Featuring the singer of Swallow the Sun, Kuusumu contains 47 minutes of polished, professional material. For a starting reference point think of a band like Paradise Lost, and then add in elements of acts such as My Dying Bride, Sentenced, Barren Earth, Amorphis, and Orphaned Land; this will give you a rough idea of where Kuolemanlaakso’s talents lie.
The well-crafted songs showcase the band’s sleek songwriting and tight delivery. The band’s brand of Gothic doom expresses itself well across these seven songs, and each one gives the listener something a little different to chew on. Each track leans into a different aspect of the band’s influences to a greater or lesser extent, making for an album where each song is easily recognised and placed. Kuolemanlaasko are not short of personality, and this manifests across the music clearly and strongly.
The doom aspect of the music is well-represented, and the songs contain melancholic and exotic atmospheres aplenty. However, the band also know when to dish out huge riffs when they need to, resulting in a collection of tracks that display a good degree of variety across the running time. Two good examples of this are near the middle of the album; Kuohuista Tulisten Koskien is heavy and upbeat, is the shortest song here, and features entirely growled vocals. The following track – Surun Sinfonia – is the longest, and exemplifies the band’s moodier, slower side very well.
The vocals are powerful and emotive. The singer’s cleans and growls are both very well-performed, as are his screams, which are more blackened in style that I was expecting. Backed up by a few different guests and styles here and there, the vocal performance and variation is as well-considered as that of the music.
Kuusumu is a very strong and well-delivered album. The music is enjoyable and substantial, offering a great experience for lovers of the style.
Very highly recommended.