posted on 1/2011 By:
No genre has been as ripe for manipulation and change the past few years as black metal, and not everyone is particularly pleased by that vulnerability. For those tired of living through the pillage, there’s a lovely little Finnish band by the name of Vitsaus to calm your nerves.
Although Sielunmessu is Vitsaus’ full-length debut, the band has been around for more than seven years, and one half of the group stays busy between this gig and roles in both Horna and Sargeist, so this isn’t their first foray into the realm of raw, second-wave-inspired black metal. It shows. Sielunmessu comfortably brushes shoulders with older Darkthrone and Burzum. It sounds very much like you think it does: lo-fi, dissonant, seething with anger. The riffs pulsate with an energy and a life all their own. Inho and Vainaja must be of two extremely like minds because one could easily mistake this as a one-man project, so singular is its focus.
No-frills black metal is better heard than described. Phrases like “blood-curdling screams,” “overwhelming reverb” and “possessed drumming” only go so far in providing a musical backdrop for an aesthetic so ugly and fringe most musically conscious people barely know of its existence. There’s a point where primitive black metal kind of defies criticism because it plays more on feeling and emotion rather than songwriting. It is subjective. You liking or not liking Sielunmessu will depend largely upon your interest or lack thereof in a segment of black metal that is still very much dark, violent and unrepentantly unattractive. And even if you sit firmly in that camp, there’s no guarantee that this album of moments will bowl you over.
The elements for an absolutely kick-ass ripping black metal affair are mostly here: elongated, hypnotic tremolo picking, authoritative drumming, a sense of force, point of view, etc. I found myself nodding my head through quite a bit of Vitsaus’ debut, but I also found myself nodding off through some of it, too. After listening to Sielunmessu about a dozen times, I still have a hard time distinguishing some songs from others when selecting them at random. I couldn’t say the same thing about the better albums in the genre. It certainly has its moments, but enough of it sounds uninspired enough to drag those moments down. We’ve heard better from Vitsaus’ related acts.
Register to post comments.