Vainaja – Kadotetut (Self Released) [Review By Paul]
The debut album from Finnish three piece death doom outfit Vainaja is about as heavy a release as you will find this year. Riddled with absolutely mammoth riffs, sludgy doom passages, blasting death metal which sears flesh from bone and a vocal delivery that must have been summoned up from the kitchens of Hades. This is epically brutal, but also combines haunting effects and atmospheric build up throughout.
The album is based on Finnish folklore’s tale of an evil cult which induced chaos among followers of old Finnish religions. Led by the preacher, cantor and the gravedigger, this cult was ended by the burning to death of the three men on the church altar. The album is based on the texts of sermons found in the preserved works of the preacher long after his death.
Album opener Lankeemus is an atmospheric piece, building the tension which explodes with doom laden riff heavy Vaaran Ristin Valtakunta. A plodding beast of a track, this begins at slow tempo before picking up speed to deliver a bit of death. Haunting screams and echoing calls end the track, clearly the souls of those under the curse of the cult. This segues nicely into another massively riff laden track, Kahleiden Kantaja. Slow powerful and immensely heavy, this would crush your rib cage if it sat on you. Think Gonga with a topping of blue whale. Yep, that heavy. And so it continues, with Valon Lapset building slowly before all hell breaks loose as thing speed up. This is fast, forceful and damn impressive. Blasting drumming, changes of pace and all the while the vocals continue to rip through with sinister surges. The tempo slows completely for Henkikaste which has an eerie narrative and echoing effects. The band line up is listed as The Gravedigger on drums and vocals, the Cantor on bass and vocals and obviously the lead voice and guitar delivery from the Preacher. These guys don’t work in your local supermarket, that’s for sure. Verin Lahde resumes with pulverising riffs and crushing rhythm, although there are some quite stunningly sinister breakdowns in the middle which continue to complement the album’s theme. The penultimate track Vimeinen Tuomio extends the albums ominous feel with Celtic Frost type percussion and gloomy bass overtures before the guttural growl of the Preacher propels the listener into the depths of hell. This is a lumbering leviathan of a track, colossal riffs dropping from on high with such weight that you literally sag as you listen to it. Album closer Kadotettu is an epic doom filled epitaph which quite fittingly brings this opus to a close. A stunning piece of work. 10/10
Doublestone: Wingmakers (Levitation Records)
Doublestone are a retro styled band from Denmark playing riff filled stoner rock with fuzzy guitars and hazy vocals. Yes this is music straight out of the vinyl era with some boogie riffs and lots of hazy guitar passages that break up the riff fest. For a distilled version of their sound look up opening track Save Our Souls which speeds along nicely before breaking down into a Hawkwind style guitar freak out at the end. The next track is The Bringer Of Light which has some sprawling hammond organs and a riff straight out of the doomy end of Sabbath's back catalogue and again it just ends in head nodding riffage. The drums of Mike James B, are heavyweight smashing with the occasional piece of percussive flair to balance out the aggression, the bass of Kristian Blond rumbles, rocks and moves your headspace with its rhythms. Finally the Bo Blond's guitars and vocals are the classic stoner rock style with a guitar that riffs mightily switching between fuzz pedaled riffs, trippy psychedelic guitar breaks all topped with his great vocals that give the band a sound similar to Priestess or indeed The Sword. With the title track the bass heavy Born Under A Hollow Moon, the short sharp doom riff of Fire Down Below and the almost Southern rock vibe of The Witch Is Burning. This is a great debut album from these Danes that shows that they are destined for bigger things, equally adept to being support for Uncle Acid, The Sword and even Hawkwind with their psychedelic, hazy, drug induced, occult rock. Roll it, light it, press play and enjoy Doublestone, they are the soundtrack to your next headtrip! 8/10
Garuda Force: Blue Sky (Defox Records)
Garuda Force are a Indonesian Neo Classical metal band and Blue Sky is their first EP. They combine the styles of Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen and Symphony X. I have 2 of their songs from the EP and from what I have heard they are very good, the guitars of Jan an Iwan Stun are great with superb riffage and solos from Jay, the drums and bass to gallop along at a hell of pace with some backing keys running alongside with the guitars creating that classic neoclassical sound. Frontman Regi Weking's vocals are great considering English is not his first language although they are much better on the big balladic Bayang Malam which is full of Oriental sounds, as I said the vocals are good but lost a little in the mix but like I said still good. On the basis of these two tracks Garuda Force will give a good live showing and things look promising. 7/10