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Sotajumala's second full-length, "Teloitus", was a very impressive work for me. Having listened to their debut and the split with Torture Killer, I didn't find on them anything praiseworthy and not even worthy of mention, just standard old school death metal (maybe 'Meidän Maa' or 'Rakkaudesta Sotaan' were interesting enough for me). 'Teloitus' is something completely different. While on their previous releases they sounded quite crazy and fast, here Sotajumala have reached such a level of musical maturity and aggressiveness that now I do find them that outstanding, despite the fact I consider the general sound on this album pretty similar to their debut, but maybe with a clearer production, though. It's not a crystal clear production, but it's clearer than what they got on their debut. Anyway, I find here some similarities with Morbid Angel or old Malevolent Creation, but mostly with European bands like Vader, Bloodbath, Thorium, their country mates Adramelech or the aforementioned Torture Killer.
The guitar work here is quite varied and the result is crushing and brutal. There is plenty of catchy and original riffs that are aggressive, but not twisted or too technical, with an extensive use of pinch harmonics on riffs. There are some simpler power chords as well and nice soloing in almost every song, but as usual in the genre, the bass guitar is nearly unnoticeable, yet it gives the band a pretty thick and powerful sound. Maybe it could have been recorded a bit louder or have been given some more presence since it would be nice to hear the bass in a death metal release at last.
The drums seem a very important part in "Teloitus" results. The aggressiveness this album has comes mainly from the drum performance and keeping the fast pace they had in previous releases. Here we can find a wide and varied range of structures, drum patterns, and fills with very interesting bass/drum work, especially in the title track where drummer Timo Häkkinen plays some nice double bass tempo changes while keeping a different tempo with the snare and cymbals. Just astonishing.
Vocalist Mynni Luukkainen (a.k.a. Infection) is a good example of how a death metal vocalist should sound. His growls are strong and deep, yet quite understandable even though the lyrics are written in Finnish. There's no trace of pig squeals, low-pitched barking, or distorted, indecipherable guttural gurgling, just powerful and nearly screamed deep growls. There is also a higher backing growling voice scattered here and there as is also usual in death metal. Lyrics talk about the topics of the style - war, death, torture and so on, but I can't say whether they are original or not as long as I don't speak Finnish at all.
The cover artwork is pretty simple, even simplistic. It shows a human standing silhouette in red, the band's name and album title over an all white background. It's just not appealing, so if you don't know the band, this album can be unnoticed if found in a record store or on the web without references to it.
All in all, it's a very interesting full-length for me (I have listened to it some hundreds of times now) from a very fine band coming out of a country whose bands I usually don't like much, so I can't help recommending this piece of classical, yet aggressive death metal to all deathsters out there.
Nobody ever discusses or argues about Finland’s field of beautiful death metal bands. What a shame. The scene has grown away from a scene, into a class, and now, an underground sensation reaching past national lines; not quite usual, but it circumnavigates on a credible scale. “Teloitus” was popped out of the wretched womb of Sotajumala, definitely one of Finland’s current frontrunners, but there’s good reasoning for their power label storming past Heaven’s gates. Not only do they stay perfectly intact with death metal bonds, but Sotajumala has fun doing it…well, if infanticide is considered fun, then yea. A classic? No, but certainly memorable, if not motivating.
These guys have one ideology attached to their agenda: kill everything. Indeed, that certainly is achieved. The band’s riffing style mainly tracks into Morbid Angel -like complexity while obtaining a keen edge of quickness and stability not often discovered within these perimeters; however, everything looks dangerously technical compared to their obvious idols. In case you haven’t seen “Teloitus” in a bigger picture, think classic bands like Death or Obituary: old-school, son! Yep, that’s how it works. Plus, blastbeats are quite rare, bass is audible, and they solo like a cricket with Restless Leg Syndrome. Also, low, deep growls that avoid those guttural oinks are the only vocal pattern finding safety…ah yes, death metal reigns supreme. Sotajumala certainly knows how these tools operate. Either back off, or get crushed. Your call.
Still, there is no room for nonsensical grind influence, and that’s a huge charity. “Teloitus,” as a whole, associates itself towards beating atmospheres while Sotajumala’s relentless speed entwines the group towards healthier death metal, unlike those feasting upon blasting or unnecessary idiocy. So in fact, an ambience layers upon these swell barrages, definitely soaked in proper usage of death metal ideology many have indeed forgotten. Again, things continue down this stretch of expected foundations accommodating the velocity Sotajumala presents, which can’t hurt any stint of decency. However, they aren’t breathtakingly original, but that’s the point. Sotajumala isn’t bent on inheriting similar fame like Morbid Angel or Bolt Thrower, yet the job gets done, and very well I might add.
So, this is Sotajumala: a death metal band rampaging violently, but without an attempt to break ground or look special. Finland seems to have acquired a nice age of resurrecting death metal covered in utter furiousness, and still Sotajumala progresses even further as this enjoyable record disembowels others sneaking towards deathcore or generic feces. Although the band doesn’t stick out with shining originality, they’ve got some balls on those guns of theirs, slamming against every survivor that somehow crawled away from the madness glorified on “Teloitus” so elegantly. You see, playing it safe DOES have its occasional benefits, like “Teloitus” proves.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com