Isengrim – Rutjan Koski Review

isengrimRutjan Koski is the latest offering from Finnish black metallers Isengrim and is their first release since 2009’s Kaaos ja käärme.

The album starts off well, beginning with a simplistic acoustic introduction with half-snarled, half-clean vocals atop before a wholly clean vocal approach is taken, and it really adds ambience and sets the scene well for things to come before the full band kicks in with a wonderfully noisy aural assault, complete with harsh vocals and a wall of sounds from guitars and drums, with a particularly good element being the way the acoustic guitar line is repeated on electric – it really helps to leave an impression on you!

However, the thing that really stands out about Isengrim’s sound is the way they utilise powerful clean vocals into their sound alongside the more ‘standard’ approach of harsh vocals. It results in a more unique and memorable sound to their music, and it’s great to hear because the black metal genre has become somewhat oversaturated with too many bands out there all doing the same thing – it’s refreshing to witness something a little more original, especially since it doesn’t detract anything from the largely aggressive approach the music takes. Indeed, a particularly good use of the vocals is in fifth track Maata ja Multaa – the two vocal styles are used simultaneously in the chorus in sync with one another, and there’s another small section just after the middle of the track where the clean vocals are performed and the harsh vocals are repeated back – it’s tremendous, to say the least!

On a more instrumental level, the music all sounds very tight and together, and everything is just well-organised – it’s clear that Isengrim have spent a good amount of time perfecting their sound and the way they utilise different styles at times shows how comfortable they are with taking a few risks – for instance, closer Sielunvihan Virvaliekki has a doomier vibe to it at times and there’s a little bit of death metal in the sheer ferocious energy behind Kyinen Vuode Matoinen Peti. Isengrim know what works for them and have utilised this to great effect.

As a whole, Rutjan Koski is a refreshing listen – this is an album you won’t want to miss.

9/10

About Natalie Humphries 1839 Articles

Soundscape’s editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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