Tuesday 9 August 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Vainaja - "Verenvalaja"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/05/2016
Label: Svart Records

This is superior death doom, the sound is uniformly bleak with no real light and shade in vibe, but would you want anything else?! If you like such bands as Serpentine Path, Hooded Menace, then you will enjoy this immensely. Dark stuff, superbly delivered.

“Verenvalaja” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Risti
2). Sielu
3). Usva
4). Valaja
5). Kultti
6). Kehto

The Review:

Finnish death doom, made by three maniacs with a distinctly early 90's penchant as far as influences go. The riffs are slow, the vocals are low... except when there is a clean-ish chant sections (which are awesome). All six tracks are fairly lengthy (nothing under five and half minutes and nothing over eleven, if that helps...).

Really, you will know if you like this from the opening of the first track. “Raita” leads off with all the elements mentioned above plus some nice lead work. Things do speed up for “Sielu” and there is some nice guitar work again, with a pleasingly sizeable sound all around; nicely reverb soaked and suitably rumbling. Naturally, the burst of pace does not last the whole track, but there are some rhythms that are closer to rolling tanks than they are to climbing sloths.

“Usva” is the album's centre piece and introduces spoken word at the start, while the pace is still low for the main sections (very slow, in fact, for the vocals). Orchestral flourishes finish the track off, proving that there is some depth and breadth to the sound on offer here. The title track tips us over the half way point with some creepy verse guitar work. The sound is uniformly bleak; no real light and shade in vibe, just dynamics. This being death doom... would you want anything else?!

“Kultti” is a lumbering beast, but with an almost swinging groove to it. A despairing track slithers forth. The vocals are so low as to be positively bestial. “Kehto” rounds the album out with a weird underwater vocal effect to start, along with quieter instrumentation generally. The tracks builds from there, cultivating a real sense of darkness and menace- but without as much heaviness as earlier tracks, at least initially. The album ends on this rather creepy note.

If you like such bands as Serpentine Path, Hooded Menace et al, then you will enjoy this (if that is the right turn of phrase) immensely. Dark stuff, superbly delivered.

“Verenvalaja” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

RIYL: Serpentine Path, Hooded Menace, Rippikoulu, Celtic Frost