Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crucial Blast on Kriminaaliset Metsänhaltijat (Again)

With thanks to Adam for the thoughtful write-up!

Recorded in 2001 but only now being released, this full length from the Finnish industrial group Kriminaaliset Metsänhaltijat comes to us via BloodLust! who also put out the band's Anarkkia, Kaaos, Maailmanloppu! EP that I listed in the shop a few months ago (and which introduced me to the band's clanking industrial fury). It's more of the grinding, raw industrial sounds that this group is known for, a series of anti-war nightmares delivered through a battery of distorted synths, turntable noise, clanking drum machines and furious, distorted vocals. The most obvious reference points for Kriminaaliset's sound are SPK, NON, and Throbbing Gristle, but their approach is much heavier and more violent, injecting the influence of hardcore punk and the more extreme edges of Japanese noise into these nihilistic noise dirges. Super heavy blown out percussion and cymbals grind beneath wheezing organ drones, these drones almost sounding as if they're coming from an enormous pipe organ, buzzing beneath the cavernous percussive racket, snarled flurries of freeform drumming, samples from Finnish war films, distorted buzzing synth bleeps, and primitive electronic rhythms. The drumming is a big factor in what makes this band sound so heavy - the drums are shot through a dense wall of reverb and echo to the point where it becomes a solid mass of pummeling sound, like old school industrial possessed with a free-jazz energy lurking beneath the thick layers of hiss and rumble, the droning electronic/organ sounds building in strength across the album, becoming more and more ominous. The vocals are pretty intense as well, based in the classic distorted power electronics style but even more hellishly distorted, sometimes delivered as snarling blackened shrieks, much of the time not even recognizable as vocals, and instead becoming a murky wash of infernal hiss. Then there's two tracks that aren't industrial at all, and instead are old recordings of Finnish folks songs ("Aanisen Aallot I" and "Elama Juoksuhaudoissa I") from the WWII era, all wistful accordions and violins. These Finns are creating some of the darkest contempo industrial right now, and this disc is just as pummeling and ferocious as the previous EP. Recommended.

Track Samples:

Sample : Elama Juoksuhaudoissa II
Sample : Perkele