TOF booklet pages 12&1strokeOkay, admission time: as you can probably guess, I don’t always rely on the Grymm Grab Bag™ to decide who or what to review. If it’s a band I love or have a history with, I’ll give a fair looksee and go from there. In some cases, the name alone will grab me and say, “dude, review this, please.” Hence, Finland’s Tomb of Finland. That’s a pretty benign name to most people, right? However, as a rather hirsute gay male who does wear leather on occasion, I couldn’t help but chuckle as I’m picturing those not in the know looking them up on a search engine, and forgetting one key letter in the first word of their band name, then being bombarded with drawings of dudes that looked like they walked out of a Turbonegro concert while this song will most likely get stuck throbbing in their heads (and that’s if they’ve got the proper privacy network settings engaged at work or school because, if they don’t… HOO-BOY!). But no. Instead, you get some Finnish-grade doom/death metal on their debut, Below the Green.

And thankfully, it’s pretty damn good! After a somber, short intro (what’s with all the intros these days?), “Death of the Sun” tremolo-picks its way into your frostbitten hearts with an icy cold melody that reminds me a bit of Dissection‘s The Somberlain with Jasse von Hast (ex-Charon/Wolfheart) and Mikko Hannuksela (Coughdust, ex-Cartilage) providing some excellent riffs and melodies. Vocalist Olli Suvanto does a fine job switching it up between blackened screams and guttural lows. While not the slow funeral doom most usually are accustomed to when it comes to Finland (see: Skepticism), it’s still an invigorating, enjoyable plow through the frozen cemetary.

Below the Green is also quite the varied doom/death album in terms of tempo and moods with several nods to the classics. “The Autumn Rain” is a not-so-subtle tip of the coffin lid to Insomnium and Down-era Sentenced. “Dead Forever” starts off slow and lumbering before heaving into “Forgotten Sunrise”-territory Amorphis. “Damnation” could easily fit in with early My Dying Bride. And through it all, the quality is pretty damn high. I didn’t find myself skipping over any tracks, and the album has an incredible flow throughout, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of albums I listened to this year.

Tomb Of Finland_2015a

Dan Swanö lent his signature ear and mixing and production skills, and despite the lack of dynamics, it sounds ominous and beefy. H’s bass pops when necessary, but is always audible. The guitars cut just right, and Janne Manninen’s drums definitely possess the necessary thunder. If anything, I wished the songs would develop a little bit more. There were a few times when I thought the songs could have gone on a bit longer (“The Autumn Rain,” “Death of the Sun”), but when was the last time I actually said that? The other concern I have is the album feels more like an homage to prior bands, and not the band itself. Not a huge complaint, as it’s just a debut, but it’s still something to be mindful of.

Tomb of Finland left a rather impressive debut on my lap. Below the Green is quite the heavy, icy dirge I was looking for in the hot summer months. Definitely keep an eye out for these guys in the future. Just be careful when you Google them.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Mighty Music
Websites: tomboffinland.fi | facebook.com/tomboffinland
Release Dates: EU: 2015.08.21 | NA: 08.28.2015

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  • El_Cuervo

    Googled Tom of Finland. Chortled to myself.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I really liked the preview song, but all I can think of is Tom… Can’t take this band seriously, at least not yet.

    • Sir Tapir The Based :]

      I know you got a lot of them Tom of Finland stamps. You be lickin’ them every day.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Covered my walls with ’em.

      • sir_c

        those are only for mails that go to Uranus
        *badum tsj*

    • Monsterth Goatom

      To quote W.H. Auden, “like a Gweek God and devoted: how delicious!”

    • De2013

      Yes, that’s why every band should really do a trade name analysis before they name themselves. Or at least google it. Or, maybe it was on purpose, trying to expand to a new market.

      • Grymm

        There are some metalheads in that market.

        Some.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          On a tangent, I found “The Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show” a good read. I’m sure I also read an article somewhere on being a black, female metalhead, but my Googling powers are running low today.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Yes I remember that too, except I think she was a punk not a metal head that might help :)

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Some dude named Rob Halford, I heard.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Had to be on purpose. No way Finnish guys didn’t know about Tom of Finland.

        • Oscar Albretsen

          I’m not Finnish, but it does seem unlikely they were totally unaware before they named themselves. Cool tune, still.

          • De2013

            Indeed, cool tune!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Being blissfully unaware of what/who Tom of Finland is I initially thought this was an ESL band name…I think it’s pretty clever on a number of levels,

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    I’m reminded of Dissection in the above song’s melodies too, which isn’t at all a bad thing. Never knew I was looking for this until clicking play. Glad you unearthed it for us Grymm, great review.

  • JJnetZach

    I typed “Omb of Finland” into Google and all I got was some designers boutique. What’s the fuss about…

    • Grymm

      Okay, this was legit funny. LOL

    • Doomdeathrosh

      Good. Now try Tob of Finland!

      • Martin Knap

        or Tomb of Inland

    • I Googled “Tomb of Finlad” and got what appears to be the grave site of Aquaman’s son.

      • Grymm

        Aaaaaaaand I just laughed out my beer…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Thanks Grymm, good review fun read.
    I’m resisting the urge to google Tom of Finland, but I will check these guys out.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Just my pint of beer this! Thanks for bringing them out Grymm!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I think the name “Tomb Of Finland” is cool, either if you do or don´t know about Tom Of Finland. The Tom Of Finland connection adds a few layers of cool, because it makes you wonder if they did it on purpose and if so which were their intentions.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    If they were from America, I wonder if they would have named the band “Rue Paul.” I was honestly up all night last night coming up with that.

  • Jukka Alanen

    Album sounds quite good, but I would probably enjoy it a lot more if I wasn’t from Finland and if I hadn’t listened so much to Sentenced, Insomnium Gatherum, Wolfheart etc. I might still get this after a couple more spins though.