Founded in Helsinki back in 2017, the black metal band GOATSKULLT has already released a full length and a bunch of singles. The EP “Kinahmia,” published in June 2019, is their most recent work.
The title is an ancient Finnish word, “kinahmi” in its basic form, also mentioned in the national epic poem “Kalevala,” and refers to a portal between different levels of existence, but also to a great whirl that leads from the human world to the netherworld. The whirl itself is pictured on the EP cover artwork.
The “different levels” as a feature is a perfect choice to describe “Kinahmia” in its entirety. In fact, the first characteristic that catches the eye (or ear, to be precise), is the variety of the six tracks: even though its total playing time is less than twenty minutes, at least three distinct phases are detectable.
The first track, “Cosmic Wolves,” has a strong industrial and synth-pop oriented vibe – the massive use of keyboards is a trademark of the band on their previous work as well, but in this case it caught me off guard because of its specific style. The solemnity of the singing creates a crescendo that, unexpectedly, leads to a completely different atmosphere. In fact, the second track, “Dancing Towards Supremacy,“ even if it traces the previous song’s main riff, has a peculiar punk-oriented sound which reminds me of the second wave of black metal bands from the 90s, especially from Norway (SATYRICON and TSJUDER, among the others). In that sense, the third song, “Serpent Symmetry,” with its dissonant riffage sounds a bit like THORNS’ experimental approach on the self-titled album.
I can easily say that, so far, “Kinahmia” sounds a lot like some sort of a tribute to the Norwegian black metal scene, but there’s a critical change of pace ahead. The fourth track, “Puhdistautuminen” (which means “Purification”), shows a peculiar Finnish sound, both in the riffing technique and in the use of the band’s native language. In my opinion, this specific song summarizes the potential of GOATSKULLT as a band, when it comes to its black metal side.
The second to last song, “Sorru Unohdus” (roughly translated as “Break the Oblivion”), is a 43-second instrumental tune; not particularly remarkable in my opinion, but it works pretty well as an introduction to the last song, “Pyhä Maa” (Finnish for “Holy Land”), where we can find another drastic change of pace. The song begins with a clear folkish atmosphere, both in the singing style and in the acoustic guitar sound, but it evolves into a furious black metal tune during its middle part in order to go back to the initial folk sound as an unexpected finale.
In the end, “Kinahmia” is quite good work. Its strong point is the variety and the different atmospheres recalled in such a short time. The use of Finnish language makes the second half of the EP more memorable, compared to the first three tracks, which are good but, in my opinion, weaker in terms of singularity.
Black metal as a genre seems to have still a lot of potential, also when it comes to the peculiarity of a geographically based unique sound.
Written by Licia Mapelli
Zaisswar Sielusurma: vocals
Iūcundus: bass, guitars
Jon B. Barbatoz: drums, keyboards, programming
1. Cosmic Wolves
2. Dancing Towards Supremacy
3. Serpent Symmetry
5. Sorru Unohdus
6. Pyhä Maa