So here it is, a review for an album that I received the night before release day. I am not blaming the band here, as they probably have nothing to do with the sending out of the promo material, and I know that the end of the year is a busy time, …but come on, Inverse Records!
Sielulintu (“soul bird”) is the third record of Einvigi (“duel”), a Finnish folky blackgaze band that clearly has some love for Alcest in their hearts. With six songs reaching 35 minutes, this is a clear cut and tight affair. The record starts off with a clean guitar track that could be straight off an Alcest record. The groovy drums and a bass with a very tasteful sound join in, and this is the perfect spot to comment on the sound of the record. The album was recorded and produced by Einvigi, mixing was done by one Severi Peura, and it sounds absolutely gorgeous! I really like the production. What I do not like as much are the clean vocals. On this record, the vocal duties are split – we have band founder and guitarist Petteri Granberg on the clean vocals and bassist Joonas Koppanen on the growls. And while I love the latter, I am not as big a fan of the former. Don’t get me wrong, Petteri seems to be a good singer and he actually has quite a nice voice, but he sounds kind of … cute. Not overly sad, melancholic, dramatic… but cute. And that’s not really the vocal style or sound that I would expect for blackgaze, indeed I think it clashes with the overall sound of the record a bit. There is a certain fragility to his singing which fits well, but overall I prefer the growling vocals from his band mate quite a bit.
Speaking of band mates, the quartet is completed by Henri Sund on drums and Krister Virtanen on guitar. All four of them do a great job on their respective duties, and they work really well as a unit. Besides the stellar sound and production, the composition and dynamic of these four musicians is what elevates this record. Drawing a comparison to Alcest again – if you like the French pioneers of blackgaze, there is a good chance that you will like Einvigi as well. There are certain differences in style and things that stand out here, but there are also plenty of similarities.
If it weren’t for the overly cute clean vocals that constantly had me thinking of Japanese pop music (literally the first thought that popped into my head when I heard the vocals was “kawaii”), I could really love this record. As it stands, I respect it and like it a lot for the compositions and sounds plus the damn sweet growling vocals. But hey, that’s just me – the happy pop vocals might actually work for a wider audience. I am definitely the last person to look to when it comes to judging what a majority of people like in their metal. Either way, there is plenty to love here, and the parts that turn me off are at least worth checking out to see whether they are for you. So give Sielulintu a listen – you don’t have to wait long to be able to do so, as their release is today… come on, Inverse Records!