Written by: EW on 04/01/2010 14:21:04

For no reason I'm sure greater than coincidence I have been tasked with the review of a few albums very recently that could be well described by the term 'Scandinavian gloom' (© EW), and within this region does "Vuoroveri" fit by Finnish melodic/death/doomy-type people Saattue. It might be pushing it to suggest that with the prevailing underground popularity of bands like Swallow the Sun and Insomnium, and the now more-overground Katatonia, that we are witnessing the establishment of a new 'scene', but there is certainly something to be said of such bands for whom releasing tomes of sadness and despair comes as easily as making a cheese sandwich.

Safe to say that if you appreciate the recent efforts of Swallow the Sun and Insomnium you will find much to like here. Heck, you don't even need to be greatly into this style of music to dig some of Saattue's offerings; for a music so downbeat and sorrowful in nature the ease with which songs like "Häpeän Linnut" and "Luopio" plod by create an air of accessibility and encouragement in joining their clan of wintery darkness. Being released on Spikefarm Records the "Vuoroveri" package is top-notch with a production perfect for the intentions of the music (so damn perfect that I wonder where this style can go in years to come?). Vocalist Tuukka Koskinen dominates the landscape for great portions, rising above the music with a commendable plethora of styles and feelings in his delivery; singing in Finnish he may be but if I could make any sense of that funny language then I'm sure his words are equally accurate too (care to help PP?).

Infact the overall style of Saattue becomes so engrossing and cosy in its melodic death/doom framework that half-way through the album, and on every listen too, one gets the feeling of having heard it all before. Save for some delightfully delicate female vocals in "Synnistä Syntynyt" each song begins to feel very similar and too limited in style to become the great album that Saattue in theory have the potential to release. As opposed to Swallow the Sun’s “New Moon”, the heavy keyboard presence goes part-way to disguising the abject mediocrity of the band’s riffs, relegated as they are to a mere rhythmic noise instead of having any role in leading the band in any particular direction. Whatever the field a greater diversity of songs is essential to releasing an album to stand out from the crowd and it is here that Saattue come up short, with each song being too uniform in colour and tempo and with a guitar performance devoid of any highlights to make a great mark in the world. Pity because the way life is at the moment Saattue showed promising signs early on of being the perfect soundtrack to it.


Download: Vapahtaja, Luopio
For The Fans Of: Swallow the Sun, Insomnium, Sentenced
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 09.11.2009
Spikefarm Records

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