Somewhere, in darkest Finland, three men have been busy stirring the doom metal cauldron. Stirring it with reckless disregard for what their experiment will do to any who lend their ears to it. Total. Fucking. Evil. That’s what’s been brewed up in that thick, crusty metal container. Vainaja are conjurers of the wickedest type; their penchant for the diabolical and the devilish coming to boiling point on this release. Verenvalaja is domineering and gratifying in the same breath. It surpasses any expectation attached to a doom release. How? By taking the rule book, translating it into a long dead tongue and reciting it backwards. With black metal blasts and John Carpenter synths.
Forty plus minutes of doom has never been this engaging. There are no sections of this record where a listener will sit scratching their head or picking their nails, mainly because they won’t have a chance to remove their hands from their anus. The sheer level of evil emanating out of this beast is certain to rupture intestines. There’s blackened doom riffing that pops up in “Sielu” and “Valaja”. Then there’s the ever present death siren that coos demonically in the background of “Kehto”. At this point it would be criminal not to mention the terrifying moments that break up the eleven minute monstrosity that is “Usva”; the crackle of fire, birds circling carrion and a build up of brass that Fleshgod Apocalypse or Dimmu Borgir wish they could pull off. The send off after a huge build up in “Kultti” is so satisfying it made this grim bastard weak at the knees and wet in the underwear – all of this in a record that is at it’s most simple level a whole hearted, dark tribute to the riffs of Black Sabbath.
The riffs are fucking grim. People with more in depth musical knowledge will take great joy from the harmonies and modes used to further the evil nature of this act. Forget the extended range guitars and million miles a second riffs. This is what many of us were brought up on and what our parents would have rocked out to/cried outrage at back in the day. Transitioning between sludge paced doom and mid tempo black metal is a piece of piss for Vainaja and they know it. It’s simple. It’s sexy. It’s beastly. Using the tools of modern production, every item on the agenda propels Verenvalaja into the upper atmosphere of extreme story telling. The carefully placed swells of brass and strings compliment the subterranean vocals like peanut butter to chocolate. This meld of organic and electrical elements works on a level that most will fathom. Similar acts are scarce. No one is doing metal like this triumvirate.
With just six tracks, Vainaja make a mockery of all before them. The sonic barrage of voice, instruments and otherwordly sounds creates an all new level of hell. One reserved for the most decadent of us. Verenvalaja should now be regarded as the new barometer for blood curdling atmosphere and those who oppose this should find themselves trampled under cloven hoof. While not Satanic in any real shape or form, the deranged nature of this occult masterpiece proves that fans of extreme music should not have a fear of the dark. Nay, they should embrace it. Hiding away in that dark part of Finland are a band ready to siphon the life and joy from all of us. A band that are one hundred percent not afraid of the dark.
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