Kursk (Kypck) – Zero (Зеро)

When their debut album Cherno (Черно) was released in 2008, Kypck was perhaps not taken seriously enough by everyone for several reasons: first of all, why should Finns sing in Russian and use the Cyrillic alphabet for the moniker and the album and song titles? Moreover, what is someone like Sami Lopakka (ex-Sentenced) doing in a band that plays a heavy doom like few others? Well-founded questions that time has dispelled providing ample answers: the aforementioned Kypck are a band that has been able over time to create its own brand and, above all, a form of doom still personal and recognizable, not only for the language used. As for the participation of Lopakka, in retrospect it was clear to everyone that the guitarist had seriously bet on this project since the beginning, and since 2011 the presence of ex-Sentenced in the lineup has doubled with the entry of the other Sami, Kukkohovi, at the time bassist and here second guitar, since the obsessive one-string bass is abused by J. T. Ylä-Rautio. The quintet is completed by drummer A.K. Karihtala, also with an illustrious past in the disbanded Charon, and especially the singer Erkki Seppänen (Dreamtale), healthy carrier of the Soviet word with his mastery of the language. After four full lengths that have seen the band’s following grow, in Russia of course, but not only, the fall of 2016 is the time of the release of Zero (Зеро), a work that does nothing but strengthen the deserved fame achieved by ours. Starting from an imagery abundantly addressed by the moniker (the transliteration is Kursk, or the city home of the largest battle between tanks of World War II, but also the name of the atomic submarine that in 2000 turned into a huge underwater coffin for over one hundred unfortunate), the sound of Kypck is therefore a doom that, if in some ways appears close to the tradition, on the other hand maintains a disquiet in the background that brings it closer, only emotionally, to the funeral. A decisive contribution to the sense of oppression provoked by the sound of the Finns is offered by the exasperated lowering of the tunings symbolized by the monochord bass of Ylä-Rautio, thanks to which the numerous melodic parvenze assume a rather sinister aura. Just its position in a sort of middle ground between the classic and the extreme doom is in my opinion the strength of Kypck, together with the fact of making you forget since the first note that the band is not Russian, such is its identification with the part. Emblematic, for solemnity and evocative potential, is a song like Mne Otmshchenie, perhaps the best of the lot together with the initial and slightly more catchy Ya Svoboden (not by chance chosen to accompany a video) and the final Belaya Smert, but in the end it’s the album as a whole to show a surprising compactness, resulting compelling from the first to the last note. Not an easy work, Zero, and maybe it won’t please even several doom followers because of its oscillation between Sabbath sounds exasperated to the nth power and extreme impulses actually inhibited, as if they were left to implode within a sound that remains constantly threatening. A fascinating album but not for everyone, the only certain fact is that Kypck are a magnificent band, there is nothing else to add.

2016 – Ranka Kustannus