All I got by way of description to go with this one was “atmospheric black metal, Finland”. Let the listeners decide for themselves. This is much better than all the flowery words that are often used to describe pieces of music. It’s also Kalmenkantaja’s tenth full album release, so it can be taken as read that they know what they’re doing without the need of extra words to impress anyone.

The fact that the first track “Pimeyteen” translates as “darkness” gives the game away. After a swampy beginning, a decidedly black metal riff starts up. Growled vocals reinforce the mood, but the mobility thaws the frost somewhat and there’s an uplifting feel about “Pimeyteen”. To stop me from running away with the idea that anything jolly was going to invade my mind, “Iklijää” is downright dark and gloomy. An insistent heavy gloom dominates the forceful progress. It’s back to fast forward progress with “Kylmä Ikuinen” (Cold Eternal). One thing that is noticeable is once Kalmankantaja hit on a riff, they don’t deviate much from it, but penetrate our brain with a constant drum and guitar rhythm. It’s very black metal in approach, here supported by a pagan-style chorus in the background.

From fast and evil to slow and threatening: “Veren Vanki” (Blood Vampire) starts deliberately and expands its menace. Atmospherically, this is the most powerful so far as the track creeps and crawls its heavy and gloomy way through seemingly impenetrable depths. The drum beat in particular signals morbid death. “Varjon Ja Tulen Jumala” (Shadow and Fire God) is pretty much exactly what its title suggests – dark and creepy, but laced with venom and fire. It threatens to be epic but Kalmankantaja have it well under control and stick to the black formula they have conjured up. And whilst “Sokean Polku” (Blind Path) could not be described as formulaic, as it represents an overwhelmingly crusty and melancholic path, it has a constancy of pattern, which always points to a very dark and dingy place.

“Routamaa” is a collection of straightforward atmospheric black metal pieces from an experienced band. I can’t say there was anything exceptional or wondrous about it but it’s musically accomplished and an atmospherically worthy representative of the black metal genre.

(6.5/10 Andrew Doherty)