It's already been a damn good year for Finnish lynchpins, Avarus. First was the new album on Secret Eye, then the excellent debut LP by master sideproject, Maniacs Dream. Now, we get a 2xCD compilation of all the out-of-print titles in Avarus back catalog. It's an impressive arsenal, to say the least. This massive set lasts nearly two hours and is nothing short of spectacular. As I've previously said, Avarus are the ultimate good time party band on the planet. Because they don't take themselves so seriously, it sets their music apart from many of their peers.
There are numerous highlights on "Ruskea Timantti," but this release is too dense and long for me to focus on each of them. Instead, I'll concentrate on the two that have left the most lasting impression on me. First is the opening track, "Horuksen Vasemann..." (the title is way too long, so I'll just refer to it as that). It opens with the chaotic rumblings of a mythic creature woken from its winter slumber. Phased to death guitars lead into a spastic romp through the forest, drenched in disembowled blues rhythms and distorted bass. The mix of so many styles and sometimes ridiculous ideas the permeates this piece is what makes Avarus so great. It's like being let in on a long-running, expansive inside joke. One listen to this song and you'll be laughing all the way home. You finally feel like you're part of some weirdo, bizarre cult of circus freaks. Eventually, it morphs into something less chaotic but equally free with simple acoustic guitar strums and cymbal crashes leading the way. But Avarus doesn't stop there, and the performance of some sort of death ritual rears its magic head by the end of the piece. The reason this piece is so fucking great is that over the course 9 1/2 minutes, it embodies everything that is great about Avarus. "Horuksen Vasemann..." covers all the ground the band spills out on their albums. It's a mini-drama of the Avarus story and it's a total mindbending freakout.
The other standout on "Ruskea Timantti" is perhaps my favorite Avarus track ever. The almost-23 minute "A-V-P" is a headfuck of epic proportions. "A-V-P," originally released as a 3" CD-R on the 267 Lattajjaa imprint, is a journey through the farthest reaches of the atmosphere. Sun-soaked and intergalactic, this magnificent escapade treads the same territory that psychedelic masters like Acid Mothers Temple or even Amon Duul traverse. This stellar kaleidoscopic safari is worth the price of admission alone. It will knock you on your ass and boil your blood. Fucking fantastic.
So you see, "Ruskea Timantti" is a must-have for any fan of these Finnish kings. This collection is so full of essential moments and mind-altering tracks, you can't help but be impressed. If you've never heard of Avarus, this is maybe the best place to start. And if you have, what the fuck are you waiting for? 8/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)