It’s good. No, really, it’s very good. This has everything you are entitled to expect from a hardcore album. And possibly something more. Unkind’s Pelon Juuret is, according to their label, “as if Mogwai made a record of Tragedy covers or From Ashes Rise were influenced by Explosions In The Sky”. Too far from the truth? Not at all. If its predecessor, Harhakuvat, was a discordant symphony reminiscent of early Neurosis and Wolfbrigade, Unkind’s latest effort is proudly not too far from that somehow controversial album. Crust, kängapunk (ok: Swedish hardcore) and sludge all contribute to making Pelon Juuret (literally: ‘the roots of fear’) yet another small gem of beautifully crafted northern violence.
Ever been in a Helsinki squat? I have never understood why they smell so good, but I have probably never really understood Helsinki. The same goes with hardcore around that latitude: they could play the dirtiest sludge, but it will always seem as if a melody is about to worm its way inside the song. Unkind, from beautiful Tampere, are no exception to this unwritten axiom. No matter how brutal “Vihan Lapset” and “Laki” may sound to you: always be on the lookout because they are trying to screw you over. You enter a squat and they serve you hardcore, jasmine tea, the omnipresent coffee and a can of Lapin Kulta. I mean, listen to the solemnly anthemic pace of “Olemisen Pelko” and feel the anger, expect the goosebumps, curse the present and forget about tomorrow. Because there is no future (left).
But, the music? Is it good? Terrific. The sound is way more mature and slightly more articulate than it was on the previous releases and if you have seen Unkind live somewhere, one day, somehow, you surely know that bands like Skitsystem and Martyrdöd can now assume a resting position, have a pint of cider and enjoy the cataclysm that these guys from near Särkänniemi Amusement Park proudly evoke. Because Unkind mean business. Of a serious kind (apart from when the banjo kicks in almost half way into the closing track, but that’s another story). The guitar work (a raw, genuine, rusty blade) is an intense affair between the nihilism of post-metal (walls of sound equal no sound) and the creative eulogy to baroque that is, yes, perkele!, Mogwai and, true, Explosions in the Sky.
But the average listener will never notice it. The real Unkind is the one you can hear below the surface, when you mentally scratch it to reveal the hidden nature of a sound that is far richer than the seemingly chaotic blast you first encounter when “Valtakunta” leaves your speakers. A great album of modern hardcore delivered by a band that has not yet fulfilled its potential. Violence can be beautiful [So very beautiful Indeed — Madam X].
To be tried while sipping jasmine tea in a Finnish squat near you.