VÄKI – Kuolleen Maan Omaksi ( Succumbed to the Dead Soil )

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label:  http://www.saturnalrecords.com/web/    http://www.redefiningdarkness.com
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://vaki-fi.bandcamp.com/album/kuolleen-maan-omaksi-succumbed-to-the-dead-soil
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/VakiOfficial/

Band line-up:

L. Annala -Vocals
J. Hautaniemi- Guitars
P. Paavola – Drums
J. Seppänen – Guitars
J. Sillanpää – Bass

Tracklisting:

1. Vaisto – The Instinct
2. Kuihtuvan maan puoliso – The Consort of the Barren Earth
3. Ennustus – The Divination|
4. Ikiuni – Eternal Sleep
5. Painajaisten syleilyssä – Embraced by Nightmares
6. Ikuisen kuoleman alttarille – To the Altar of Everlasting Death

Review:

Vaki are a black metal band on both Saturnal Records (Europe) and Redefining Darkness Records (North America). They will be releasing their debut full length album ‘Kuolleen Maan Omaksi (Succumbed to the Dead Soil) on 17th July 2020. It follows their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘Kirous’ that was released in 2017. The band describe themselves as ‘a musical act embodying the profound manifestations of death, impurity and chaos, dedicated to capture the darkest aspects of reality.’

You really do get a wide range of dynamics and tempos, here. You think you know what’s going to happen next, then BAM! Absolute insanity. The riffs and chord progressions whilst not particularly original are equally well done. They’re not as sophisticated as the ones in the more harmonically daring album ‘Death Cult Armageddon’ by Dimmu Borgir for example, but they are more adventurous than a lot of the stuff in bands such as Mayhem. You could call Vaki a middle ground band. They don’t bore with pointless chord changes that whilst clever go by too fast to be appreciated and they’re not a ‘written in five minutes’ group, either. Far from it. (That would technically be impossible because the album is filled with epic tracks and is reasonably long, but you know what I mean).

Vaki also like to experiment with unusual song structures that may not make complete sense on the first listen. However, give the album a chance and you will learn to love ‘learning’ the music and eventually anticipating the twists and turns as you would enjoy a gripping, complex movie. The guitar soloing whilst flashy-ish isn’t masterful-level but it does add to the emotional coldness. It’s kind of similar in delivery to Euronymous from Mayhem. Had it been performed more virtuoso style with a ‘nicer’ vibrato it wouldn’t have been the same. 

In conclusion, Vaki haven’t reinvented the wheel, but they have made a wheel of black metal gold. The wheel is fascinating, detailed and well made. So to speak. If you don’t enjoy this album, you’re most likely not a BM fan as these guys are what the genre is all about. You get more than enough darkness, ingenuity and perhaps most importantly, passion. Especially from the singer who puts more effort into his raging performance than most. This album is strongly recommended!

Review by Simon Wiedemann

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