Embracing Darkness - A review of "Зеро" by Kypck
Finnish melancholy meets the Russian soul once again on Kypck's fourth studio record Зеро. The album title and the cover artwork are clear indicators that this might be the coldest release yet of the Finnish quintet. Especially the bass guitar sounds lower than ever. Occasional atmospheric samples in a few tracks add even more mysterious gloom to the group's depressive soundscapes. The guitar riffs and drum patterns sound as lethargic as ever. The charismatic mournful vocals sound slightly throatier than on the last releases. As opposed to the band's previous releases, there aren't any particularly outstanding tracks on this album. This shouldn't be seen as a weakness though since the ten tracks are all equally strong and develop a gripping atmosphere of nostalgia, sorrow and winter from start to finish. It's safe to say that this record is the group's most radical release in terms of atmosphere yet and this focused effort really defines best what Kypck is all about.
Obviously, you have to be in a very specific mindset in order to enjoy this kind of music. You will enjoy Зеро best when you are in a melancholic mood. You should be on your own while listening to this release. It's mandatory to put your headphones on in order to get completely absorbed by this record's addicting atmosphere. The album won't unfold its magic on a beautiful spring or summer day and is enjoyed best during a dark autumn or winter day. If you have a passion for the Russian culture and language, you will enjoy this authentic record even more. If you want to get in touch with a few tunes before digesting the entire record, the band's moody video clips in dark colours and settings inspired by historic events are also highly recommended. The suicidal and thunderous opener ''Я свободен'' with its eerie double vocal harmonies that seems to indicate that the narrator is everything but free as well as the exhausting soul-sucker ''Русофоб'' with its pressured vocals and extremely low bass vibes received two simple but very appropriate video clips for instance. The band even released a cover version of t.A.T.u.'s ''All About Us'' just before the album came out and the Finnish quintet managed to transform an already slightly melancholic pop song into a gloomy yet powerful track supported by a moody video clip about Soviet farmers.
One track that needs to be pointed out is ''На небе вижу я лицо'', an epic doom metal monster which is by far the group's longest track to date with a running time of over eleven minutes. The track opens with mysterious sounds of nature and a sample of heavy breathing and a spoken word passage. The lead guitar plays a melancholic melody while the other instruments play low and simplistic patterns that create a drowning and hypnotizing atmosphere. The vocals vary between melodic and throaty parts but always remain mournful and passionate. The middle and closing sections add some diversity with whispered vocal efforts and melodic female guest vocals by Anna Jousne who is also an expressionist painter and singer in a Karelian folk group. The two vocalists harmonize perfectly and end this epic song on a melancholic climax that is both beautiful and heart-breaking.
In the end, Kypck's Зеро is easily the most atmospheric metal record of the year and the band's most focused record so far. Some bands believe that it needs brutal growls, discordant riffs and fast rhythm sections to evoke a feeling of negativity but the opposite works so much better. Nothing is more painful than extremely low and slow riffs, mournful melodic vocals with a haunting raw side and a thunderous rhythm section where each plodding beat touches your soul. The band calls its style doomsday metal and that's exactly what it sounds like. Suicidal minds shouldn't take the risk of listening to this authentically sorrowful record but those who like to embrace darkness in order to enjoy life to the fullest in all its forms should purchase this release immediately.
Final rating: 90%« 2017 Juno Awards at Canadian Tire CenterPerfect dose of aggressiveness and atmosphere - A review of Moldun's ''Moldun'' »
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