Mokoma
Kurimus

Finnish sung metal has become more and popular in Finland (what a surprise!) and one can only hope that the basic trend has reached its highest peak. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, but most of the bands of the genre, are boring beyond belief. It all basically started with Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus who after a few years of hard work gained huge mainstream popularity, staying on the top lists and naturally, winning prizes here and there. After that, many more bands of such ilk appeared from the shadows. I guess the major breakthrough of the style can be also partly explained with the fact, that no one believed, before Trio Niskalaukaus, that Finnish sung metal was possible without becoming comedy music. And now that the dam has been destroyed, there’s no stopping the flood. Luckily, between the yawn-fest bands, there are also those who do not follow the leaders despite waving similar flags.

And with this built bridge, we get over to the actual subject. Prejudiced person that I am, when the Mokoma’s first album came out in 2001, I didn’t pay much attention to it since they seemed to be (to me), yet another band trying to ‘cash-in’ with the on going ‘underground’ trend, so to speak. Judging without listening and thus ignoring the band all together, I went and carried on with my life. Little did I know that during the time of my absence, the band apparently grew a hunger to step closer to the source of their original inspiration — the content of their CD shelves; where metal classics stood next to each other side by side. Of course, as it usually is with my ramblings – they’re nothing but groundless speculation, but hopefully I’m not too far away from the real reasons of why the band evolved from rock closer thrashadelic metal. And if I am at least somewhat right, the saying, “There’s no running away from the past” can yet again be found true.

As much as it pains to say it, I admit the fact that I overlooked the band completely. Perhaps even disrespect them with my assumptions (to which I’ve yet to find a confirmation) about their previous release. But shit, in the year two thousand and three, they’ve finally got their payback. Silencing the Judas Betrayer, me, completely with a beating that I won’t soon to forget. If ever. Mokoma’s newest CD, Kurimus, is without a doubt one of the best thrash/ier metal albums to come out in years. Sure, this might not feauture the constant intensity of “Raining Blood” or high pitched scrrrreaming of Overkill, nor would you mistake this for any Bay Area band for that matter. But none the less, Kurimus can only be said to be thrash. Even if not in its purest sense. Direct comparisons can be somewhat tricky in this particular case, but if pointed with a gun at my head, I’d probably gasp out Entombed’s Morningstar in order of hoping that it would be close enough to save my life. And even then, the death metal/deathrock/deathtrash outfit from Sweden would only have been mentioned because of the similar sound policy. In general, the sound is the type where when you cram it loud, it will break your neck and most likely, crush the rest of your bones too.

Most of the album we are treated with fast speed beating, there are a couple songs in between that, when compared to the extreme material, might be somewhat slow but none the less softer. Sure, the tempo goes down and the vocal melodies might become more rock, it doesn’t break the continuation at all but makes it richer with a good balance between anger and beauty. And while one might still insists that the few songs are softer than a box of chocolate in Hell, the lyrics bring the much required mental heaviness to the mix. In a situation where the guitars might satanically tell you “I love you”, the lyrics ironically state how life, once again, decays and rots. And while it might appear quite unimportant to those who can’t read the language, the lyrics use the richness of Finnish to full effect. Using words and ways of saying things that might have disappeared from casual street use. The ironic, sarcastic and bittersweet lyrics definitely add a lot to the essence of the album. And it’s not just in the lyrics where all the different aspects of mind are displayed, but also the music portrays a variety of emotions when it might just seem to be a simple “live fast, die young”- noise. And I think that’s actually one of the reasons why the album works so well for me, since it isn’t just limited to one level at a time, but a person can get as much or as little out of it as one sees fit.

Even when the quality is spread nicely throughout the album, there are still a few special standout tracks within the package. Most of the tracks being around three and four minutes, the 7-minute epic “Liiton Loppu” is a perfect doom’s day closener for the album. The two ‘slower’ songs, “Kasvot kohti Itää” and “Silmäterä” work especially well for me; making it hard not to sing along (despite my puny mortal voice) and get all watery eyed. And the greatest of the fastest are, without a doubt, “Takatalvi” and “Punainen Kukko”. Both of which have most likely made me closer of becoming a wheelchair avenger due to spinal problems. The first bringing the desert of Seasons In the Abyss to my head, while the hard ‘n’ heavy chorus of the latter, where they shout ‘Saatanan Kukko’, has simply become a mind blowing experience for me.

Even after hours and hours of intensive listening, the album still remains in constant heavy rotation. Kurimus is one of the most perfect albums out there. Stripped down from things that are unnecessary, each small detail that made through, have earned a place on the record. There’s not a thing I’d change. It’ll be no surprise that the album will most definitely shine over at the higher ranks for me when picking out the creme of this and all the previous years. And while general public of heavy metal might not look back at Kurimus like they might do with certain other metal classics, the album has become one of my personal favorites all time. “Make some room Mr. Everflowing Stream. I think you’ve got a new friend.” Yup.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
June 10th, 2003

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