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Arkhamin Kirjasto: Torches Ablaze

Multi-faceted Finns discover the radical side of trad

Formed in 2010 by Circle mainman Jussi Lehtisalo and guitarist Samae Koskinen, Arkhamin Kirjasto are perhaps predictably unpredictable. Being Finnish, they’ve got a headstart in the weird stakes, but any project associated with Jussi – and there are many – is bound to recognise no boundaries.

From the sublime to the surreal, Torches Ablaze offers a unique mash-up of old-school trad and death metal that’s guaranteed to delight and alienate in almost equal measure. If you don’t get it at first, however, stick with it, as this rule-busting debut could well be the beginning of great things to come.

The ‘trad’ layer of the metal sandwich is a good bit thicker than the ‘death’ one, moments that could be vintage Maiden, Priest or Saxon are given bizarre twists that push the songs into the sort of territory that bands like Venom and Sodom once called home. Topping it all off is an oddball eccentricity that’ll keep you guessing and a balls-out, in-your-face attitude that’ll gleefully put the boot into your comfort zone.