Kuolemanlaakso - _Uljas uusi maailma_
(Svart Records, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (
A little early interhole chatter about a new Finnish death/doom supergroup-ish sensation got this writer tripping all over his dick for a chance to bear primary witness to the record in question and its owlishly ornate cover art. Pronunciation be damned! Puzzlingly, and somewhat thankfully, the results of this quintet's collaboration are not so easily pigeonholed as glommers-on to that burgeoning Blind Dead scene. Kuolemanlaakso offer far more color and sheer human vitality and almost none of the drugged zombie shuffle one expects from such a tag. The compositional focus and gorgeous musicianship on display outstrips much of the grimacing corpse-chomping expected when people mention the genre, and _Uljas uusi maailma_ is much stronger for it.To begin, the delectable guitar work by members of Chaosweaver extends far beyond grungy distortion and mindless melancholy into some imaginative lead work. Subterranean growls have their place, but the lead screamer (also of Barren Earth and Swallow the Sun) pitches his strangulations into a higher range. Synth accents eschew grandiose sweeping gestures in favor of more humid, skin-on-skin melodies. Some dark choral chanting appears over much of the record, hearkening to the folk dirges of Arctic Circle tenants Tenhi. Piano lines rise at choice moments from the shadows, not the mournful or chilling doom metal mainstays but much more vibrant, comely themes. There's an attention to cultural sensitivity in a track like "Roihusydän" that welcomes the traditions that much of mainstream metal shuns.Overall, Kuolemanlaakso achieve a much more rockist energy than most modern metal allows, from their head-nodding tempos to their vocal arrangements to their implementation of multiple moods and refusal to rely on intense aggression to convey their every point. Don't be fooled, though: I've spilled extensive verbage on the ways Kuolemanlaakso have carved their unique identity, but all the necessary cloven-hoofed, bat-winged touchstones occupy their respective positions and claim their territory with admirable force. _Uljas uusi maailma_ is pure, savage, dick-tripping metal. But it's also, wonderfully, much more.
(article published 11/27/2012)
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