Blåådpalt – Caedite Eos EP


Finnish death metal comes in many shapes and sizes from the melodic and progressive kind of Amorphis, to the tritone-heavy doom of Hooded Menace, to the sinister folk posturing of Ensiferum. The country seems obsessed with melodeath rather than Megadeth, and Blåådpalt are not too radical in their challenge to the status quo, although they pivot towards the misanthropic glee of latter-day Carcass rather than the dominant sound of Soilwork and In Flames. Forget about the promo shots of the band wearing sunglasses and pink t-shirts and the fact that vocalist, Jyrki Hiltunen, plays in a band called Napalm Ted. Caedite Eos is a serious death metal affair with one foot in the mid-1990s and the other in the contemporary death-thrash hybrid that will one day find a suitable name to describe it.

It’s clear that Blåådpalt write music that they can enjoy playing live. They want you to dust down your air guitar and imagine yourself glued to an imaginary MTV video in a world where death metal is still an unknown quantity outside of the underground. Opener, ‘Matryrdom’, is what Kreator sounded like during the difficult mid-1990s period of thrash metal, when the legends of yesteryear needed to make themselves relevant to a new generation of metal fans. We look back on this period as a low point for the extreme end of the genre, but the likes of Cancer and Samael confronted the challenge with great bravery (even if the results were less spectacular). Sinister string arrangements and slow pizzicato techniques give way to a crunchy thrust of guitar and drum patterns designed to drag death metal into the field of accessible hostility. Listen to the careful phrasing of the higher-register guitar melodies in the chorus – do they dampen the bite and menace of the bridge? No, they don’t. Panu Lyytikäinen’s double-kick eighth notes keep the pulses racing.

You could argue that the Swedish melodeath bands learned the wrong lessons from Carcass. Heartwork pioneered the fiendish chorus you could sing along to with a Hannibal Lector expression on your face and a glass of chianti on your lips. Blåådpalt understand this and put it at the centre of ‘Existence is Suffering’. Here, you can chant, “Existence is suffering/ life a meaningless void… Find solace in suicide,” as if repeating the chorus to a Sabaton song. Of course, there is no melody here – just an eye-widening hatred for mankind. Yet you can also hear the iconic riffing of Paradise Lost in their resurgent phase of the late 2000s.

Perhaps the only criticism of this EP is its infatuation with the last four Carcass albums. But have you heard any band interpret Pantera in the way Blåådpalt do it in the intro to ‘5250’? They manage to insert a post-chorus into this composition while staying focused on the razor-sharp attack of vintage Kreator. ‘The Plague Does Not Discriminate’ wins no prizes for originality, but its quality and flair are undeniable. “There’s no cure – mankind’s demise,” roars Jyrki Hiltunen at the transition point from mid-tempo thrash to death metal acceleration.

Who remembers when Finnish stalwarts, Convulse, sounded as urgent as the title track on this EP? The nefarious tremolo patterns and dissonant note choices are worthy of the latest Memoriam record. Death fans will recognise the telepathic musicianship and hook of the chorus without feeling cheapened by an invasion of traditional heavy metal clichés. Closing track, ‘Impurity in Its Finest Form’, is what Carcass fans expected to hear from the band’s doomed 1996 album. Guitar shapes circle in the mix like stealth bombers on a reconnaissance mission. Seldom does the mood emancipate beyond a murderous lust to see humankind obliterated for good.

The members of Blåådpalt are seasoned musicians. Their flavouring is poison. You’ll find it hard to resist their diabolical charm.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 01/06/2023

Record Label: Inverse Records

Standout tracks: Martyrdom 101, Caedite Eos

Suggested Further Listening: Carcass – Torn Arteries (2021), Kreator – Cause for Conflict (1995), Paradise Lost – Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us (2009)