Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kuolemanlaakso: Tulijoutsen (2014)

The Canada of Scandinavia

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

Kuolemanlaakso are from Finland and I'm thinking that Finland is the Canada of Scandanavia. Hear me out. (Sweden would be like the U.S. and Norway would be the Mexico, if Mexico had a killer black metal scene in the early 90s. No?) The Finns are good at hockey, right? So are Canadians? Both cold. Still no? Ok, I actually only think that Finland is like Canada because are producing some killer metal these days! Canada has Chapel and Finland has Kuolemanlaakso. (Say that three times fast).

Kuolemanlaakso are doom and death. They have a good screamer. They have great production. They have heft. They have songs with titles I don't know what they mean. They have tension and atmosphere (song 2 I'm hearing you). They have a grand funk inspired cover, even if they don't know it. (See?). And they have good songs, if they are a little long. Nothing to shake a stick at the tracks chime in at mostly around 7 minutes, so shorter than the Wounded Kings of the world but longer than your average Mastodon song. I reference the doom and then the sludge because these overlay here, and in a good way.

If you're looking for a band reference, maybe Root? That could be because both the singers have a Dracula thing going on and they are both European. And both bring just a little bit of that left field stuff to make it interesting without detracting from the music.

Now this band is from Europe so there are keyboards here* - not the Hammond organ keyboards - but just keyboards. These are mainly for atmosphere and they don't kill the tunage. Of course losing or de-emphasizing the keys in favor of heavy ass riffs, tightening up the song length, and adding a little off kilter stuff leads to the stand outs. I'm hearing you track 3. (I'm not even going to bother writing the track name - I'm American). Man if you are not headbanging here, holding some invisible oranges, and trying to sing in Finnish here, well go listen to the Frozen soundtrack or something. (That album is actually a grower - "she's a little bit of a fixer upper !" - street cred all lost right now)**. Following that track up with the next one (track 4) means business. It drags for a bit for my tastes but overall I was not bored and would spin it again, even if I was in Canada before a Chapel show. FMA thought I'd like this stuff and although it took a couple of listens, he was right.

3.5 out of 5 stars

* Damn EU rules! --FMA
** Screw street cred. --FMA

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