Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Isänmaa - Yli Peltojen, Vetten Ja Tunturien

I'm sure that the metal world is littered with projects formed as proof to ex-band mates that they made a mistake in dumping a member out on the curb. Immediately the age old tale of Megadeth and Metallica comes to mind which, in the end was really more of a coming of age tale. Something makes me think the circumstances surrounding Isanmaa's creation after Kimmo Luttinen was evicted from Impaled Nazarene form a more dangerous and less teen-angsty fable. As it is, all listeners have to take from this coup is a single hard-nosed, bitter and resentful demo entitled Yli Peltojen, Vetten Ja Tunturien which, in it's quick and direct attack is an enjoyable artifact for those deeply mired in the ins and outs of the Finnish black metal lineage. What I take most of all from this release, is in response to brother Mika Luttinen's portrayal of the reasoning behind the exit of Kimmo from Impaled, is that there is more behind the story then what we are hearing. Mika cites that Kimmo "changed our style pretty much after the release of Ugra-Karma. It was his vision of how we should sound, and the rest of us weren't happy at all. It is useless for a band like us to try to be a copy of Danzig or fucking Paradise Lost." There is no sense of that desire in this release which is as fast, blistering and purely black as anything Impaled had been to that point.

Though the original version of this is nigh impossible to find at this point, this CD version by Primitive Reaction offers the original material with an additional bonus track which is distinctively different from the five original songs from the original '96 tape. The artwork is somewhat bland here but then again, so was the tape artwork with just simple lettering. The booklet contains the lyrics which, to me look like a midget being slammed on a keyboard which produces only vowels and the letters L, K and N. Simple layout, simple release. It echoes the music fairly well.  I believe there is little else to identify here and it would have been nice to have been offered just a little more with this release.

Five short, immediate tracks of black metal ferocity. Opening track, "Isanmaani," levels any doubts about what style, what genre, etc Kimmo is interested in creating. It's got heaps of attitude. My favorite track on the release is without a doubt second track, "Sinä Luot, Tuhoat," which is borderline speed metal taking cues from Sodom and tracks like Ausgebombt which ride on a simple back and forth rubbing out of notes and riff repetition. Here the material is overlapped by fuzzy deep guitars such as on Aeternus' Beyond the Wandering Moon but with a slightly more digital signal. Vocally, Kimmo sounds like a rabid aboriginal creature. The inclusion of a short burst of layered melody midway into the track complicates the song just enough to not sound dull. The fade out is a bit of a disappointment after the energy built up in the just-short-of-two minutes track. The third and fourth place tracks emphasize black metal hallmarks of subtle melodic flourishes, subdued melancholy and downplayed rhythmic variation. In short, they are as are so many other black metal tracks though these offer just a bit more emotion and passion than is often expelled.

The final two tracks are highlights as well. "Siva (Tuho)" is the fastest on the album, near indefinable speed with grunted and deranged vocals, evoked from deep within and literally spit out in a messy vitriolic fashion. The track offers an awkward break before refrain. "Aamutahti" is the bonus track here and is atonal and unsettling. It has prominent keys which perhaps is a reason why it was discarded from the original release. The guitars are still similar and the style is the same but a droning keyboard is a welcome textural differentiation at this point. The keys create psuedo-melodies and illusionary sounds. For a twelve minute release, a lot of material is here to discuss, especially when placing the release in the context as a response to Luttinen's exclusion by force or otherwise from Impaled Nazarene.

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