Named after a Carcass song and originally started in 1989 the Finnish band Festerday are no newcomers to the death metal scene. However the group initially only had three demos and a split with Carnifex (Finnish death metal, not the deathcore act) to eventually disband in 1993. While some of the members have been apart of different bands like …and Oceans and Havoc Unit they regrouped in 2013 with most of the original lineup intact. After a couple compilation albums, splits and EP’s they were finally ready, 30 years since they formed, to release their full-length debut (!) Iihtallan.
What we are offered is exactly where Festerday left off, classic death metal but in their case there is also a punk flair to it a bit like Crawl at times. What start with a gnarly intro quickly evolves into “Edible Excrement” which is catchy like hell and brings me towards some of the high tier songs Autopsy has done in their time. “Tongues for Rotten Kisses” continues this path with juicy riffs and the tempo-changes are done flawlessly which would make even Obituary be happy about how well executed it is. Their Carcass history is also prominent from time to time all over the album. While Iihtallan keeps on spinning I get more and more references here and there, when I get those moments of “oh this sounds a bit like Slowly We Root right here” and so on I think after a while that “hell this band right here made music earlier than most of those songs I think of”. Makes you wonder what this album would of meant 25 years ago, or maybe it would sound a lot different who knows.
“Kill Your Truth” quickly becomes one of my favorite tracks but the follow-ups “Control Not Your Soul” and “Dreaming for the Dead” are not much worse as Festerday just continue to showcase how great old school death metal is made. Then comes the absolute banger, the one track to rule them all. I am talking about a song that crush it straight from the first note and never let you rest until the 3 1/2 minutes are over and you’re sitting there tiered as hell because it just turned your brain into a mush. The song in question is “Vomiting Pestilence” and I am already thinking this will be a good candidate for song of the year after “Tsar Bomba” by Necrophobic won it last year. The song has it all, great riffs, wicked lyrics, filthy vocals and perfect death metal pace. “Gravelove” is another song I need to highlight because as soon as you hear the “urgh” followed by relentless drumming and furious riffs it will make you add it to your favorite playlist.
There is only one real negative point for me to say about Iihtallan and that’s the two closing tracks “Let Me Entertain Your Entrails” Pt.1 & 2. While the title is freaking awesome the songs feel out of place from the rest of the album. I could live with Pt. 1 as it’s still an alright song but especially Pt. 2 I would just cut out all together. I take it they are simply old recorded songs they never released but Pt. 2 sounds like an very old black metal song, while that’s cool in its own rights I don’t think it should be on here.
However it’s all those moments of a varied album that takes bits and pieces here and there that makes this a pure joy to listen to. This is class death metal throughout from veterans in the scene that knows what they are doing all the way from songwriting to production. I wouldn’t want Festerday to release their full-length debut any other way. Death metal fans are in for a treat really early on this year!
Written by J.B.
Label: Season of Mist Underground Activists
For fans of: Abhorrence and Crawl
Release date: January 4th, 2019
Favorite song: Vomiting Pestilence
Score: 4/5 Incredible