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Review of the 2008 Studio Album Raja by Finnish Thrash Metal Band Stam1na

Updated on May 19, 2020
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Introduction to the Band Stam1na

Stam1na formerly known as Stamina is a Finnish thrash metal band that is similar in style to Finland’s other thrash metal band Mokoma but these guys originally started out writing their lyrics in English and did that for their first three demos but then they switched to Finnish. For the sake of simplicity here are all the song titles in English:

Track Listing for the 2008 Album Raja

  1. Toothbrush
  2. Wolves-Man
  3. Memory Games
  4. Unguarded
  5. Power Against Anger
  6. Medication
  7. Hands Answer Glass
  8. Creative Dullness
  9. Wall
  10. The Breaking Point

Raja the Review Part 1

The band is a thrash metal band that focuses mostly on aggression and speed but they do it very well keeping the music catchy. The first song though is really something because no sooner does the album begin than there is a furious amount of thrash metal that penetrates anyone’s eardrums and by this song, you know that these guys mean business! The third song Memory Games has some very good harmony vocals as the song is about a person that is doing what they can to remember what to do especially the next day. However, the cycle of intoxication can make it very difficult to remember. The end of the song has a riff similar to Pantera for a bit until the melody starts up again. Many people wouldn’t find the Finnish language to be particularly pleasant however the song Unguarded features some good soft vocals even if most of us can’t understand what’s being said. Stam1na probably outdo early Metallica in terms of the aggressiveness factor. Toothbrush, the first song of this album has harmony vocals, aggressive vocals, melodies that are impressive and a song that deserves to be on pretty much any thrash metal album.

What Are the Best Songs on the Album Raja?

There are two highlight reel songs on this album and they are Power Against Anger and Hands Answer Glass. Power Against Anger contains some of the best harmony vocals that I have heard plus the bass is good and the riffing is top notch, resembling modern, crunchy thrash metal!

What is the Message of the Song Power Against Anger?

The song’s message is that those people that are very angry people are angry because of ignorance and the spread of religion though anger can be caused by many factors. The only strength in excessive anger is weakness as anger can lead to a host of health problems. The song should be among the top 10 best in heavy metal history.

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How is the Rest of the Album Raja?

However, let’s go back to the first song Toothbrush. This song is among the heaviest in the thrash metal genre in terms of riffing and the shouting, singing or whatever it should be called is among the most aggressive you will hear. The album is very hard to get unless you purchase it through Sakara Records, the record label that the band is signed to. I don’t even understand Finnish and there are resources available that allow us to translate the lyrics of songs that are not written in English. That’s how I am able to listen to these great thrash metal songs and provide analysis about them. Let us all say a big thanks to the band Stam1na for without their creativity and musical prowess, the world would not witness such finely written technical thrash metal. Hands Answer Glass is thrash metal combined with vocals that may sound like they are overly narrated but this is a terrific song. The song addresses the scenes in prison life as glass has a symbolic meaning in this song. Glass symbolizes what is on the bars of the prison cells. Repentance is sometimes too late for a prisoner. Creative Dullness is a song about a blind man that is hospitalized and feels that he is a failure because he did not fight or die for the very thing that he wanted to get in his life. He gets an urge to write a song about some of the biggest vices in life. Writing about this Finnish band will open up the world to thrash metal that is worth exploring even if people don’t understand Finnish. Overall, Raja is one of the greatest thrash metal albums to come out of Finland!

Raja Is a Better Album Than Some Are Willing to Give Credit To

As good as song #5 is, sadly it will not be recognized by fans outside of Finland because of the language issue. That’s why I’ve always had the thought that if these bands wrote their lyrics in mostly English, their global reach would be much more. Marketing efforts would be easier and these bands would make more money from their art or passions. Looking back at the album Raja more than 12 years after its release, we can see that it is still fresh, fast, and furious in the pace. The chanting parts in the first song Toothbrush are memorable as well. Stam1na may never become a household name in the Finnish thrash metal scene but they are certainly better than bands such as Airdash. As we get some outside perspective about these Finnish guys, there is a user on the website called Metal Archives that has written a review of this album and this person gives it only a 60%. A 60% rating for an album like Raja means that some are not respecting the quality that is on this album. Everyone has different tastes but what is offered here on this album is thrash metal that is heavy, fast, entertaining, and has a touch of creativity as well. This person also says that the album is mostly inconsistent (an inaccurate portrayal). What's the reason? The melody on songs such as Laake (Medication) put an end to that assertion. However, the case could be made that songs such as Creative Dullness (song #8) is one of the weaker songs on here and even that one is not bad in the literal sense. Stam1na provides the avid thrash metal fan with modern thrash that is also very high energy, something that is a desirable attribute in the music scene today.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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