Review: Rise by The Rasmus

This year, I’ve learned a new Aussie phrase. “It fucks”. Meaning it rocks, it’s good, it’s badass, and so and so on. Whether this is a term used across all of Australia or just here by Sydneysiders has yet to be determined. I never thought I’d use my newly learned phrase until I heard The Rasmus‘ new album, Rise.

Good god all mighty. It fucks.

I’ve been a fan of The Rasmus since their 2003 release Dead Letters. It was their 5th studio album and the hook into my music loving heart. Rise, the band’s 10th studio album features fresh blood in the form of a blue-eyed, blonde haired, thousand watt smiling, Emilia “Emppu” Suhonen (former guitarist and vocalist of Tiktak), who replaces longtime guitarist and founding member Pauli Rantasalmi.

But don’t let Emilia’s lovely facade fool you. She is an absolutely beast on the guitar, holds her own with the boys, and knows how to steal every video scene or stage spotlight she’s in. (see “Jezebel” from Eurovision below)

Rise opens with “Live and Never Die” an absolute upbeat positive banger. If you aren’t screaming woah oh oh and pumping your fist in the air, then I really need you to get your ears checked. This song is a wonderful kick in the teeth. Bassist, Eero Heinonen, has some of the slickest bass notes I’ve heard in a long time in a rock band. When it pairs to Aki Hakala‘s drums, the rhythm duo are unstoppable. Their dynamic unites Lauri Ylönen‘s vocals and Emilia’s guitar into an energetic ball of fire. This song eloquently sets the stage for the second song “Rise” which happened to also be the second single from the album.

For any doubters of Emilia, “Rise” showcases her talent to old fans and new fans. Proving she has the chops, the licks, the kicks, and the skills. Not that she has to prove that to anyone. Like I said earlier, she’s a beast on the guitar and she is such an amazing artist to listen to and watch.

I don’t know if I have words that are sufficient enough to describe how much I love, love, love “Fireflies”. I mean, holy s.h.i.t. This song blows me away. It’s The Rasmus that I know and love but it’s also like a new and improved The Rasmus. The opening wail of the song hooked me. I don’t know if the sound is from an instrument or created for the essence of the Universe and I don’t really care as it is haunting and hooks the listener from the moment it starts. It marries perfectly into the song without being a distraction or overused. I love every aspect of this song. From the bass, to the drums, the guitar, to the vocals, to the lyrics this song is absolute perfection. It is easily in my Top 5 songs of 2022.

The bass riff in “Be Somebody” steals the spotlight and grabs a hold of the listener as the drums kick the ever living crap out of you. It also kicks off the moodier side of the album.

For me, I can tell which songs were written with Desmond Child (“Live and Never Die”, “Rise”, “Jezebel”) and which ones Lauri, Eero, Aki, and Pauli wrote. There is distinct shift in energy and mood between the songs. The ones with Desmond are upbeat and brighter, while the others are darker, moodier with an undertow of sadness.

Landing in at track six, “Jezebel” breaks up the heavier moodiness. This is the song that brought the band back onto the radar of the world. It landed them on Eurovision, took them all the way to finals, and introduced the world to Emilia. I previously wrote about the track here but I stick with my initial thoughts that Emilia, Aki, and Eero provide a tethered and beautiful balance of aggression and strength to the heartfelt admiration of Lauri’s vocals.

My favourite thing about “Written in Blood” is Emilia’s guitar work. She absolutely shines bright like the sun in this song. It gives me 80’s heavy metal vibes straight into essence of who The Rasmus is.

Overall, this album will be a fan favourite for new and old fans and if it’s any indication for the energy and vibes the band is going to carry forward, we at Pretty Vacant One are here for it.



Listen to Rise

Watch The Rasmus below