To say that Helvetin laulut, the debut album from Harri Kauppinen, is an incredible listen doesn’t exactly do this piece justice – this is a seriously impressive and immersive piece that will suck you in right from the get-go.
Helvetin laulut isn’t the most complicated or technical of albums, but it doesn’t need to be – Kauppinen encompasses so much emotion and colour into his doom-tinged gloomy metal approach and he does this so well. The gentle-yet-passionate clean vocals and emotive melodies work perfectly in creating atmosphere and it’ll send shivers down your spine on every listen – the darkness to the music is perfect and proves you don’t need bellowing harsh vocals to make a point when it comes to the doomier side of the musical spectrum. The way the parts and riffs blend and layer to intensify the complimentary lyrics is masterful, and the juxtaposition between beauty and sadness is done to a very high standard.
Each song is powerfully delivered in its own right, with each track resonating and standing out in its own way, whilst simultaneously flowing fantastically from one track to the next with each song blending together perfectly, but one of the strongest songs has to be the closing track Niin oli hyvä. Perhaps the most emotive track of the album (which is a feat in itself), it’s a tear-jerking number that really ends the album on a high. The instrumental dynamics are dense, with the more melodic elements of the track adding a lot of atmosphere to the song whilst the vocal delivery coupled with the heavier wall of sound underneath will really leave an impression on you. It’s a beautifully constructed song and the perfect way to finish off and complete such a stunning piece of art due to how much of an earworm it is!
All in all, Harri Kauppinen has created something special with Helvetin laulut. Don’t let this album pass you by because you’ll regret it – Helvetin laulut is an absolute gem, and an immersive piece that will remain in the forefront of your mind for a long time after you’ve finished listening to it.
Editor’s note: Credit for this review must also go to David Oberlin, who contributed a few comments to this review whilst we discussed the album over twitter messages!