Review: Pyhä Kuolema - Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi (2011)


artist: Pyhä Kuolema
release: Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi
format: CD
year of release: 2011
label: Anima Arc­tica
dur­a­tion: 34:24

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

One of the latest albums on the steadily pro­gressing Anima Arc­tica label is Saavun Vaikken Kulkisi, the debut album by Pyhä Kuolema. A new name - meaning “holy death”, if I’m not mis­taken - but if I tell you that it’s the solo pro­ject of Mikko Pöy­hönen (who used to be in the duo Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekun­n­issa), that might ring some bells.

If you’ve heard the self-titled album Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekun­n­issa, the material on the cur­rent release will sound familiar in style, and per­haps even more stripped down. Here, Pöy­hönen focuses on voice and guitar as almost the sole ingredi­ents of his typ­ical Finnish singer/songwriter folk. Equally or more so than on TKS, the vocal rhythms and melodies are tight, flowing and catchy, and herein lies the great attrac­tion of Pyhä Kuolema’s music. The dic­tion of the Finnish lan­guage plays a major role in this, with its powerful stress pat­tern that is here closely linked to the accents of the music.

The twelve songs on this rel­at­ively short album are com­pact units, each with its own theme and merits. At the moment, I’m par­tic­u­larly fond of the central tracks, “Avaruus­mies ja Hel­vetin­mies” (‘spaceman and damned man’?) and “Ajat­tele Minua” (‘think of me’). Their melodies are simply lovely and stay fresh over many plays. Most likely, other tracks will rise to the occa­sion over later listens, as they tend to do in good albums.

It was too bad that Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekun­n­issa’s debut didn’t get an offi­cial follow-up, but this one is as close as it gets. If you enjoyed Pöyhönen’s earlier work this new one cer­tainly won’t dis­ap­point you, but even if you’re new to his music, Saavun vaikken kulkisi is well worth get­ting for lovers of (neo)folk and acoustic music, par­tic­u­larly if you’re inter­ested in less heard lan­guages. I’m looking for­ward to the next one!

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Linnin Laulu I (1:42)
2. Nuori Maa (3:08)
3. Tuhat Kuolemaa Sekun­n­issa (2:25)
4. Yöaika (3:01)
5. Pelkurin Palkka On Rakkaudettomuus (3:20)
6. Avaruus­mies Ja Hel­vetin­mies (2:35)
7. Ajat­tele Minua (2:21)
8. Voim­amies (3:45)
9. Linnun Laulu II (2:32)
10. Syntymäpäivä (3:23)
11. Pyhän Äidin Kuolema (2:48)
12. Tanssi Vainajille (3:31)