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As outlined in the first edition of this review (Magazine No.13), Lupaus – ‘The Promise’ in English – is the debut release of the Finnish band Valonkantajat. Uusimaa is their origin and their name translates to Light-bearers or Lucifers. Well, the first translation is a bit pretentious and might be understood in the wrong way; at least when you are trying … and not even hard at that.
These Finns explore in their music melancholy, sadness and similar topics and it is their native tongue that had been chosen to express this. Finnish adds a nice exotic touch to the listening experience and even though you might not understand what the band sings about, the atmosphere in the tracks receives a nice touch through this; Sentenced in contrast used the lingua franca right form the start and their Routasydän single is nothing but an exception.
Four tracks appear on this first release and these combine various eras of the aforementioned well renowned band. A bit of the heaviness from ‘Down’ and later, while the general approach, not to mention the atmosphere, appear more like in the ‘Crimson’ and later fashion. Catchiness is one core aspect of the music, but also the ways the music is being taken back at times; Raskas Päivä Päättyy has some quite calm moments, while Lupaus has a longer instrumental (sort of) middle part. THE main difference is the voice. Here a clean one dominates the music and it is rather influences from the rock scene than from the metal one; death metal sounds like light-years away. As such, the aggressiveness appears on a smaller scale and everything gives rather an impression of being swift and easy. Those rather depressing topics have only a small impact on how the listener experiences the compositions. No bemoaning of a loss, of the situation of society and what not; rather heavy and melodic metal had been chosen as a way to express these feelings.
If you like Sentenced, then you should give this release definitely a try. With a mixture between the their heaviness of the early days and the swiftness of their later ones, combined with some solo parts and the powerful voice of Jarkko Nikkilä this young band is able to compensate the apparent lack of identity. It was a sad thing to see Sentenced split-up and with the passing of Miika Tenkula a reunion seems impossible. The future will tell whether Valonkantajat will be able to add a new nuance to the oeuvre of their archetype, but a first promising step has already been taken.
Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 14)’: