Do you enjoy a journey so winding it’s difficult to find your way back home? Setting an immersive tone is a skill Radien is more than adept at. Creating a setting so densely layered and an atmosphere so vast each song bleeds effortlessly into the next. On their latest venture Unissa Palaneet we’re given five tracks to get lost within. Felipe Hauri and Mikko Poutamen’s guitars get so distorted they blend along with Tuomo Lehtinen’s drumming, along with Tommi Mutka’s bass makes a perfect bed for Jyri Kuukasjäryi’s battered vocals.
These Finnish sludge metalheads started in 2014 taking a long gestation period before releasing debut EP Maa in 2016 and debut album Syvyys in 2018. Their inspiration for these releases were on full display on their collective sleeves. With grizzled guitar solos, crunchy drumming, and vocals filled with a visceral anger, we hear Neurosis and all the usual comparable bands. But on 2019 EP Aste and a 2020 split with Russian stoners Tõll, we finally saw Radien really come into their own. Now let’s lose our way.
Beginning by setting a scene of unfiltered and uncontainable ambience Myrskyn Silmä sees Radien immerse the soundscape with unnerving tones. This leaves any indication of what is to come vague and exciting. The eerily dreamy sounds slowly reveal something that began gorgeous but quickly grows more and more sinister as each second trickles by. A hollowed acoustic guitar woven into synth keys played with so much elegant restraint that you might find it either hypnotic or relaxing depending on how this type of music affects you.
Seinämän Takana follows and is immediately much more brutal. With guitar chords held out way too long that get fuzzier as the song goes on kicking you out of your head. Jyri makes his seething vocal debut with wretches that must leave him breathless given the duration of each passage perfectly matching the guitars. Tuomo’s rolling drums take center stage eventually and crash over and over.
The delicate tone set by the opening track makes a welcomed return on Näkijä with all that beauty slithering slowly back. Guitar chords press on even longer than before as the drums thick with sludgy weight are stacked against some really cool cymbal work. Vocals sink deep in the background as each instrument creeps along, infecting everything in their path. These first three parts groove together with an ebb and flow making a very solid first half of the album.
Vocals sink deep in the background as each instrument creeps along, infecting everything in their path…
The downtrodden and listless Mitä Tapahtuu, Se Tapahtukoon is another wavering engulfment of ambience. It provides a perfect setting for thae winding road of a journey filled with contempt for everything that happens to be the crowning jewel of the album, the twenty-one-minute Unissa Palaneet Pt. I, II, III. This thing is a fucking wild trip. I’m not going to embarrass myself by attempting a guess as to where the parts begin and end and I think that goes against the whole point of it.
A marching band-style drumming comes in taking stoic command demanding every one of the listener’s attention. The militant structure gains echoing effects until guitars, dripping with reverberation, play somber keys into the ether. A wobbling feeling takes over every inch of space provided as each note begins to expand and contract with distortion.
Vocals, which are still pushed to the back, seem less strained than before. This is a well-oiled machine. A machine with each moving part gliding effortlessly together making some of the best moments in the album. Confidence seeps from every pore on Radien’s crawling flesh. Drums, bass, and guitars are spaced out, giving plenty of room for a bit of a breather as a creepy unknown vocalist whispers into your ears making us fall prey to a vicious seduction. Hymn-like singing transcends the song into towering heights.
Okay, I can wax poetic all I want on this track. Y’all know I’ve done that to death here already, but you know what this song feels like? Those old RPGs from the ‘90s where the final boss appears in various forms and the last one looks like some sort of Renaissance Painting. It sounds like how that feels when you see it for the first time. As if something so ancient and unknowable has set its sights directly on you. There’s no possible way of knowing what it’s capable of doing but you know you are miles away from being prepared for it.
After repeated listens I’m more enamoured than ever with Unissa Palaneet. Honestly, the different tracks here could have all been released as a single piece and it would have managed to keep every bit of the endearment. The songs being broken up just makes it that much easier to find yourself
Scribed by: Richard Murray