Thursday, March 14, 2013

Suvilehto - Syövereistä (EP) (2013)

Making a metal album with the help of specialized musicians is hard enough. Doing it by yourself, with your hands on every instrument, in every track, and every second is sometimes unthinkable. But much like the works of Appalachian Winter, Sam Locke, and Nimbatus, there is wisdom in the logic of the one man band. Finnish instrumental wizard Ukri ''Uge'' Suvilehto has worked tirelessly to join the new wave of solo powers. And with his debut EP, one that will have to tide us over until his first full length later this year, he reminds us that while the challenges of doing it yourself are many, the rewards are equal or greater. On "Syövereistä," he lets you take a short peek into his mind, and leaves you thinking that this might be the start of something big.

There is always something to be said for an understated, ominous opening, like the one you'll find on "Tajunnan tyhjyydessä." Even the most slight symphonic touch can build a mood, one that can evoke the full range of emotion. But it is in the first seconds that the hair on your arms will stand, only to be ripped off one by one in the tidal wave of double kicks and screams that follows. His vocal delivery, particularly in the more guttural sense, is impeccable. Backed by a bass heavy mix of guitar riffs and pounding drums, there is a sense of imminent evil. But it is the way he transitions from these massive exercises in chugging and brutality into the sweeping melodic passages that makes this track more impressive. With that said, the slightly off the wall instrumentation of "On vain syövereissä hukkunut todellisuus" would no longer be a surprise. The combination of sounds and instruments in the intro alone would make many a metal fan scratch their head in confusion. The fact that it works, and works well I might add, is even more puzzling. Not one to rely on gimmicks and chicanery, he gives you movement after movement of pummeling death metal efficiency without telegraphing his next move.

Read that last sentence again. Even when you think you have witnessed the complete spectrum of talent at play, "Haudattua eloa etsien" changes it once again. Beginning with a swirling acoustic passage, you are transported into a different realm of sound. Clean, crisp and airy, the guitar work is unlike anything the album had displayed to this point. And while it doesn't last long enough to disturb the flow of the music, it does set the table perfectly for a nearly flawless folk metal-esque gallop. Keyboards and string arrangements are all the more important here, adding a tremendous depth to the mix, along with the most refreshing bit of whimsy. Lest we forget, this is a melodic death inspired album, and it reminds us of this time and time again, with some distorted chugging in what could be called a breakdown. But this isn't mindless brutality, but focused aggression.

We've all heard an egotistical singer or guitarist levy the great one liner, "I AM the band." But for Suvilehto, he can make that proclamation with pride. The work he has poured into this EP has not fallen on deaf ears. Each separate piece is worthy of praise; from the precision of the drums, to the songwriting, he has done it all to the highest standard. For a showcase EP like this one, it is important to leave the listener with something to hold on to. You've been given a taste of not only his talent, but where he can go from here. And if these three tracks are any indication is to where this journey will lead us in the future, it's safe to say there will be quite the crowd anticipating the conclusion. The successes on "Syövereistä" can speak for themselves, as they give rise, once again, to the power of one.


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