These Finnish psychonauts have been around bamboozling the senses since 2007 and this is their fourth album. I think it is fair to say they were pretty unheard of in the UK until their third disc Valonielu dropped via Svart in 2013. For many that heard it the world has never quite been the same since. The same could be said for those that saw the band (although seeing behind plums of dry ice) when they played here at the Black Heart and Incineration Festival on a much bigger stage. Their pitch black psychedelic music really opened all the senses and hypnotically took you beyond places that you would normally have expected to find yourself in without the help of some pretty serious psychotropic substances. The good or bad news for those already having had a bad trip before is that with this 70 minute opus they have gone even further and really hit the musical outer limits. The question is who is brave enough to go into the beyond with them this time around?
All song titles are in their native Finnish tongue and a quick translate tells me the album title is ‘Vibrator’ in English. It certainly vibrates out the speakers make no mistake! A strident alarming sound builds up and a gloomy texture of instruments form around it on the opening track Saturaatio as we prepare to be literally saturated. It’s got an experimental streak running through it that harks right back to the Krautrock greats and some really heavy spacerock contusions about it that spin your head right around. There are not always vocals but on this opening track they lurk with beastly intent around the musical fog and rear out and bite the unsuspecting listener tearing out huge chunks of flesh. It is a dense sound and one that will go right over anyone’s head before the album has been ‘experienced’ a fair few times. Everything is fantastically balanced, bass throbs and when they make an appearance keyboards act ghoulishly like something from a particularly evil horror film. There’s so much to take in here and this is just the first track. Thankfully it settles into a slow tribal drumming rhythm with strange sounds oozing out and gives a slight breather from the all-out madness and allows shorter track ‘Lahja’ to give the gift of hippy sounding psyche with a calming patella of xylophone and ritualistic vocal growls. The title track similarly plays around with us a bit with mantra-tantra chanting and hypnotic progressive guitar, bass and gentle drumming. Coast along while you can as ‘Hypnotisoitu viharukous’ hits like we have suddenly been flung into a vortex and we are taken to the very darkspace of an event horizon. Simply put it’s a monstrous number or as described perfectly ‘A Hypnotised Anger Prayer.’
If you have survived thus far it’s time for the 18 minute labyrinth of ‘Vasemman käden hierarkia’ It has everything going on from groove laden bombast, to experimental black metal and even some dub-heavy trembling about it. Vocals are course and alien sounding making it like you have tumbled through a black hole and landed on some deadly planet where everything is trying to take you over and infect you. This is going to cause some bowel rupturing devastation when played live through a big PA make no mistake and I can’t wait to witness it in all its glory. There is some lightness in the dark and the melody has short blossoms of fragrance within before being caught and torn up in the next surge of nasty brutality. Strange ambience with a Hawkwind vibe about it lurks around the middle of this monster, it’s as though a worm is digging in and getting to your brain (guess I’m thinking Wrath Of Khan here). The cataclysmic finale proves it has burrowed right in! The crackle of flames at the end remind of the finale of Carpenter’s The Thing; this one has certainly got the imagination running riot.
And there’s still 2 tracks and near 20 minutes of music remaining but you should have the general impression and be eager to get this yourself if what I have written has done this any sort of justice. I think I have listened to this 10 times since it arrived, that’s 700 minutes of my life and I don’t regret a second of it. Buy, die, consume!
(9/10 Pete Woods)