Kuilu – Monumentti (Black Metal)

a2168359185_10

Finland, a land of a thousand lakes but also a land that many says have a bit of a melancholic feel to it. It’s dark, gloom environments and weather can do that to a person. Kuilu knows this all too well and their black metal can only be described as melancholic black metal at it’s finest. If I didn’t know any better I would have had a hard time telling this is a debut album because this seems to be the work from seasoned musicians. Formed in 2010 Kuilu have certainly bided their time and honed their craft to create a well written debut that I’ve revisited many times by now. At first I wasn’t in the right state as I was expecting more furious and heavy hitting black metal in the veins of Sargeist or Baptism. While Monumentti wasn’t that at all I came back to it only weeks later, had a new mindset, and found the doom elements, dark and melancholic tones along with the fitting vocals to be nothing but great. Think more Wayfarer and Uada type of black metal and you’re way closer than your “typical” Finnish black metal acts.

This is an atmospheric album that pulls you in if you let it. It might take a few listens but I’ve come to really enjoy Monumentti and as it is right now it stands as one of my favorite black metal albums released this year. Hopelessness, a melodic and melancholic void that’s really sweet music to the ears if you’re in the right mindset. The guitar work especially is something I need to highlight. It’s really captivating and one of the main reasons I enjoy spinning this album from time to time. Kuilu showcase a style of black metal I find very fitting for a Finnish band and they definitely go straight to the higher tiers within this realm of black for me alongside previously mentioned bands Wayfarer and Uada. Question is of course if they can do an equally good or even better album next time around (something for example Uada in my opinion failed to do). One of the best debut albums this year that challenging the listener and worth revisiting many times. Hopefully it doesn’t take eight years for a new full-length but word on the street is they are working hard on their second album already! From now on I will also include the Spotify links in my reviews if I can as sometimes I review an album before it’s out or it’s not on Spotify.

Label: Deviant Records
For fans of: Wayfarer and Uada
Release date: May 5th, 2018
Favorite song: Sisyfos
Score: 4/5

Advertisements

Mors Subita – Into the Pitch Black (Melodic Death Metal)

mors-subita-into-the-pitch-black-album-cover-2400

Mors Subita have been around for awhile. Being one of Finland’s prime melodic death metal bands who is probably often overlooked in the shadows of Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and the likes. The creator Mika Lammassaari is one of many guitar Gods from the country of thousand lakes as he is also features in Eternal Tears of Sorrow and Wolfheart. Into the Pitch Black is the bands third full-length since the formation in 1999.

Let me be honest and saying I wasn’t too keen on this album. Sure it has its moments with “I, God” and “Into the Pitch Black” having some killer riffs that keeps the aggressive modern melodic death metal spirit going. “As Humanity Weeps” brings me back to the days I listened to Threat Signal which was actually kinda fun as I’d almost forgot about that band. Overall though I find the album lacking in some key areas like songwriting, it’s a tad too repetitive and boring which loses my attention in the end. Which might just be me having grown out of this type of melodeath as I used to devour this kind of music ten years ago. Heard this many times before but done better in all honesty. I can’t help to think with an lineup consisting of members from Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Wolfheart and Thyrane this could be so much better.

I am sure many melodeath fans will have a good time with Into the Pitch Black and fans of Mors Subita gets more of the same music they’ve done in the past. Personally this isn’t really up my alley though and it feels a few years too late to be on my radar. It does leave me with a couple of good songs and mixed feelings once I’ve done my journey into the pitch black. A decent album that I feel could be better but one that a younger me might have appreciated a lot more. Sometimes it just doesn’t click like you’d hoped.

Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: Threat Signal and Deals Death
Release date: April 6th, 2018
Favorite song: I, God
Score: 2.5/5

Sadistik Forest – Morbid Majesties (Death Metal)

a3386516732_10

Back to what I love the most, classic death metal! This time hailing from Finland and their Sadistik Forest. The band started in 2007 and has only had one lineup change since then, which was even before they put out their selftitled debut in 2010. With Markus Makkonen (ex-Hooded Menace) on bass and vocals duty they have one the Finnish undergrounds most talented members leading the charge. So before even starting listening to the band I know I am in for some quality death metal. Like I always do when I get a promo from a band I haven’t heard of before I need to dig into their discography to know what I am dealing with while also getting the sense of the evolution the band has had.

