Finnish folklore tells the tale of a small rabid cult in the 19th century, performing blasphemous actions on followers of old Finnish religions, including ritual sacrifice and burying innocent townsfolk alive. This small cult was discovered, and sentenced to die by fire on the altar in their own mansion, burned alive with most of their scriptures, save for one book which was left miraculously intact. Such is the story of Kadotetut, told by relative newcomers Vainaja. Svart Records labeled this as “one of the heaviest records ever made in the Finnish language,” and I’ll be hard pressed to disagree. This thing is a monster from start to finish.
After an extremely eerie start from intro “Lankeemus” (loosely translated: “Fall”), complete with birds chirping, soft acoustic guitars, and some really ominous keyboards, “Väärän ristin valtakunta” (“Cross the Wrong Kingdom”) proceeds to kick your teeth in with its heavy dirgy doom-death transgressions. Do you like Celtic Frost in your doom? Want some Abhorrence with your Asphyx? Well, this album’s for you! Thick distorted chord bends, lurching funeral march drum patterns by Aukusti “The Gravedigger” Wainaa, and bassist Wilhelm “The Preacherman” Wainaa’s throaty growls will all command (and receive) your full attention.
The main draw, though, is the riffing of Kristian “The Cantor” Wainaa. There is practically no shortage of thick, chewy, addictive riffs on Kadotetut. He knows when to allow for breathing space in his assault (the fade-out riff on “Valon lapset” (“The Children of Light”)), how to bring out prime-era Morbid Angel creepiness (“Verinen lähde” (“Bloody Source”)), and when to go apeshit with the tremolo (the middle of “Risti kädessäni” (“Cross in Hand”)). The man isn’t all that flashy by any means, but my god, does he have a command for hooks and atmosphere. That, coupled with Wilhelm’s gutteral barkings in Finnish, is a recipe for pure atmospheric punishment.
The legendary Dan Swanö mastered the album, and gave Kadotetut the necessary heft required to evoke feelings of dread and doom, but at the price of dynamics. Simply put, this album is LOUD, even at lower volumes. That said, everything has an immeasurable beefiness about it, from Kristian’s “Tom G. Warrior on steroids” guitar tone to Aukusti’s subtle-as-an-angry-buffalo drumming. Another cause for concern is that, even though the album has no bad moments at all, it can wear on you a bit towards the end. Others may be put off by the fact that the album is entirely in Finnish. I think that works towards the band’s advantage, as it adds an air of mystery to the lyrics and overall vibe that Vainaja is giving off. Had the vocals been performed in English, I know it wouldn’t be nearly as effective.
May has been a pretty damn good month for metal. First with Vehemenz, and now this impressive debut from Vainaja. I came into Kadotetut with no expectations, and I was happily blown away by their atmosphere, their attention to detail (seriously, those promo pics and album cover are killer), and definitely by their songwriting and heaviness. Easily Best of 2014 material.