Death Metal Finland

While most of Finland is obsessed with trolls and tooth harps, only a handful of Finnish acts have veered into more brutal territory, Scent of Flesh being the only recent band that immediately springs to mind above and beyond older acts like Disgrace and early manifestations of Amorphis and Sentenced.

Until now. Enter Sotajumala (Finnish for “Wargod”), a Finnish death metal war machine that takes the best elements of Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and classic Stockholm death metal and grinds them under the tracks of a down tuned tank. With the fury of a T-72’s smoke spewing, rumbling engine, Sotajumala’s native tongue filled, death metal lashing is a stout example of death metal that mixes classic stylings and pacing with a modern ferocity and fervor. With the smoky battlefield hue of Bolt Thrower, the swirling technical precision of Morbid Angel and a virtual Sunlight production, Sotajumala’s sound is hardly original, and bands like Insision and Anata spring to mind as viable comparisons that do death metal justice without tampering with the formula.

The formula is indeed simple; fierce blast beats, gruff ravenous vocals, and ample time changes that both shred with buzzing tenacity and lurch with militaristic menace. Nothing that has not been done before, but Sotajumala does it rather convincingly. After the obligatory nameless intro, “Meidän Maa” (“Our Country”), blazes the album’s opening trail , with rapid fire, tracer laced blasting, and while “Elämän Vihollinen” (“The Enemy of Life”) initially follows suite, its latter moments burst with a lumbering heave that’s as good as any of Bolt Thrower’s warmongering marches. The Bolt Thrower-ish themes of modern combat are continued for the likes of “Panssarikolonna” (“Armor Column”) “Vanki” (“Prisoner”), “Pommitus” (“Bombardment”), not just lyrically, but also in their pummeling, often controlled delivery as heard on the monstrous gait of “Kuolleet” (“The Dead”). The pacing of the album is perfect as it never lulls into either faceless blasting or Jungle Rot-like redundancy; take the jarring shift from the aforementioned “Kuolleet” to the blisteringly short sharp assault of “Rakkaudesta Sotaan” (“For the Love of War”).

The dervish blast beats reek of Morbid Angel with a certain ethereal, layered sound, especially when delivering a solo as heard on “Sisu Sinivalkoinen” (“The Strength of Blue and White”) or a sudden shift into a grinding segment like the title track displays. The Morbid Angel influence is no more apparent than on the stunning and aptly titled album closer “Pommitus”, a five minute display of shock and awe which closes Death Metal Finland with a mammoth, sludge filled sprawl of “Hatework” or “Where the Slime Live” proportions, complete with esoteric, echoing solo work and artillery-ish bass kick ins.

Death Metal Finland is a damned fine album, and a welcome break from the normally frivolous nature of metal Finland usually delivers.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 27th, 2004


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