Monday, June 8, 2015

KLV - Niin musta on maa

KLV was a weird experimental band best known for having two thirds of Reverend Bizarre's lineup. This compilation contains a selection of their material from a few finished works to some puzzlingly incomplete jams that serve as a reminder of why the bands other early demos weren't really distributed. The variety of releases here further emphasizes the unusual, experimental, scattershot nature of their music. From gothic/doom/death metal to gloomy rock to d-beat with flutes, it's a rather puzzling listen that feels a little bit more, but not entirely, sensible when it is broken up into segments based on the original recordings. While a highly unusual style, it is somewhat similar to the doom metal/post-punk of their fellow Finns, Lavra.

Tracks 1-3 are from the <i>Valkeus</i> demo tape from 1998. These are the heaviest and most consistent tracks here, playing a style which blends gothic rock with doom metal. There's a strong gothic metal overtone to the lighter parts, at times resembling Sweden's Stillborn with less guitars, at others more like the softened parts of doom/death of the mid-90s. The arrangements meld these nicely and move through them fluidly, perhaps the only good arrangements on this compilation.

Tracks 4 and 5 are from a split 7" with Viikate from 1999, an intro and a longer song. This shows the random and spastic nature of the band quite well, jumping from gothic rock with deep vocals to doom metal to d-beat punk with flutes, even some harsh vocals over d-beats that sound like Absurd. It's like a collection of all the non-metal styles that bands who played death metal in 1992 had started to play in the mid 90s, though fortunately no electronics. It seems that the band was trying to pursue that type of ethereally-tinged dark sound with flutes, deep gothic vocals, harsh vocals, and a spaced-out yet driving rhythm section. The guitar is surprisingly underutilized though, for all the additional instrumentation. No post-punk pedal atmospherics, just doomy riffs half the time, not much the other half.

Tracks 6 and 7 are from the <i>Katso Mihin Kätesi Pystyvät</i> tape from 1997. These are slow and doomy gothic rock songs driven by the bass trading off with the vocals, while the guitar is mostly atmospheric. The chemistry between bassist/vocalist Sami and drummer Jari is very apparent here, and it is no coincidence that this is from the year Jari joined Sami's other band, Reverend Bizarre. Aside from an impressive weeping lead in the latter track, the guitarist feels lost much of the time.

Tracks 8-12 are the earliest material, the <i>Minun Lentoni</i> demo tape from 1996, which appears last because it isn't very good. The 12-minute "Äetsene poige" sounds somewhere between attempted free jazz and a couple guys jamming in a practice room, rarely in unison. The others mix heavy, fuzzed-out doom metal with contrasting clean sections. The arrangements are primitive and rather poor, though the contrasts of dirty and clean guitars/vocals are an interesting aesthetic.

The final track is a gloomy, lo-fi mix of bass, piano, and deep vocals. It feels somewhat unfinished.

The first five tracks were later released as a 12", and that seems to be a much better presentation of the material here. It certainly made sense to include some of it on a CD compilation, but the only material here I would revisit would be those first five, the rest seems to be purely for historical perspective, for the die-hards interested in delving deep into the past works of the Witchfinder, the Earl, and RevBiz.

No comments: