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Review: Vainaja - Kiviristi

Label: Independent
Year released: 2020
Duration: 21:38
Tracks: 2
Genre: Doom/Death

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: May 28, 2020
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers Rating

Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (7 Votes)

Four years after their concept album, Verenvalaja, which was based on the writings of cult leader Wilhelm Waenaa some time before being burnt to death in his own church, obscure Finnish Doom/Death trio Vainaja have finally released a prequel to this story in the form of Kiviristi (or Stone Cross in English). The cross in question was actually an item believed to house magical properties by the ancient pagan cultures in Finland, who used it in certain rituals to help reveal a path to the Netherworld at the cost of ritualistic murder. If there's any subject that's appropriate for this band to sing about, it's Nordic occult history that involves healthy amounts of bloodshed and human sacrifice.

But enough history, let's talk about the music itself. Vainaja have been creating their own ominous blend of Death and Doom Metal for their entire careers, and this brief EP is certainly no different. You get that same oppressive, shamanistic atmosphere mixed with crushing heaviness that actually has a lot in common with fellow countrymen Rippikoulu and Theregothon, and it's done with the professionalism you'd expect from the band at this point. Opener "Alistuneet Sielut" is a towering 13-minute dragging nightmare of hellish soundscapes and primitive brutality, and it's as fine a song as they've ever written. The 9-minute "Polku" isn't quite as ambitious or epic, but it's still a worthy slice of morbid Doom/Death that's capable of building tension and keeping my attention for its entire runtime.

I've been a fan of Vainaja's novel brand of Doom/Death since the start, and though this is a bit scant for material, what is here has me as hooked as anything else they have done. If this is any indication of what their next full-length will be, then we'll be getting a monster of an album on our hands. For now, this EP will tide me over, and I recommend you let it do the same for you.

Other related information on the site
Review: Kadotetut (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: Kadotetut (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Kiviristi (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Verenvalaja (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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