Skepticism – Ordeal

After seven years, the Finnish Skepticism, who are rightfully considered to be the putative fathers of funeral doom, are back. Ordeal is only the fifth full length in a career spanning more than twenty years, but among these (Stormcrowfleet, Lead And Aether, Pharmakon and Alloy) there is not one that can be defined as negligible, each of them being a milestone in the genre, and not only. Skepticism are, therefore, among those who have contributed to the birth of this musical movement and, although they were born a little later than their compatriots Thergothon, unlike them over the years they have continued to spread the gloomy seed of funeral, without caring about deadlines or contractual obligations, simply letting the music flow spontaneously. Ordeal was recorded live in Turku in January of this year and is now available in a double CD/DVD format; it goes without saying that being able to witness the live recording of an unreleased album, moreover in the odour of a masterpiece, is not something that happens every day and, despite the envy felt towards those present at the event, the possibility of also enjoying the images is an unexpected and precious gift. The emotional impact is accentuated by the images that show our band in the usual configuration on stage, with Eero Pöyry to the left of the spectators filling the air with the solemn notes of his organ, the charismatic Matti Tilaeus in the middle growling into the microphone and Jani Kekarainen on the right weaving sorrowful solos with greater continuity than in the past, a symptom of a partial softening of the sound that moves the genre towards even more melodic coordinates. Dressed up like hungover orchestral musicians on a deserted theatre stage, Skepticism plays music that delves into the deepest folds of the psyche, tracing a consolatory and inescapable path for the living towards the end and the beginning; and, above all, giving posterity a fundamental work that cancels, as if by magic, these seven years in which their absence was definitely felt. The intensity of Ordeal is something difficult to explain in words, each track living on the tragic contrast between the solemnity of the keyboards and the melancholic sweetness of the guitar, on which the growl of the grim singer Matti stands out. You is the first pearl offered, which becomes one with Momentary, at the end of which the first shy applause of an audience annihilated by such beauty can be heard; The Departure is what, in a normal album, could be considered the potential single, thanks to its melodic afflatus superior to the average, at least for the usual canons of the Finnish band.
March Incomplete is the backbone of the work, being one of the most intense and moving tracks I’ve ever heard: it’s a vain effort to try to chase back the tears, which will flow abundantly when in the central part an irresistible crescendo will lead Jani Kekarainen to play the most beautiful solo of his career. And, paradoxically, this is the only pity of an almost perfect work, because after such a marvel everything that follows ends up suffering by comparison, even if The Road, Closing Music and Pouring, with its legendary atmosphere, are tracks that, taken individually, would make the fortune of any other band. The album closes as best it can with a reprise of the magnificent The March And The Stream, originally the second track on Lead And Aether. In a world moving at paroxysmal speed and with no clear direction, these bizarre and ingenious musicians set a precise point of arrival, a non-place with which we will all have to reckon at some point; walking this painful path in the company of Skepticism will be both wonderful and heartbreaking.

2015 – Svart Records