Released: 2012, Svart Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Kuolemanlaakso are a metal band whose name you may struggle to pronounce but in translation means “Death Valley”. Originally, the music was fronted by one man guitarist Laasko with a vision of creating an utterly dark album lyrically depicted in Finnish. However, after receiving positive acclaim from an early demo recording, the music evolved into a five man band unit. Their debut album Uljas uusi Maailma (Brave New World) is the fruits of their labour.
‘Mina Elan’ opens with melodic guitars and spoken dialogue which builds into some filfth ridden riffs and lung bellowing growls. The pounding drums shower down in chaotic procession with some keys scattered throughout. The vocal range oscillates between high pitched shrieks and infernal snarling.
Carrying on in a similar direction is ‘Kuun Lapset’, that comes with blood spitting vocals, weighty guitars and clean backing vocals to add an extra layer of density. A muddy bass driven breakdown wades in building culminating into axe grinding riffs and ascending solo that claws its way through the flesh of the song.
‘Nostos & Algos’ stomps down with beast sized riffs which leads into the tribal beats of ‘Roihusydan’ which fit’s the style well and gives the Finnish language more prominence in the cleaner sound being explored here.
‘Etsin’ displays a Doom ridden tempo and slower in its delivery than the previous tracks, it does help to show versatility within the song writing abilities of the band. The track is laced with a distinctive use of keys and solid drum work.
Picking up the pace with ‘Ikuni‘, the husky growls and speedy guitars get the adrenaline surging with galloping drums and gritty vocal layering.
Personal highlight, ‘Ulja Uusi Maailma’ has a good sense of melody and aggression that is tilted between its introductory first minute and the guitar fuelled fury that follows. The band also divulge more of the spoken narrative concept found earlier. Although lyrically everything is indecipherable it still remains as alluring as the music itself.
Finally, the bass drone of ‘Aurinko’ paves the way for bleak guitars to exercise their angst sounding crunch into the ear drums before dispersing into an eerie ambience induced keys. Some interesting melody prevails amidst the skull crushing brutality of the heavier sections, conjuring everything skyward to an all out exhilarating crescendo.
Overall, this was a fairly formidable listen by a band who have cultivated their own style in a way that is both original and unique. While their may not be anything particularly ground breaking to be found here, there are plenty of head banging moments to conjure a following of loyalist metallers into their wake.
Review by Ben Spencer