartrot”  as "a soundtrack to an imaginary film." Originative and passionate, heavy and beautiful, BJORKO delivers a soundscape of powerful sentiment. The album has ten songs.

“The Heartroot Rots” is first. It has heavy, dense and aggressive tones, with dangerous harsh vocals. Sonically, it’s a cross between Black and Melodic Death Metal at times, but the sound shifts often, keeping the listener guessing. “Vaka Loka” dials back the aggression a bit to allow melody to flow, and it flows like a river. The song is also tinged with depression and even anger at times. “Whitebone Wind” features piano notes, and so far the album is quite diverse. The main riff is both energetic and melodic, and reminiscent of the work of AMORPHIS, and the clean female vocals add another layer of depth to the catchy song.

“Värinvaihtaja” has some hooks in the chorus, and Ismo’s baritone voice is soothing and calming. The groove here is very easy on the ears as well. “World as Fire and Hallucination” hears the album return to the deep and harsh tones of the first song. For me, it sounds like something that IHSAHN might compose. “The Trickster” drips with emotion, although I am not a fan if the shouted vocals. The female vocals are the better of the two in my opinion. “Hooks in the Sky” is a smooth ride that is at timed dark, almost as if you are embarking on a journey but don’t know your destination. The harsh vocals combine with a jovial riff in a competing way that somehow just makes sense.

“Magenta” displays Tomi’s vast well when it comes to creativity. This song is gentle, somewhat somber, and could be something that you hear on the radio even, and the guitar solo drips with a heavy blues sound. “Reverberations” closes the album, and it ends the album on a jovial note of saxophone runs and skies that shift from overcast to sunny. Solo albums from musicians from well-known bands can be hit or miss…but this one’s a hit. Tomi reaches deep into his pockets and produced an album rich in diversity and several different styles. Critics could argue that it lacks an overall sense of identity, but I believe that is where the magic lies.

8 / 10

Excellent

Songwritting

8

Musicianship

9

Memorability

7

Production

9
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"Heartrot" Track-listing:

1. The Heartroot Rots

2. Vaka Loka

3. Whitebone Wind

4. Värinvaihtaja

5. Awakening

6. World as Fire and Hallucination

7. The Trickster

8. Hooks in the Sky

9. Magenta

10. Reverberations

 

Bjørkø Lineup:

Tomi Koivusaari

 

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