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Pyhä Kuolema - Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi

Pyhä Kuolema is the solo-project of Mikko Pöyhönen, who also features in MAA and the ritual project Tervahäät. Largely performed on guitar and voice, Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi is folk based music with the lyrics delivered in their native Finnish language. Throughout the 12 tracks, Mikko Pöyhönen's voice proves to be warm and inviting. Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi ranges from acoustic folk to acoustic ballads. 'Nuori Maa' and 'Pelkurin Palkka on Rakkaudettomuus' feature plain acoustic strum with Pöyhönen's emotive voice providing the strong melody to these ballads. These tracks compare with the Italian romantic troubadour Rose Rovine e Amanti.

There's a split vocal delivery on 'Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa' its hushed tones matched by quiet intricate guitar playing. A sixties folk feel runs throughout 'Yöaika', with the entire track given an old dimension due to the rickety plucking of strings. Pöyhönen's voice is deeper on the fast acoustic strum of 'Voimamies', where his stern tones are accompanied by other male voices. It later includes passages of brittle guitar work before returning to a rousing twinned accompaniment. Other tracks are largely melodic acoustic folk of the singer-songwriter variety, while the closing ballad 'Tanssi Vainajille' is sprinkled with light electric guitar touches.

Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi features two versions of 'Linnun Laulu', the first opening the album with intricate playing and massed accompaniment, and the second sounding like a Scottish folk ballad with its ringing guitars and lilting melody. 'Pyhän äidin Kuolema', meanwhile, is much more ritual sounding with an agglomeration of solemn chant-like voices.

Mikko Pöyhönen was a member of the now defunct neo-folk duo Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekunnissa who took their cues from the trinity of Sol Invictus, Current 93 and Death In June. Pyhä Kuolema opt for a varied traditional folk feel and while it's perhaps a more honest approach the reliance on the Finnish language also limits its appeal somewhat. That said, with a rich and emotive timbre it's quite easy to be swept up in the pagan spirit and the images of nature carried by his voice. All in all, Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi is a refreshingly varied acoustic based recording of North European folk music from Finland. For more information go to www.animaarctica.fi