Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen

The second long-distance work of the Finnish band Kuolemanlaakso comes after a recently released ep which we talked about a few months ago on these pages. Tulijoutsen confirms the impression obtained in that circumstance, that is to say that we are in the presence of a band that, although dedicated to death doom, is not content to slavishly follow the compositional patterns of the best known bands of the genre, and this despite being able to include in the line-up someone like Mika Kotamäki, vocalist of Swallow The Sun, which would lead us to assume sounds somehow related to that band. In reality, the disc’s cross and delight is the relative lack of homogeneity of the proposal that, while on the one hand has the merit of showing different stylistic facets, on the other hand tries with some difficulty to make coexist within the work songs that are at odds with each other such as the rocky opener Aarnivalkea and the questionable “swing-doom” Glastonburyn Lehto. Me Vaellamme Yössä itself, which we had already found in the opening of Musta Aurinko Nousee in its “edit” version, in this complete version is a song with a strong impact and a good commercial potential, but sandwiched between the heavy riffs of the excellent Verihaaksi and Arpeni, it ends up sounding too “light”. But, all things considered, if we exclude Glastonburyn Lehto alone, which is too much out of the box to be really appreciated, Tulijoutsen is definitely a good album that, besides making use of the always effective vocals of Kotamäki, highlights the excellent compositional skills of Laakso, who is able to produce convincing songs both when he puts his hand on the darker and more intimate side (Arpeni), and when he manages to find an ideal balance between the robustness of the sound and the melodic openings, as in the final Tuonen Tähtivyö, also embellished by a pleasant female voice. Kuolemanlaakso‘s album is therefore worthy of attention, even though it’s not too accessible in a short time, especially because of the use of the mother tongue when writing the lyrics; the feeling is that Laakso is still testing on the field the effective performance of his project, as the high frequency of releases (two full lengths and an ep) in a relatively short period of time would lead one to believe.

2014 – Svart Records