The road they’ve had is quite interesting. Their debut was a rather slow paced death metal album, almost dabbling in sludge and doom, whereas the sophomore Death, Doom, Radiation upped the speed and was heavily thrash influenced. With Morbid Majesties and the opener Morbidly Majestic you can still hear some thrash influences but it’s way more classic death metal in the veins of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel with a hint of Grave. Good stuff that you’re familiar with and hits hard, a good opener to get you going. Makkonen’s vocals has improved significantly since their past albums in my opinion and it feels like he really nailing the aggressiveness this time around. Actually the whole band has evolved and the aggression, riffs with all the energy that is unleashed upon you on Morbid Majesties is in my ears a whole new beast than their previous albums. Created by Finland’s very own Demilich, Sweden’s Grave and America’s Cannibal Corpse triangle drama love child I would say. You can still hear some thrash influences on tracks like “The Hour of Dead” and sludge/doom elements from time to time but overall Morbid Majesties is more filthy death, yet cleaner in for example production (but not too clean) than before.

After the opening tracks the album does slow down a bit and have more crushing waves coming at you than constant pummelling. Both sides of the album showcasing good underground death metal that doesn’t just stick to a one trick pony. Once I am done listening through the album I feel this is a good album that will probably grow with time. There are a lot more to this album than just death metal that you eat up and spit out then go to the next act, I want to explore every inch of this album. Morbid Majesties also have the problem that I’m having a hard time selecting my favorite song. Do I want the slow beating but insanely heavy Monsters of Death that reeks of Cannibal Corpse or the moshpit opener (55 seconds in) that is Zero Progress? Doesn’t really matter as it’s candy that I want to devour and get addicted to. It’s by far their most brutal and varied offering to date which takes the band to new heights. This is the sound the band has worked on to achieve over the years and they have succeeded.

Morbid Majesties is not only Sadistik Forest best album to date, it’s one of the best albums of the year.

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Demilich and Grave
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Monsters of Death
Score: 4.5/5

Skein – Deadweight (Darkened Alternative Metal)

skein-deadweight-cover

Lets start with some fact. Skein were formed in 2004 in Tampere, Finland and plays darkened alternative metal (I honestly didn’t know that was a thing but nevermind the genre label). They have three EP’s and one full-length prior the release of Deadweight in their name. While their latest full-length release from 2014 Of Wings Unfolding was a concept album their sophomore album is not. Deadweight is produced by the melancholic master Tuomas Kokko (Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun, Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus) and released by Inverse Records.

Melancholic yet beautiful, that’s how I would describe Skein’s emotional sophomore album. As you could probably already tell by the genre and producer behind the band. I get A Perfect Circle featuring Hanging Garden feeling from their music and that in itself is no small feat. Finnish bands are masters when it comes to create an melancholic atmosphere and Skein just adds to that fact. I usually don’t listen to this type of alternative rock but Skein’s mix of clean vocals and screamo, along with some great songwriting, made this an album I certainly won’t see as deadweight in my collection. Lies Mundane, Deadweight along with the two epic closing tracks In Circles and The Unknown are my favorite tracks from the album. Funny thing with the title track Deadweight is that I think vocalist Sami Silvennoinen sounds a lot like Matt Heafy from Trivium on this track with his screamo technique.

I have to say Skein surprised me. I thought this wasn’t going to be my type of music but sometimes you just need to get out of your comfort zone and listen to something new. I am glad I did as Skein has now opened up a whole new genre for me to listen to. Thank you.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skeinband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/skeinband
Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: A Perfect Circle and Hanging Garden
Favorite song: In Circles
Score: 4/5

Terhenetär – Metsänhenkien Tanssi (Folk Metal)

a3242947027_10

The Finnish band Terhenetär were created in 2007 and is sadly relatively unknown. The band released their first EP Korven kosto in 2014 and with Metsänhenkien Tanssi they are out with their second EP release, meaning the band is yet to release a full-length 10 years after their creation. In the Kalevala (poetry on Finnish folklore and mythology), Terhenetär is the goddess of the mist. With that being said I get some vibes from Kalmah, Finntroll and the likes who also get some of their inspiration from Kalevala.

Terhenetär plays folk music that takes a little bit of their countrymen Moonsorrow and Finntroll but equally as much form the Danish bands Asmegin, Svartsot and Svartby. It has to be said I love this type of folk metal. It has the perfect mix of mysticism, use of several different kinds of instruments, both happy and scary tunes and it makes me want to grab some beer and jump around. The whole EP is really great but it’s when the Metsänhenkien tanssi chapter hits the EP really grabs me by the balls. The track that ends the EP Surumieli, Varjosielu is an almost 9 minute long epos that would make even Moonsorrow proud. This is some of the best folk music I’ve heard in years, I kid you not.

