Finally, the debut full-lenght from Musta Kappeli. In case you don't know the band, they have been together for three years now, and play somewhat traditional nature-influenced but still satanic mic-pace black metal.
As said before, the band's style can be summarized by saying that they play mostly mid-pace black metal, with synths to bring some additional atmosphere. The raw soundscape and cruddy musicianship is topped by the really raw growled and screamed vocals that make everything more hostile, and give the music some extra edge despite the more or less atmospheric soundscape. There's some clean male vocals as well that are not too polished for the soundscape, and thus manage to stay convincing and fitting. The few samples add a slight philosophical side to it all, and enchance the album's depressive side. One could say that the album is passive-aggressive and depressed, but it demands that the listener is active in the listening process to reveal it's whole shape and personality. It's also pleasing that although the album is a highly atmospheric one, all the tracks stand apart from each other and have their individual hooks and memorable parts - this isn't ambient or ambient black metal, this is black metal from the woods.
The synths aren't there to bring actual melodies, as their patterns are rather simplistic and even slower than the guitars. They add a soothing ambient-dimension to the music, and make it more enclosing and ethereal in the calmer parts. The synths really show their power in the minimalistic intro, or finally in the outro-track if one doesn't notice their power before. The outro is wholly based on the rather traditional-sounding synths and ethereal female chants, and it sounds really powerful. It plain gets to you. I hope that the band will take the female vocals to use in the future as well.
As mentioned before, the musicianship on the album is not too professional; the riffs are performed somewhat sloppily and the guitars are not tuned to perfection, and it can be noticed that the drums and guitars do not meet at all points. Whether the above deepens the atmosphere or ruins it is up to the listener's own preferences, but I personally found it to enchance the atmospheres and emotions for the most part with their organic progression and execution - although it damages the most aggressive parts, as for example the track "kylmään hautaan" shows quite well. Nonetheless, it gives the album a deeper contact to the nature, which suits it's themes and aims more than well. The couple of nature samples blend in perfectly with the music, which should tell a lot already.
The cover song was left outside of the actual album, which in my opinion was a good choice; it doesn't get to mess up the album's flow and whole, and rather serves as a curiosity or a bonus than actual content, which is exactly what it should do too. It's a good song and shows where the roots of MK are, and offers a slightly different side of the band's expression with the synth-dominant soundscape.
Despite the strong overall atmosphere, some of the songs feature parts that are lower in quality - them mostly being the more aggressive ones, as they're the ones that bring out the musicianship in a bad way, damaging the songs' power. The album's progression is also a bit too clumsy in a couple of parts, but this should be nothing too major for those who can handle the musical style.
If the band manages to make their next output a little more cohesive and give it a more natural flow, it might be nothing short of brilliance for any who enjoy primitive and nature-themed (but still highly satanic) black metal. This album is pretty neat as well, but shows a few points the band should focus on in the future.