Thursday 20 May 2021

Vainoa - Pelon Varjo

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 12 Feb 2021


1. Nayta Kuolemasi Minulle

2. Pelon Varjo

3. Vainot Eivat Paaty Koskaan

4. Aani Sen Menettaneille

5. Metalliset Kasvot

Tonight's been a night for browsing through my inbox. I've got some time off in a few weeks so the plan is to fully catch up with it then. While scrolling, I came across an e-mail from Matti from Finnish blackened hardcore band Vainoa. Vainoa released their newest EP Pelon Varjo back in February, so I'm only a few months late with this review!. It follows their 2018 split release with Shark Varnish and their Live In Joensuu EP, which was released digitally in early 2019. Vainoa is currently looking for a label to help with a physical release. 

There’s absolutely no time wasting on this release, with opener ‘Nayta Kuolemasi Minulle’ instantly kicking into a high gear with intense and fast blackened hardcore. Metallic guitars are joined by blasting percussion, truly shattering bass guitar and vocals that can hardly be contained. At times they’re typically low and at others they’re piercing screeches. The title-track ‘Pelon Varjo’ starts after little rest for breath and continues as the EP’s opener left off. There’s added melody here from synthesisers, which give Vainoa’s sound an added layer of intrigue and even a little extra catchiness. This isn’t pop by any stretch of the imagination but as with countless other Finnish bands that I’ve reviewed here, there’s something special and unique about it’s sound.

‘Vainot Eivat Paaty Koskaan’ adds more depth and screeching feedback to the EP. The latter isn’t something I’ve mentioned yet but it’s present, just as it is in every fast bands arsenal. While Vainoa’s pacier songs are really good, I can’t wait to hear them pull off a longer, maybe even slower song. Penultimate track ‘Aani Sen Menettaneille’ isn’t necessarily slower but is filled instead with punk attitude and the riffs to back it up. It does have it’s more lumbering moments though, with off-kilter breakdowns and sudden breakouts into meatier hardcore too. The song’s latter half brings to mind Mastodon’s progression and distills it into something very much of Vainoa’s own making.

The final song here is a cover of ‘Metalliset Kasvot’ by Finnish post-punk/goth band Musta Paraati. This is where Vainoa nods towards their influences and in doing so, produces the kind of dense and almost sludgy sound that I knew they were capable of. They’re putting their own take on a song that probably wasn’t meant to sound this heavy and it sounds glorious (in the darkest possible way). I love it when raging hardcore bands switch to a slower gear. That’s not taking anything away from Vainoa’s up-tempo backbone though, because it’s very good but I can just feel myself heading down a slower path right now and this song reinforces that.

As with many of those that have come before them, Vainoa are carrying the torch for a truly rich musical nation and their music is from the heart. It’s exhilarating and disparate at the same time. There’s no escaping the dissonance at play here, making Pelon Varjo yet another musical step towards this planets eventual oblivion. Fantastic!

You can stream and purchase Pelon Varjo digitally below:-

You can also watch the video for the EPs opening track here:-

Vainoa -

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