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Vainaja – Verenvalaja album review

Finnish deathly doom born of a versatile vision

The blurred line between death and doom metal has long provided astute bands with a rewarding foundation upon which all manner of fucked-up unpleasantness can be constructed.

It might be over-egging the pudding of despair to say that Vainaja are bona fide mavericks, but Verenvalaja remains resolutely detached from the predictable.

Slow-motion sludge seldom sounds more viscous and hellish than it does here; downtempo excursions like Usva and Valaja incorporate everything from Sunn O)))-like drone to Asphyx-aping punk nihilism, with shades of post-metal liberation and occasional dashes of gothic grandeur. Although, given how many great doom records have emerged from Finland recently, we perhaps shouldn’t be surprised that Vainaja have upped their game. Unnervingly muscular and ghostly, the Finns’ second album suggests that greater and possibly even more gruelling triumphs lie ahead.