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Ruumisvaunut is one of those black metal bands you’d be lucky enough to hear about. The one man band started in 2006 after the sole member Gommorrah left the Chris Barnes death metal outfit Torture Killer. The band’s demo, Kuollut (Finnish for ‘dead’), is a quick burst of refreshing, honest, technical, unique black metal. Rereleased on XFactor Records in early 2007 with the track Hiiden Hauta as a bonus, the disc is easily the most underground trademark black metal release of this decade.
The first track, Mina Rutto, bursts into heavy blast beats, pummeling bass, screeching vocals, and ripping guitars that are melodic enough yet heavy enough to be called real black metal. The song keeps a strong, heavy atmosphere until halfway where it slows to a more blackened doom metal style. The vocals are very coarse and incoherent, but give the music a scary vibe that is simply orgasmic to hear. Kuollot, the album titled track, starts with a more death metal style guitar groove, but quickly goes into a smooth black metal riffage. The song is a lot more straightforward then the previous track. The big difference is the presence of Mercyful Fate meets Ihsahn style clean vocals near the end of the song, giving it a very dense, black metal Nevermore feel... almost. The track has great atmosphere is yet another great example of beautiful black metal chaos.
Saarnamies Vainaa has a more industrial sound to it, with a much more crusty feel to it’s atmospheric tone. The song is pretty much thrashy black metal for most of the musical part until the song goes into a slower, doom-esque feel musically near the end. The vocals on the track are also some of the scariest on the album. The production of Hiiden Hauta is a tad better then the previous tracks due to it be a bonus on the label’s reissue, but it also takes away some of the grim vibe to the music. The song has a much more catchy groove to it and brings back early Emperor to mind with it’s symphonic undertone.
Overall, the demo is a solid classic for excellent black metal music that never bores nor fails to impress, and is essential for anyone who loves the classic, raw black metal sound that also isn’t afraid of originality or experimentation.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR SPUTNIKMUSIC.COM
Like many "new" bands these days, I discovered Ruumisvaunut over Myspace and eventually the free downloads of the first demo "Kuollut" (Finnish for "dead"). Unlike 80% of those "Myspace bands", after the first sample on the profile, this one was actually worth taking the time to listen to.
Immediate, within the first seconds of the demo, there is a “big” explosive sound from the guitars and synths. The synths follow along the guitars in a way that no matter how thin those black metal guitars are the synths more than make up for it and add that large epic feel, they almost completely drown out the guitars but have the same feel to them that it is hard to tell if it is truly synths or layered guitar tracks (think Graveland, “Blacksmiths of Destiny”). In the last half of the opening track “Minä, Rutto” the guitars are stripped down to a static mess of distortion and noise. But as the opening track continues its slow descending towards the final bellowing note the chugging distortion makes complete sense. From the opening riff to the last second, this track is really something to be heard. The mood shift in the 6:21 that the song lasts is quite an experience. This “large” sound isn’t just the opening to the album but each song continues in the same fashion. It adds a feel of importance to the music, a touch of personality. It is definitely a sound not heard too often in black metal.
The vocals sound like a screeching serpent gasping for its final breathe before falling victim to the great dragon slayer in a pool of sweat and blood. That is honestly the only way to describe it. It sounds raw, hurtful and inhuman. While listening to it I fear opening my own mouth and speaking in worry that the pain I imagine while listening to his voice will strike my own throat. It is that awful. At the end of the second track “Kuollut” there is a short clean vocal piece worth mentioning because… well, it’s a big difference compared to the screech of the rest of the demo.
Two thirds of the demo follows the same structural pattern. Each track opens with that huge sound of synths, guitars and blast beats. While “Kuollut” continues to push the onslaught forward through the entire track and keep the same pace, “Minä, Rutto” and “Saarnamies Vainaa” drop tempo and slow down the last two minutes of their respected tracks. I feel this really pulls the beginning sound out and really draws the emphasis on the epicness these two tracks begin with.
While this demo is very enjoyable and could be a great sign of things to come from Ruumisvaunut, at the same time there is nothing that re-defines the genre of black metal. But it is well recorded and with such a large atmosphere that it doesn’t need to be anything different than what it is. The same true simple formula of black metal, the flow of the songs are excellent, there are no awkward moments or even dull moments for that matter. For a demo, the production is excellent. Every instrument is clear and there is no extra noise at all. Like I said a moment before, if a full-length is in the works
The bonus track “Hiiden Hauta” is more mid-past then the rest of the demo, the guitars are more prominent, the “large” synth sound is missing and just after halfway there is a short guitar noodling part. Since it was an added bonus to the XFactor Records release, it is really obvious that this track wasn’t recorded during the same sessions as the first three tracks. It is a progression of the last tracks, everything is “better” in the production department but in the actual sound, I prefer the first three tracks. A positive note is that the vocals sound even more raw, hateful and destructive.