Kauan
Ice Fleet


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
April 9th, 2021 | 140 replies


Release Date: 04/09/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kauan doing their thing with excellent results again

Kauan have delved deep to create this latest sonic journey, being inspired by a ‘90s letter posted in a Russian magazine requesting more information regarding a certain past geological expedition. In the 1930s, in an attempt to create new commercial routes around the Arctic Ocean, the village of Tiksi was born in Northern Russia. While blasting the permafrost there to create the docks, a ship carcass was found. The discovery was odd, especially since there were no towns anywhere near. Government officials were deployed to gather information and the captain’s log was confiscated first. Any of the people there who dared asking about it would be sent to other construction sites or worse, to gulag. Decades later, the grandson of a worker there, who also penned the above mentioned letter was looking for answers. The story’s narrative arc almost begs for a soundtrack from the quintet.

Of course, you don’t need to research the plot behind the songs on Ice Fleet in order to enjoy it, but these details sure add to the surrounding excitement. Musically, we receive a thrilling summary of the band’s explorations over the years, with a stronger emphasis on Sorni Nai and Kaiho. The trademark mix of mournful leads swaying over atmospheric synthesizers and melancholic piano touches once more creates the foundation of this 7-part epic. Slowly unfolding, ‘Enne’ feels akin to a gentle prelude to this cursed affair, leading into the soaring ‘Taistelu’. The powerful keyboard layers lead all instruments, until they give way to a sorrowful piano coda. Two songs in and you are barely scratching the surface of the record. The doom metal and hellish growls do make a return here, albeit in small doses. Following a lovely build-up, Anton delivers his uncanny vocals on ‘Maanpako’ wrapped in hazy reverb, alongside urgent guitar riff washes and celestial piano leads. I wish they included a larger amount of moments such as these, but the guys opted mostly for breezy, melodic segments instead.

As we move forward, centerpiece ‘Raivo’ is the most intense cut here, boasting rich guitars and wandering synths. The returning sonic motifs contribute to the cohesiveness of this massive epic, whereas the sharp change halfway through can easily be considered the climax of the story. I just love how huge the final minutes of the song ended up. The calm parts seamlessly intertwine with raging ones, reflecting the narrative ups and downs. Meanwhile, ‘Ote’ & ‘Hauta’ gradually signal the comedown, sharing a round of lovely clean vocals, as well as a couple of grandiose, pounding build-ups. Maintaining a rueful tone, this is the end, everyone on Ice Fleet died. There is nothing beautiful about the way things went down and Kauan’s portrayal of the journey’s key moments is gorgeous. They keep it abstract enough so you are free to imagine the itinerary and aftermath. In similar fashion to previous records, it takes a number of listens to truly grasp it, but it’s definitely worth the patience. Unfortunately, nobody revealed any answers regarding the crew on the ship or its destination. However, it is speculated that members of the Russian Imperial Army and various aristocrats were fleeing their homes in the 1920s. Leaving Murmansk, they were probably bound for America via Vladivostok.




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user ratings (140)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2021


5426 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another excellent record from Kauan. I really dug the story, this is why I decided to include a brief summary of it. The band posted in 5 parts the entire letter with all the details on their Facebook page and there is a tabletop RPG game available as well.



Stream here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsk0sQTv-5M

Digging: Wheel (FIN) - Resident Human

DoofDoof
April 9th 2021


9363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So far not feeling this as much as the last one

JohnyBlood
April 9th 2021


18 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So far feeling this as much as the last one. This one is just a different kind of "classic".

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

MeatWolf
April 9th 2021


207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So far the fadeouts between the tracks kill the experience completely. Statement from Anton:



"It’s an error with the wav files which have been used for all the platforms. Cd/lp has no shit like this. We work hard with the label to fix it asap, sorry"

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2021


5426 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That sucks to happen. It's a small thing, but essential for 1 track albums.

Pho3nix
April 9th 2021


1081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In need of further re-listens of course, and time to grow, but excellent record on first listen.



As I mentioned earlier I expected this to be much darker and harsher given the title and general feel of even the album cover itself. The title is curious to me, I wonder why the band chose to go with Ice Fleet instead of something more unique like 'Jäänmurtaja' (or anything with "jää"really) in Finnish?

Thanntos
April 9th 2021


361 Comments


Jesus Ote is gorgeous...whole album is just beautifully haunting

WalrusTusk
April 9th 2021


852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On first listen it is not as majestic as Sorni Nai nor as meditative as Kaiho, but Anton Belov really can do no wrong.

OllieS
April 9th 2021


2189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really good

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2021


14058 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

This is really, really lush.

Digging: ACAUSAL INTRUSION - Nulitas

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2021


26442 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Great review. Love the intriguing concepts this band is always digging up

Digging: My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything

Tyler.
April 9th 2021


18370 Comments


post rockfolkdoom metaltag


nightbringer
April 9th 2021


1938 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band makes some killer textures.

Pikazilla
April 9th 2021


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was mildly disappointing.

EoinCofa
April 9th 2021


591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So good, listened to it on repeat all night

Digging: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - New Fragility

Lichtbringer
April 10th 2021


605 Comments


“So far the fadeouts between the tracks kill the experience completely.“

Need a tissue? Just buy the record.

Elynna
April 10th 2021


852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well-written review. This is my second favourite Kauan after Sorni Nai, and its probably only a matter of time before I slap a 5 on it.

Digging: Meg Davis - Captain Jack and the Mermaid

DarkNoctus
April 10th 2021


11474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"So far the fadeouts between the tracks kill the experience completely."



it's already been fixed on bandcamp

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

SuzyC
April 10th 2021


148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

May already be looking at AOTY. The first listen was like...nice. Second was...ooohh, as I noticed how Alina's voice sends it into the stratosphere. My rating is likely to edge a little higher too, I imagine. There is no album of theirs I don't love.

DarkNoctus
April 10th 2021


11474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i adore how when you get to track 3 onwards melodies start repeating from track to track like they did in pirut. i think the first two tracks are what hold me back from giving this a 5 - they're a bit of a drudge. but track 3 onwards of this is absolutely flawless.



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