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Review: Noutaja - Never Meant to Save Us
Never Meant to Save Us

Label: Inverse Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 25:05
Tracks: 5
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: December 26, 2021
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (4 Votes)

Noutaja (roughly Grim Reaper in English) are among the many Finnish Death Metal bands that constantly pop up in the country, only they stand out a little by opting for a more progressive sound akin to later Death with a vocal approach and some melodic sensibilities that are closer to Black Metal. This kind of approach demands a high degree of technical skill and a complete lack of compromise, and Never Meant to Save Us is brimming with both of these.

The band is as tight and professional as they come, all brilliantly working off one another to create a sound that’s both familiar and distinct. This is in part due to the sharp, late-period-Death-meets-Cannibal-Corpse guitar work and the blackened snarls of frontman Masi Hukari, but it’s the surprising incorporation of ‘90s Symphonic Black Metal that really sets them apart, such as on the melodic midsection of album opener "Deicidal Tendencies" (starts around the 2:35 mark) and album closer "Coils." That might sound like a mess on paper, but thanks to some sharp, uncompromising songwriting and gorgeous and innovative solos, particularly on the excellent "Sentimental Vultures," it instead makes for an approach that recalls the glory of ‘90s Florida Death Metal while giving it an identity all its own.

Bottom line, if you like your Death Metal on the progressive and slightly experimental side, then Noutaja is your next band to watch after you get Never Meant to Save Us for yourself.

More about Noutaja...
Interview with vocalist and guitarist Masi Hukari and bassist Pekka Johansson on February 17, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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