Band – Lähdön Aika
Album – Valonaara
Country of Origin – Finland
Genre – Post-Metal/Sludge/Doom
Release Date – December 10, 2021
Label – Trepanation Recordings/Black Voodoo Records/Bullwhip Records
Author – Hayduke X
Hylkäys starts with a mid paced ominous groove. The band lets the song breathe, allowing a full minute and a half before we hear the roar of new vocalist Eeli Helin bellowing in rage. According to the not-at-all-nuanced Google Translate, the track title can be rendered as ‘rejection’ in English. Rather than feeling rejected, the powerful tones from all instruments grab the listener in invitation to join in the anger of the rejection. This opening track hits hard, setting the tone for a consistently powerful listen. Press play, then jump below for my full review.
Sometimes slow music is just slow (and thus pretty boring). Sometimes slow music is akin to being patiently drawn across white hot coals, scorching, burning, melting flesh with each ponderous riff and each purposely timed drum beat. And sometimes, as is the case for Hylkäys, slow music combines the burn with a careful investigation into every part of your psyche, shining the fire-glow into each dark, forgotten niche. While I have no idea about the lyrical themes of the album (as the lyrics are in what is most likely Finnish), the music itself feels so personal, like the band is pouring out their collective soul and is inviting you to join them in this purge. In listening to Lähdön Aika’s moments of reality, I find myself shining their dark on my own realities, and becoming one with the music through this experience.
Formed in 2003, the Finnish quintet has been here almost two decades, and to my detriment, this is the first time I’ve heard of them. I have some digging to do, through three full lengths in addition to numerous splits and EPs. If the rest of the discography hits like this, it will be a worthy journey. In that time, the band has undergone some lineup changes, but currently consists of Helin (vocals), Aki Heikinheimo (guitar/vocals), Akseli Kahra (guitar), Anna Uski (bass), and Sampo Kuisma (drums). I could rave about each individual performance, from tone to rhythm to riffs, even the rugged production, but this is an album where that misses the point. Each is spot-on, but ultimately each is in service to the whole final product, a mesmerizing and punishing album, full of emotional weight.
Valonaara is an album to ingest, to invest some time through multiple listens, to let it seep into your pores. The album has post-metal structures, and can accurately be described as doom (as in ‘impending doom’ headed your way), but to me feels like a particularly visceral sludge record. The intensity, the grit, the honesty all push it in that direction, which is meant as a high compliment – I far prefer sludge to the other two genres, in general. Lähdön Aika may be tapping into the immense power of the earth itself, or maybe the consciousness of communal humanity. I don’t know where they get their intensity. I just know it is endlessly there.
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. He is also a contributor to The Metal Wanderlust. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.