Kuolemanlaakso - Uljas Uusi Maailma (Svart Records)

A debut to remember.

Named after what they say is the “hottest place on Earth” – The Death Valley in a rough translation to English, Kuolemanlaakso was primarily formed in 2010 by Laakso of Chaosweaver from Finland as an one-man-band project but soon other band mates entered in the project and the band became a full-time act. 

Finally in 2012 their debut Uljas Uusi Maailma (Brave New World) came to life and it showcases an original piece of death/black snail-paced metal inspired by Triptykon, but it’s not an imitation, as it sparsely resembles that band, but it was produced by none less than V. Santura of the aforementioned band and Dark Fortress in Germany.

This is an album of high qualities from the cover (one of the best and most intriguing works of 2012) to the sound itself. 

Although the songs never reach faster tempos, the sound is full of variety with phrases long enough to stick into the listener’s mind, like in the doomish Nostos and Algos, with a repetitive chorus, and then an ultra heavy bass buzzing in the background and ultra heavy riffs with a drum pounding - this is second to none if it's intended to make some heads roll.

There are odd parts though, like in the final session of the song Kuun Lapset with a strange and sad piano piece or in the intermission Roihusydän with shamanic drum beats which seem to be taken from some old Sammi ritual. 

Soon the great riffs are back with Etsin, and it’s very well made, the sound is clean but the guitars are pure heavy metal…. It sounds like a black/doom band with influences of traditional heavy metal, or Primal Fear at the wrong speed.

The songs are lengthy but this is not a problem as the variations keep coming and coming, always with a surprise, being in a refrain, being in a riff, being in a double bass drum.

But the title-track is the best song of the album! Full of tiny fragments, the whole is a masterpiece: like the syncopated drum with a killer riff in the middle session or the final chorus proclaiming “Uljas uusi maailma”. 

The Last song is a sombre piece of doomish despondency that is the album in summary. 

Kuolemanlaakso managed to create an innovative opus with this debut album, something very rare these days, and, with a style difficult to classify, soon they will be creating a new style, who knows?

If you want something weird (but not so much) to hear and to have lots of fun, take this album for granted. 

 

Uljas uusi maailma is out now on Svart Records.