Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen – (Svart Records)

The older the better!


I had the honor to review the first Kuolemanlaakso album – Uljas uusi maailma –  two years ago, and I was very impressed by this band. The name stuck in my mind… of course I couldn’t ever remember the name of the album in Finnish hehehe.

But by November of last year Kuolemanlaakso had returned with a new EP called Musta Aurinko Nousee, which as long as I’m concerned belongs to the same recording sessions of this new album.

Over again it was produced in Germany by V. Santura (of Dark Fortress and Triptykon fame). However, this time around their work is much heavier than its predecessor, leading the listener to a trip of doom metal, but HARK!, not an ordinary one, but a very peculiar way to compose and execute the hymns.

First song Aarnivalkea brings the heaviness with highly skilled guitar work, slow motion, yet full of progressions with mega guttural vocals of Kotamäki.

Second song Verihaaksi follows suit but is even more powerful making my head to go to and fro every time I hear it. Indeed it is a very strong doom metal, with tons of heaviness, just impossible to ignore.

Third track called Me vaellamme yössä featured on the last year’s EP, but in a edited version. The difference, as long as I’m concerned is that the song in that occasion was short lacking the first instrumental minutes. Does that make any difference? Yes it does, for this version sounds to have a different mastering with a special heavier sound. Producer tricks…

Arpeni and Musta have the same density as the other tracks, never let the listener down.

Okay, all the songs are, so far, excellent but my favorite is the sixth track Glastonburyn Lehto which seems a Suomi folk song with feminine choirs on the backdrop and the vocals are clean, with an upbeat sound, lacking that strong metallic approach of the first 5 songs but presenting the listener with quality music. Trippy!

Tuonen tähtivyö is another different number, over again featuring clean vocals, but this time around the song erupts into heaviness of before.

Last song of the album is really, really hypnotic: called Raadot raunioilla, this number starts with cleans vocals and as the phrases subtly change, the vocals alternate from guttural to harsh, and the cadence is second to none. Just close your eyes and let yourself be taken by the rapids of mystical and fanciful river that the atmosphere of Kuolemanlaakso creates.

This album is really full of surprises and if you like your metal slow but heavy, this is the way to go.

PS: this is the kind of band that occasionally will gain the mainstream given the huge quality of everything involved.

(Daniel Death)

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