Anyone who loves some Finnish doom metal has definitely heard the name Kuolemanlaakso. Formed as a one-man-project by the multi-talented artist Markus Laakso, the band has gained quite a lot of popularity and caught interest not only in the Finnish scene but also around the world. It’s been a while since the band’s last album “Tulijoutsen” (2014) was released; due to the vocalist Mikko Kotamäki being on tour with his other band Swallow The Sun, Mr. Laakso decided to do something interesting and deliver us a little surprise.. his solo album!
First things first, although the album’s vibe contains some doom and gloom, it is not similar to the previous Kuolemanlaakso albums maybe except for the song “No Absolution”, which is the heaviest song in the record! But this does not mean that the album is completely different; as a matter of fact, it is metal to the bone and it is a reflection of Mr.Laakso’s artistic side. With “The Gothic Tapes”, we get to see where he gets his inspiration from, his ideas and his own world of course. So even if you are a hardcore doom metal fan, I am sure you will find something interesting in these gothic tapes!
Sound-wise,the album offers a wide range of genres; you can definitely tell that Mr. Laakso has been influenced by some awesome legends like Type O Negative, Amorphis and Sisters of Mercy. In this sense, the ‘gothic tapes’ will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end because each song is unique and delivers different melodies, styles and emotions. Songs like “Roll The Dice With The Devil”, “No Absolution” and “My Last Words”, which are probably the heaviest songs in the record, will entertain the lovers of some doom/black metal whereas “Children of the Night” and “Where The River Runs Red” will be liked by the lovers of gothic and dark-wave! What surprised me the most though was the ‘soft’ side of the record. Especially I found the collaboration with Helena Haaparanta interesting; at first spin, the songs featuring her might sound a bit pop-like but her vocals add that feminine energy which I seemed to like after a few spins! I am sure that the ballad-like song “Deeper Into The Unknown” will be adored by many!
“The Gothic Tapes” is refreshing and quite unique. It doesn’t matter if you are a metalhead or not, you will find something interesting in the record! Looking forward to the future albums of Kuolemanlaakso and maybe Vol. 2… Who knows?
Line-up for this album:
Laakso – vocals, guitar, keys
Tiera – drums
Usva – bass
V. Santura – guitar, backing vocals
Mikko Kotamäki (Kuolemanlaakso, Swallow the Sun)
Helena Haaparanta (Crimfall, Valo)
Jaani Peuhu (Iconcrash)
01. Children of the Night
02. Roll The Dice With The Devil
03. Where The River Runs Red
04. The World’s Intolerable Pain
05. She Guides Me In My Dreams
06. No Absolution
07. Deeper Into The Unknown
08. My Last Words