|Review: Rippikoulu - Ulvaja|
Label: Svart Records
Year released: 2014
Review online: September 15, 2014
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Rated 3.29/5 (65.71%) (7 Votes)
Finnish Death/Doom hybrids Rippikoulu gained a reputation as one of the heaviest and murkiest sounding underground Metal acts some 20 years ago with a couple of well-received demos. The band's 1993 demo, Musta Seremonia, became a cult release in the underground scene among extreme Metal fans. Rippikoulu was put to rest when one of the original band members, guitarist Marko Henriksson, died in 1995. It was too big a blow for the remaining members of Rippikoulu to handle, so the band died with him. Well, the current phenomenon nowadays is for once popular Metal bands that were creating worthy stuff during the 80's and 90's but split up, to make grand comebacks (more or less).
Rippikoulu crawled out of the dusty catacombs in 2014 and, without any warning, recorded three brand-new songs for an EP carrying the name Ulvaja. If you are hoping to get Musta Seremonia - Part 2., then you are going to be disappointed. Then again, if you consider yourself a die-hard fan, despite a different musical approach compared to their early glories, then I can see you welcoming this new 3-track opus. Rippikoulu's ultra-slow stuff is, if anything, reminiscent of My Dying Bride's first steps toward worldwide popularity. Naturally there's Rippikoulu's own imprint on these new songs as well, but it's still hard to compare with their early, more "legendary" demo stuff. Rippikoulu have clearly adopted more of a trendy Funeral Doom approach which isn't necessarily that great a thing when thinking of their past accomplishments. There is at least some attempt made to re-capture their past glories, which may be a sign of something more worthy coming down the pike.
Time will undoubtedly tell if they ever get much appreciation among extreme Metal fans with their more Funeral Doom/Death Metal sound. Bands tend to change over the years and that is certainly true of Rippikoulu. You, the listener, will be the judge if it's for better or worse...
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