Folk metal lovers should not miss out on Terhenetär. They deliver folk metal in its purest raw form and it is amazing. I really hope they will get their name out and release a full-length eventually. Imagine a Finnish folk metal takeover with Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Moonsorrow and Terhenetär. That would be freaking sweet. One can dream but until then I will have Metsänhenkien Tanssi playing regularly at home.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/terhenetar
Label: Independent
For fans of: Moonsorrow and Asmegin
Favorite song: Surumieli, Varjosielu
Score: 4/5

Red Moon Architect – Return of the Black Butterflies (Doom Metal)

RMA_ALBUM_COVER_full_res

Not too long ago I reviewed Kaunis Kuolematon, a Finnish melodic doom/death metal band that I found being a hidden gem from the Finnish metal scene. I’ve kept on digging for more doom and gloom sound from the cold heart of Finland and I didn’t even need to look far, actually I didn’t need to look at all since Inverse Records were kind enough to email me a promo with exactly what I was looking for. Red Moon Architect were formed 2011 in a very fitting environment, namely a town called Kuovola. The town is often called the ‘largest lighted cemetery’ in Finland, so it’s no wonder the town gave birth to a doom metal band.

Compared to Kaunis Kuolematon and Swallow the Sun this is a bit heavier music in some aspects and touches on funeral doom sound. Shape of Despair is the closest I can come to their sound (that being said I am not the most experienced doom metal listener). It’s haunting sound and heavy doom will surely get to you and it’s an emotional journey that Red Moon Architect guides you through beautifully. The addition of vocalist Ville Rutanen (ex-The Final Harvest and ex-Casket) after losing Juuso Turkki (Hypothesis) was a really great move. He does a superb job in his debut taking over the doom mantle and it’s burdens like he has been in the band since the start. Anni Viljanen sings just as beautiful as ever, while Saku Moilanen, Jukka Jauhiainen and Matias Moilanen pulls off their best performance yet.

I’d never heard of Red Moon Architect until last week. After listening to this album I was hooked, had to dig into the rest of their discography (which was the reason this review didn’t get out yesterday) and I had a really good time going through it. It’s great doom metal and for me they are now one of my go to bands within the genre. Return of the Black Butterflies is out May 19th through Inverse Records (another great release by them) and until then I suggest you listen through their discography to prepare yourself for what is to come!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RedMoonArchitect
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RMAmetal
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Shape of Despair
Favorite song: NDE

Kaunis Kuolematon – Vapaus (Melodic Doom/Death Metal)

5a381c584d0dc1b0695c8bf9a11ee10532a5c838
Ending my days with pure Finnish music we slow it down a notch and go for a doom twist in Finlands melodic death metal heaven. Kaunis Kuolematon is Finnish for “Beautiful Immortal” and in many ways I think this shows in their music. Singing purely in Finnish it’s a band that doesn’t get much attention outside Finland but here is me hoping that is soon to change. Vapaus is Kaunis Kuolematon’s second release after their 2014 debut Kylmä kaunis maailma received quite a bit of praise for being one of the better death/doom debuts these past years. Being compared to Swallow the Sun in the process, which proves these rockers got a lot of talent. Vapaus hopefully continues that road and elevates the bands sound even more.

Eloton is a sweet introduction to Kaunis Kuolematon where the harsh and clean vocals works in great symphony and this is the type of death/doom combination I’ve come to love from the Nordic countries. Hurskas continue that right up until 2:20 in where it takes a turn and all of a sudden becomes a beautiful acoustic medley building up for fantastic guitar plays and riffs. Yksin is, in my humble opinion, the song that gets to me the most. It’s a beautiful ballad with lyrics that saddens you but also gives you hope, it’s simply stunning. What’s more is that the song smoothly transition to Tuhottu elämä which initially ups the tempo and brings you more of that headbang worthy riffing. The way Kaunis Kuolematon changes the tempo during the album really does makes me think of Swallow the Sun, one of the best death/doom bands out there. Ikuinen ikävä is the heaviest song on Vapaus and if it wasn’t for Yksin being one of the best songs I’ve heard all year it would be my favorite song on the album. It definitely got the best instrumental elements in my ears. Ikaros is yet another good slow paced song but it’s the next two tracks that grabs my attention the most. Arvet, one more track with very powerful lyrics along with great music, quickly becoming another favorite of mine. Sanat jotka jäivär sanomatta ends the album in a great way, a magnificent ballad where the use of clean and harsh vocals really shines. Ending this sad journey of war, life and death with memories of your loved ones being there forever.

Last year I had October Tide’s Winged Waltz as my favorite doom album release. This year I can sense Vapus grabbing that spot. Kaunis Kuolematon uses a formula that works and melodic doom/death doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion. Vapaus is out now through Haminian Sounds. Knowing Finnish or not I still suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KaunisKuolematon
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pahankasvot
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Barren Earth
Favorite song: Yksin