Wednesday, 03 February 2016

Continuing our exploration of heavy metal music in Finland, here is a new review by our Finnish correspondent, Suvi Jyrinki.


XII – Kouvostomolli by Viikate (=scythe in Finnish) could not have come out at any better time now that I needed something for just floating in mercilessly dark bittersweet moods and being aware of how ridiculous it is.

The Finnish band Viikate has been around since 1996 and their music combines metal with 1960s instrumental rock. That´s why this band might remind you a little bit of Shadows for instance, but according to Kaarle, the founder and the front man, their greatest influences actually come from Entombed, Motörhead and Agents, a Finnish easy listening band that´s strongly influenced by Shadows. The result with these sources of inspiration so strikingly different between each other is quite unique, maybe even too much because music of Viikate has barely changed in these years, but certainly we have no other band that would sound exactly like that. Lyrics include stories of hopeless longing for better life without knowing at all what a better life would be like, or simply surviving day after day and quite archaic words represent nostalgia, old-fashioned romantic atmosphere, sullen attitude and self irony.

And as I did last time, I’ll translate some essential words from the lyrics:

allikko: puddle
katiska: fish trap; elämä on katiska: life is a fish trap
kova tee: hard tea; especially in our prohibition years this drink meant a tea with liquor; kovaa teetä kaatakaa; pour me some hard tea
manteli: almond
mato: maggot; mitä valkeat madot syö: what do the white maggots eat
meri: sea
metsämansikka: wild strawberry; pientareella metsämansikoita: wild strawberries on a shoulders
naarata: drag; sydäntäsi naarataan: your heart will be dragged
puolikuu: half moon
rottinki: rattan
sees: old-fashioned way to describe a clear or calm weather; olen sees: I am calm
syntinen: sinner

Now I can´t help wondering, what did those white maggots eat…

This album called XII – Kouvostomolli carries on this path Viikate have chosen. Name of the album is mildly difficult to explain completely, but it points at the band´s home town (Kouvola) and a mode they obviously use (molli = minor). Somehow the songs and a mood of this whole album lead me to oceans or seashores in my mind and lyrics do very often describe things that relate to sailing, fishing – or smuggling liquor over water: in the song Kovaa Teetä they are clearly talking about things that were reality during a time of prohibition in Finland in 1919-1932. Listening to the album also feels like sailing: not necessarily in the biggest surges of Atlantic but perhaps in more pacific waves close to the harbor or by a lake under the grey drizzly clouds. The most persistent earworm for me is the song Mantelinmakuinen (= almond flavoured) where the ocean waves join with froths of absinthe. Both lyrically and musically.

Though XII – Kouvostomolli provides very tried and tested stuff, it is also good stuff.


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Viikate ‎– XII – Kouvostomolli

Ranka Recordings ‎– RA176
Vinyl, LP, Album

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