Reviewed: [May 2020]
Released [2020 Woodcut Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Since no one can fucking go anywhere these days, I had big plans to take an audio trip around the world this month and explore the most “foreign” promos that had turned up of late – bands from exotic locales, albums with mysterious, impenetrable names and, if possible, songs sung in the native language.
But real job mandatory telework has found a way to consume the “free” time it was supposed to open up and then some – and I found myself with far less of an opportunity to do the theme package of reviews I had hoped to do. So in the end – with apologies to France’s Dysylumn and Aodon, Austria’s Perchta, Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu, Switzerland’s Aara, Paraguay’s Verthebral and Poland’s Czerń, among many others – I managed only two. And for the first, I simply opted for the tongue-twisteriest of the bunch. And that was Finnish black metallers Korgonthurus and their third full-length Kuolleestasyntynyt.
Apparently translating to “born from the dead,” Kuolleestasyntynyt is a fitting title in that it marks a resurrection for the band, which split – for a second time! – in 2017, not long after issuing Vuohen Siunaus, their first album in seven years. Original vocalist/guitarist Corvus and drummer Kryth reconvened as Korgonthurus with bassist Incisura soon there after, and with new guitarist Insanis Xul in tow have indeed been born from the dead.
Kuolleestasyntynyt blends primal black metal rawness with surprising riffiness, epic scale and the cat-with-its-ass-ablaze shrieking of Corvus for a grim, potent outing that succeeds in spite of the relatively length of most of the songs. Three of the six tracks top six minutes and the finale, “Nox,” weighs in a 9:31. But the band keeps things moving, despite ample atmospheric or austere stretches. Kryth’s steady, galloping tempos lead the way for the crafty guitar work of Corvus and Insanis Xul, who weave together cascading trems, surging grooves and eerie mood pieces – especially on “Nox,” which concludes with an Eastern-sounding acoustic passage – with great finesse.
The pile-driving riffs of the title track, which opens the album, are far more “metal” than “black” and repeat elsewhere, giving the album plenty of heft to offset the shrill blackened sprints of “Tuhontuoja,” whereas “Syyttäjäenkeli” mashes both approaches together into a titanic 6:33. “Riivattu” adds an unexpectedly grinding bottom end and as the album’s shortest song, at 4:14, is also its most imposing and vicious, especially when paired with the agonizing, yet initially serene “Yön lapsi” that follows.
What began as mere exercise in curiosity – as I knew precious little of Korgonthurus – ended up paying off in discovery. Kuolleestasyntynyt captures the scale and sophistication, but strips away the bloat, of symphonic black metal and delivers it with the rough and tumble ugliness of more blue collar black metal. No easy feat, though these guys do it with aplomb – or “itsevarmuus,” as the Finns might say, if Google translate is to be believed.