Sep 202022

(Today we present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Markus Laakso from the Finnish band Kuolemanlaakso (among other endeavors he’s involved in, which are also discussed below). The band’s newest album Kuusumu was released this past spring by Svart Records.)

Kuolemanlaakso (“death valley” in Finnish) once was known as the “death-doom band with Swallow the Sun’s vocalist”. It was started in 2010 and the band’s line-up didn’t change since then: Mikko Johannes Kotamäki (vocals), Markus Laakso (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Toni Ronkainen (drums), Tuomo Räisänen (bass), and Petteri Ruotsalainen (guitars).

Their first album Uljas uusi maailma (2012) was already too progressive and melodic for any rigid “death-doom” tag. The EP Musta aurinko nousee (2013) and the LP Tulijoutsen (2014) developed Kuolemanlaakso’s eclectic style only further until Markus recorded M. Laakso – Vol. 1: The Gothic Tapes (2016), something like his own gothic Kuolemanlaakso-based spin-off…

Besides that, Markus Laasko is the author of two metal books which we need to mention in this interview, which is focused on the band’s fourth album Kuusumu. Continue reading »

Feb 202014

As you can see, I’ve decided to forge ahead with alliterative titles for the daily music round-ups this week. Lucky for you, there are only two more days in the week after today. Also lucky for you, I have found five pleasurable new songs over the last 24 hours that will put you in a chokehold, kind of like erotic asphyxiation.


This Rhode Island duo’s 2012 debut album Misery Wizards turned a lot of heads, and now Metal Blade is primed to release their second album — II: Void Worship — on April 1 (a few days earlier in Europe). I was attracted to this news by the colorfully killer album art by Adam Burke, and that in turn led me to explore the album’s first advance track, “The Paladin”.

Whereas Misery Wizards was largely a crawling, bludgeoning behemoth of classic doom, “The Paladin” rocks very fuckin’ hard, driven by utterly filthy and utterly irresistible riffs. It’s a smoking, chugging steamroller of a song, with The Wizard’s wailing vocals riding over the top like a ring-wraith. The doom isn’t gone, but it’s been super-charged. This one is already on my list of candidates for 2014’s most infectious songs. Continue reading »

Oct 152013

Musta aurinko nousee — cover art by Markus Räisänen

Yesterday I discovered some new music, quite a lot of it actually. I picked two of those new discoveries as a pair for this post, but not because they are anything alike. In fact, they could hardly be more different — and that’s why I’ve paired them together.


This band’s Finnish name means “Death’s Valley” or “Valley of Death”. It began as a one-man project of guitarist Markus Laakso (Chaosweaver). After recording a handful of demo tracks, he recruited a group of talented comrades to flesh out the band:  vocalist Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the SunBarren Earth), guitarist Savon Surma (“Kouta”) (Chaosweaver, ex-Verjnuarmu), bassist Tuomo Räisänen (“Usva”) (EleniumThe Nibiruan), and drummer Toni Ronkainen (“Tiera”) (DiscardCult of Endtime).

Together they recorded an album at Woodshed Studio in Germany with V. Santura of Triptykon and Dark Fortress fame, who also mixed and mastered the music. The album is named Uljas uusi maailma (“Brave New World”) and it was released by Svart Records in November 2012. It was very good.

In August of this year the band recorded a second album with V. Santura, this time convening in a cabin in the Finnish woods near the shores of a lake. This morning I spent time I didn’t have reading Markus Laakso’s day-by-day studio diary, because it was both interesting and entertaining (and mouth-watering — this group ate well while together in the woods). If you have the time, and even if you don’t, I recommend it. Continue reading »

Nov 142012

Sakis Tolis, laying down a soothing lullaby. 

Once again, your intrepid editor has sifted through the ever flowing stream of metal news and new music to find those gleaming nuggets that will enrich your daily lives.  Actually, I don’t know if you’ll give a shit about any of this, but I do, and that’s what really matters, isn’t it?  No need to answer, that was a rhetorical question.


We’ve already reported that Rotting Christ are at work on their 11th studio album, but today I saw a few more tidbits of news: The album will be entitled Do What Thou Wilt, and it will hit the stores on March 1, 2013. We usually don’t write about such happenings unless we have a bit more juice to go along with it, such as album art or a song premiere. But these Greek maestros are the kind of band whose every move interests me. And I’m particularly interested to see if the new album will be a further step down the path of strongly folk/ethnic-influenced metal exhibited on Aealo.

I also saw today that the French band Necrowretch have finished the recording and mastering of their debut album for Century Media. It was recorded in late August at Blackout Multimedia studios in Brussels by Phorgath of Enthroned and its title will be Putrid Death Sorcery. The cover art is being prepared by Milovan Novakovic from Montenegro, who also created the beastly cover for the band’s last EP, Now You’re In Hell (reviewed here). And if you’re wondering why this news matters, check out some Necrowretch music right after the jump. Continue reading »

Oct 162012

Let’s start this day at NCS with a contrast — two new songs from forthcoming albums that are on opposite ends of the speed spectrum. The first comes from a new Finnish band — Kuolemanlaakso — whose members include some names I’m pretty sure most of you will recognize. The second is from a new release by a French band — Destinity — whose last album I really liked and whose new one is also sounding excellent.


This band’s Finnish name means “Death Valley”. It began as a one-man project of guitarist Markus Laakso (Chaosweaver). After recording a handful of demo tracks, he recruited a group of additional musicians to flesh out the band:  vocalist Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun, Barren Earth), guitarist Savon Surma (“Kouta”) (Chaosweaver, ex-Verjnuarmu), bassist Tuomo Räisänen (“Usva”) (Elenium, The Nibiruan), and drummer Toni Ronkainen (“Tiera”) (Discard, Cult of Endtime).

Together they recorded an album at Woodshed Studio in Germany with V. Santura of Triptykon and Dark Fortress fame, who also mixed and mastered the music. The album is named Uljas uusi maailma (“Brave New World”) and it’s now scheduled for release by Svart Records on November 23. The cover art by Maahy Abdul Muhsin is a real eye-catcher — it’s right after the jump. Continue reading »