Rippikoulu
Ulvaja


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (63 Reviews)
June 24th, 2014 | 49 replies


Release Date: 06/13/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rippikoulu abandon much of their death metal roots and embrace the doom.

With the popularisation of neo-OSDM during the latter half of the 2000s, perhaps it’s no surprise to see the very bands that inspired said movement once again picking up their axes in an attempt to recreate their now-revered efforts of yesteryear. The only problem, evidenced by recent flops from veteran acts such as Convulse, Purtenance and most recently Massacre, is that these nostalgia-trip records are almost never as good as their spiritual predecessors. This is why it’s refreshing to see an old-school metal act not just reemerging, but also reevaluating their musical priorities in the process. Rippikoulu’s Ulvaja, to my delight, isn’t a Musta Seremonia clone – perhaps the band were conscious of the fact that trying to rip themselves off would simply have resulted in colossal failure. Instead, Rippikoulu have almost entirely stripped back the death metal elements, save for the vocals, and produced an EP that could pass for straight doom, Finnish style.

As opposed to the bare bones production of Musta Seremonia, Ulvaja sounds lavish by comparison. A thick wall of sound is accentuated by omnipresent but tasteful synth lines, while vocalist Anssi Kartela joins forces with an unlisted female vocalist. The closer features an oddly harmonious duet between the two, as Anssi’s incredibly guttural mutterings are backed by deceptively soothing vocal melodies. The two longer tracks also make use of delicate piano work and even a handful of horns, strings and other pleasantries at various points throughout. Subtle layers and nuances continuously appear, disappear, overlap and coalesce to create a soundscape that toys with emotions and plays on your intuition. The opening title track – for most of its runtime – gives the impression of loss and sorrow, before the final passage evokes closure and relief. This contrasts rather dramatically with the closing track “Jää Hyvästi Kaunis Kesä”, as the mood of the EP gradually shifts from ominous to buoyant. Despite the EP’s inherently sinister aesthetic, the closer manages to instil feelings of optimism by virtue of its uplifting nature, relatively speaking.

Given the somewhat tight runtime, Ulvaja is remarkably evocative, well executed and the ideas are fleshed out without any haste whatsoever. The only real blip comes in the form of the middle track “Loputon”, a speedier number that serves the purpose of separating the two doomy epics so as they could be as effective as possible. While “Loputon” is not a bad track, it simply pales in comparison to the songs that bookend it. Perhaps this was intentional on Rippikoulu’s part, because the EP’s menacing atmosphere is preserved well, however there is still little reason to revisit the track out of the context of the EP itself. Nevertheless, the whole experience feels like a very deliberate expansion of the band’s doomier side, complete with all the desirable modernisms while shirking the more objectionable elements that sometimes come with revival records like these. This is why Ulvaja works as well as it does, because it showcases an older band reuniting and actually attempting to diversify from their original output.

Ulvaja is a fresh take on an esteemed band’s sound that will likely stand with its ancestor as opposed to fading into obscurity. Those who expected Rippikoulu to release another Musta Seremonia have likely had their prefrontal cortexes obliterated by it and are unaware such a work cannot be replicated. The band were mindful of this, knowing that to even try would be setting themselves up for disappointment. Ulvaja unmistakably pays tribute to its origins, but at the same time is an entity of its own, and an excellent piece of work in its own right.



Recent reviews by this author
Blaspherian Upon the Throne...of Eternal Blasphemous DeathBaring Teeth Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins
Pink Floyd The Endless RiverPure Fetor
Kashiwa Daisuke 9 SongsSwallowed Lunarterial
user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
tommygun
June 24th 2014


25425 Comments


pos reading now

ShadowRemains
June 24th 2014


21646 Comments


still need to listen to this

tommygun
June 24th 2014


25425 Comments


'handful of horns'

lel

good review pal

BigPleb
June 24th 2014


38040 Comments


contributing reviewer

better than most staff at rev'ing, hmmmm something isn't right!

sweet rev as usual buddy, def gonna give this a spin today!

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

Keyblade
June 24th 2014


15442 Comments


Sweet

Digging: Sofia Gubaidulina - Chamber Music With Double Bass

ExcentrifugalForz
June 24th 2014


1859 Comments


pos'd

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2014


15224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks people

'handful of horns'

lel


god dammit

Digging: Blaspherian - Upon The Throne of Eternal Blasphemous Death

tommygun
June 24th 2014


25425 Comments


jac that says way more about my maturity level than it does about your writing :D

tommygun
June 24th 2014


25425 Comments


like

it's a good line

i just got dicks on the brain

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2014


15224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's what makes you you!

Phlegm
June 24th 2014


5605 Comments


good read Jack. taking my extensive death metal catalog and love of riffs into consideration do you
think this would be my ish? lemme know cause i'm kinda in the mood ^_^ *giggles*

Digging: Raresh - Fabric 78

Wizard
June 24th 2014


19644 Comments


Had no idea these guys were still around.

You should be staff by now.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2014


15224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's not lo-fi murk but you might like it give it a shot

Also thank you Wiz :DDD

Wizard
June 24th 2014


19644 Comments


If people complain about the production, gonna get pretty mad at them >: l

Production should only be a marginal complaint but the music itself should be your first judgement.

tommygun
June 24th 2014


25425 Comments


agreed jac should replace greg on staff

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2014


15224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

brb changing the rating to 4.5

avonbarksdale221
June 24th 2014


8265 Comments


nice rev as per usual imaginary pos jac for staff etc etc

Wizard
June 24th 2014


19644 Comments


agreed jac should replace greg on staff

hahahaha I enjoy Greg's hyperbole. He's a great writer.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2014


15224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't read much of greg's stuff so I don't know why he draws out so much ire within sputnik's very level headed userbase

CaptainDooRight
June 24th 2014


30338 Comments


faith



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy