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“Tuomittu elämään” is the debut release of the Finnish band Valonkantajat. Lupaus, their 2011 ep, came over a bit too much Sentenced-influenced, which is somehow natural if you consider the style of the music and the prominence of this band. This impression has changed a bit and this is in spite of the fact that a good amount of the tracks have remained the same. Well, this is not entirely correct, because the band has remastered (or even re-recorded) their music for this output. Is it possible to recognize the differences, or are these rather marginal and therefore maybe even negligible? Well, these new interpretations come with their own special touch and style, while retaining enough of their previous concept in order to maintain the atmosphere as well as the dynamics.
With this new instalment the band has moved a bit into the direction of melodic metal, which has less of the marginally extreme facets with which Valonkantajat originally started with. The focus on melodic elements, catchy riffs and clean vocals is also still apparent, but it comes with considerably heavy guitars, which have a good amount of power thanks to a proper production. To bring up the reference to the other Finnish band Sentenced again, this new project follows more in line of the later outputs and never dares to come even close to the heaviness of the early releases. It meanders around the edges of the metal scene, has the characteristic elements, but has an easiness, which can be pointed to as an argument for this band and their style of playing. Also the focus on rather faster dynamics plays into this and the band rarely breaks below a certain pace in the compositions.
It all feels a bit rockish at times, but for some reasons the band likes to return to the metal realm again and again. A contrast between these two genres would be the emphasis that is being put in the instruments and how much room it is granted to them. Such is not always the case in the terms of the former one, especially when adding rather commercial music into the consideration. Solos play a vital role, the song-writing is as such as to present some nice and catchy melodies, while from a broader perspective the release does not give the impression of being tiring or boring. It holds together in a sound way and without presenting unnecessary parts or compositions; like a mandatory ballad for instance.
Those who happen to have a certain fancy for the late (and later) Sentenced might want to give this release a try. It is not as harsh or aggressive or intense but delivers something that is not too far away conceptually and atmospherically. It should be noted that Valonkantajat use their native tongue for the lyrics. This adds a nice touch to it all. Pretty enjoyable stuff...
Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 22)’: