This is kind of a “six degrees of separation” story. Last December, we heard about The Finnish Metal Tour, which was scheduled to roll through North America in April, with a stop in in our home base of Seattle. The line-up included three bands we would have killed relatives to see — Finntroll, Swallow the Sun, and Moonsorrow — plus a band we hadn’t heard of — Survivors Zero.
We scarfed up tickets but didn’t immediately investigate Survivors Zero. And then in late March, we saw an announcement that Survivors Zero ran into some kind of problem getting a visa to enter the U.S. and had to cancel out of the entire tour. We had a shitload of fun seeing those other three bands (you can see our review and photos here) but kinda lost our motivation for checking out Survivors Zero.
Fast forward to mid-May. We check out an album from yet another Finnish band called Sotajumala and decide we ought to write about them — which we did (here). And in sniffing around the web in an effort to learn more about that band, we discovered that Cobra Records had released a “split DVD” called Slaughter at Lutakko, which for a brief time occupied the No. 1 spot on the official Finnish music video charts. That DVD featured live performances by Sotajumala and — guess who — Survivors Zero.
So, we thought it was time to take the cosmic hint and track down Survivors Zero’s September ’09 debut album, CMXCIX. We shouldn’t have waited so fucking long, because it’s an ass-kicking delight. (more after the jump, including a song and a video . . .)
Tommi “Rotten” Virranta‘s vocals are impressive in their range and variety. He howls and shrieks and opens up his throat into yawning black pits of cavernous depth.
Sami Jämsén‘s and Jani Luttinen‘s guitars churn out one convulsive riff after another, and Jämsén’s leads and solos blaze in fiery fury. They can also play inexorable, tank-like chugging rhythms with as much infectious flair as the more pyrotechnical passages.
Bassist Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll) and drummer Reima Kellokoski are also excellent on CMXCIX — fast and sharp as carving knives. (Reima left the band earlier this spring to devote more time with his main band, Impaled Nazarene, and has been replaced with Seppo Tarvainen).
The production of the songs is over on the clean and crisp end of the range, which works just fine with this kind of all-headbang-all-the-time music.
If you need an injection of modern death metal designed to put a jolt of alternating current through you until your head starts to smoke, this will do the job nicely. We’re having tons of fun listening to it.
Survivors Zero’s debut album, CMXCIX, is available from CM Distro and iTunes. Here’s a track for you to stream, and then below that is a video for another song.