REVIEW: Mustan Kuun Lapset – EP: Suruaika 1993-2023

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MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET [trans: children of the black moon] are a band that have been around for, surprisingly, 30 years. With that being said, 30 years is a number that deserves a toast, and “Suruaika 1993 – 2023 Anniversary EP” fulfills the celebration for sure. MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET pay tribute to their own name with a gloomy sound with an acoustic twist here and there, a style that positions the band between the heavy and soft textures of metal music. This EP is no exception, however, it does it include a number of special guests and new and old songs that re-imagine their long-standing career. “Suruaika” is indeed their first metal music release in the last 4 years after a few singles and the acoustic record, “Kruunu” (2021). This time gap with no releases is notable in the EP’s 4 songs, as they are indeed very different from one another. Nonetheless, they all share the combination of a gentle background with aggressive riffs that sound like a rainy evening.

The EP starts off with the intro, “Kirstunkantaja” [trans: pallbearer], which resembles an opening circus act with a bombastic trumpet whistle, accompanied by a soft side drum and dramatic cello touches. The feeling of the melody is cheerful, becoming heavier and heavier until it reaches the end, when the lyrical side of the EP officially opens up in the following song. This intro in particular gives an ambivalent feeling between a party and a funeral, embracing the title of “pallbearer” as the volume rises from the beginning to the end, accelerating the cello’s tunes in the way that seems to announce a procession toward a cemetery.  The trumpet, in contrast, awakens a sense of hyperactivity, as if the listener is about to enter into a realm of heavy riffs, which it seems they are…

“Muistoa kunnioittaen” [respect in memorium] begins with strident riffs followed by growls and heavy drum blasts. Its name is a tribute to the band’s 3 active decades, as it links the acknowledgment of the traveled path and the memory of how MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET‘s sound has evolved. The chorus is exactly the part where the listener can notice the presence of the new band member, Pasi Löfgrén (WHERE’S MY BIBLE) joining as second vocalist. As described by Pete Lehtinen (vocals, guitars, keyboards, songwriting), on the band’s Facebook profile, this song is a combination of the different styles they have used across their artistic lifespan, from ’90s death/black metal to rock and folk. The song, indeed, succeeded in encompassing different styles in only one song. From black metal growls, guitar solos, and riffs that slowly fade away at the end, it is a summary of MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET‘s musical evolution.

In contrast, “On suruaika täytetty” [mourning is complete] brings a gentler mood to the listener. The cello and violin arrangements take the leading role as they intertwine with the other musical sounds. The chorus sounds like an acoustic ballad, similar to those of hard rock bands, with soft clean male vocals that make the listener think of nostalgic memories. “On suruaika täytetty” is a song to enjoy when in a chill mood, either while walking in nature or while having quiet time at home. This music piece, just like the rest of the EP, includes a number of guests, such as the musicians Axel Salmona and Caroline Salmona on the cello and violin respectively, and Paavo Laapotti (BEFORE THE DAWN) on the vocals. Together, they made a masterpiece.

To close off the EP, MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET re-invented one of their most famous pieces, “Morfiinisiivet” [morphine wings], this time in the Spanish language. “Alas de Morfina” is the name of this new track, which has Carolina Salmona again as a guest violinist and pianist, Karen Lammermoor on Spanish vocals, Max Buell on drums, and Kåre André Sletteberg (IN THE WOODS…) on guitars. This version provides a fresh outlook and new personality to “Morfiinisiivet,” with Gothic-doom metal vibe reminiscent of the old days. The song, with Lammermoor‘s sweet voice and the piano and violin in the background, emulates the narration of a departure to the afterlife, a tragic atmosphere that puts the listener in a relaxed mood. The two versions of this song are quite in contrast as, while this new one feels like a sorrowful lullaby with the soft female vocals, the old one is more like an acoustic song with a romantic feeling from the male vocals. It turned out to be a very innovative way to re-invent a song, especially as “Morfiinisiivet” is one of their most famous songs, as per the Finnish charts.

This is a marvelous celebratory EP of MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET’s long walking path, recommended for anyone who is looking for new gloomy sounds that venture into different styles of music, instruments, voices, and languages. In summary, it is an EP that will entertain the listener by enveloping them in dark metal.

Written by Hector Sanchez

TRACKLIST

  1. Kirstunkantaja
  2. Muistoa Kunnioittaen
  3. On Suruaika Täytetty
  4. Morfiinisiivet (Alas de Morfina)

LINEUP

Pete Lehtinen – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards

Heikki Piipari – Guitars (lead)

Kalle Takalo – Drums

Pasi Löfgrén – Bass

LABEL

Inverse Records

LINKS

Facebook

Instagram

Bandcamp