Towards the back end of 2021, the boss Shaman Lee, asked if I could do a quick review on ‘a nasty 4-track sludge band EP’ as a favour. Being in somewhat of an emotional flux at the time, something violent and grimy on the stereo was just what the Patrick Bateman in me needed.
The band turned out to be Finnish sludge/doom quintet Lähdön Aika who had recently undergone a seismic change having parted ways with vocalist and founding member Marko Nyman and were looking to experience a rebirth with the directional shift that was the aforementioned Valonaara.
Doing a customary deep dive on the unfamiliar band, I must admit I wasn’t that inspired by their back catalogue (sorry fellas) but then I hit play on the new release. Immediately hearing the savage tonal shift on display, including the rabid horror-inducing vocals from new boy Eeli Helin, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer face-melting power that the band now wielded (not that they were shrinking violets before). Valonaara dialled up lashings of ultra-violence that I hadn’t enjoyed for quite some time, and it still regularly gets to air out the frustrations of modern life in my house.
To my delight, the close of this year sees the band back once more with another desolate quartet of sonic devastation in the form of new EP Hourevuode. In a glorious celebration of their history and signposting their future, the self-reliant, DIY punk-spirited purveyors of the brutal soundscape continue the rebirth of their 2021 release but sprinkle it with additional nuances and aesthetic tweaks to ensure that it still drops you like a sledgehammer to the temple.
Starting with the slow atmospheric crawling build of Katalepsiapatsas, the thick sound has a clarity to it that allows the hit-hat to ring out and the guitars chime over the dense drone whilst newbie no longer Helin rasps his vocals, spitting with barely contained fury, howling like a creature from hell that’s stepped on a rusty nail.
Even after the lumbering breaks into a slightly faster pace, the track is awash with tension, particularly for those familiar with the band as you know that at some point, they are going to drop this oppressive trudge and open up a world of hurt. When they do get going, even though they are not at full power, the tumultuous battering of the drums is relentless and unmerciful, but this slower edge and the refined melodies that flavour the latter half highlight the new tricks they have introduced to their arsenal.
a feral force that is absolutely ferocious…
Kolmas Solmu is when they get going properly and harks back to the mauling assault of the likes of Pahansuovat and Lehto off Valonaara. The track ignites with brutal tribal drumming and pounding a feral force that is absolutely ferocious. Even when they let the tempo drop, it still seethes with ill intent, losing none of the intensity with the electronic elements in the form of whining feedback that unsettles and throws you off before they return with the crushing crescendo. Despite the savage nature of the band, Hourevuode, like its predecessor, is crammed full of hooks and grooves that you can imagine would be manna for a churning sea of bodies in a live setting.
The shortest track Houreet is more musical evolution as the melodic (but slightly discordant) ringing attempts to offer a moment of respite amongst the noise and bright-sounding instruments. Of course, being Lähdön Aika it ends in an uncomfortable hail of feedback and sounds that merely serve to set up the last heavyweight offering Ihmisraunioita.
Marking a 2023 update on the opening track from their Self-Titled debut album, the rain sample is stripped away, the murky production is light years ahead and naturally gone is the original vocal delivery. Coming across less like a Godflesh workout from the early nineties and more like the monolithic drag of Amenra, this track is laser-focused in comparison. It still retains that industrialised stomp and imperious air of danger, but it is informed by the progression the band has made in the last few years and (again, no disrespect to the former frontman) the vocals, with their guttural roars and anguished screams, better fit this powerhouse unit as they look to level everything in their path.
Having spent the last two years thinking that four tracks of this gut-wrenchingly cathartic noise was not enough (twenty-four short minutes) I was overjoyed at the chance to double that and Hourevuode has delivered that freight train-like smash I was expecting whilst freshening up their sound just enough to keep things interesting and stopping themselves falling into the trap of becoming repetitive.
If they can give us an epic-length next chapter any time soon, I’ll be a very happy man.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden