Label: Eternal Death
Bandcamp stream: LinkSometimes, you just want to listen to something dirty. You want music with soil under its fingernails, dried blood still streaked across its face, and the stench of the grave emanating from it as if it were an assault upon your very self. Finnish black metal band TKNKNTJ are sure to fulfil such needs for you. 2008 – 2009 (Takaisinvaellus / Täällä Helvetissä Olen Aina Valaistunut), getting a fresh cassette release courtesy of Eternal Death, compiles two of their demos, and the songs are every bit as nasty, dirty, and dark as you would hope for.
That the band are Finnish comes as absolutely no surprise – whilst it would be grossly unfair (and inaccurate) to describe their music as copying others, there is still more than a hint of the typically Finnish sound to these tracks, blending melody and primitivism with excellent skill. Yet for all that, there is also a sense of them bringing in influences from outside those normal of Finnish black metal, and carving their own identity. There are numerous moments of Burzum-esque repetition (though thankfully, they don’t drag on for too long, as some of Burzum’s own music does even at its best), and there is a cutting punk edge displayed throughout much of the two demos, sometimes even during such moments of repetition – for example,”Tuskanne Roviot” repeatedly attacks very basic, repetitive (yet enjoyable) passages with an intensity that can only be described as punk. It’s an interesting mix, and adds an extra sense of character to TKNKNTJ’s music.
More typical hallmarks of Finnish black metal can also be found throughout. As previously mentioned, there is a strong sense of melody throughout, whether it be from leads or the riffs themselves. And there are plenty of more primitive, brutal moments, with the drums being especially pummelling when played at high speed, as well as possessing some nice flourishes, such as the bass drum triplets during “Nautintoon Hera Nneita Enkeleita”. There is also plenty of variation in tempo, both within individual songs and across the demos as a whole, giving the music a real sense of momentum and movement, and the dark, malicious atmosphere of these recordings is undeniable. Likewise, there is a lot of variation in the vocals, which is a point that many bands fall down on, but not TKNKNTJ; the varied vocal styles really help keep things interesting, and is something a lot of other bands could do well to learn from.
Ultimately, though, these two demos are raw, hateful, and that Eternal Death are giving them a re-release should come as welcome news to any fan of underground black metal. There is a clear growth in sound between the two demos, and should TKNKNTJ build upon what is promised here, their next release really could be something quite special. Their Facebook page indicates that more material is being worked on; let’s hope it sees release sooner rather than later.
2008 – 2009 is presently available for stream and download via Bandcamp. A cassette version in DVD-style case is available for order from Eternal Death, due to ship in late August, and limited to 50 copies.