The Finnish doom/death metal super-group (well, sort of) known as Kuolemanlaakso return with their sophomore release for Svart Records, titled Tulijoutsen. Comprised of vocalist Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), guitarist/keyboard player Laakso (Chaosweaver) , guitarist Kouta (Chaosweaver), bassist Usva (The Nibiruan), and drummer Tiera (Cult of Endtime), the band play their crushing yet bleak take on the My Dying Bride formula, with superb production being handled by producer-engineer-guitarist V. Santura (Woodshed Studios, Dark Fortress, Celtic Frost, Triptykon). This is a pretty massive sounding affair, lots of gloom & doom being tossed around, with crushing riffs plodding through the mix, some spooky atmospherics, and a mixture of gothic moans, ragged death metal growls, and tortured shrieks. It's not the most original sounding stuff you'll ever hear, and I've no idea what the lyrical themes are about seeing as it's all sung in their native tongue, but there's a creepiness and sense of foreboding permeating the entire album, plus some of those riffs are huge ("Arpeni" anyone?), that it's hard not to like what's on display here. The songs are pretty lengthy, perhaps too much so at times, but lovers of gloomy, doom laden death metal should find lots to like on Tulijoutsen.
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