Sortokausi ("Age of oppression") has been active since 2005, and has released three demos before their debut EP "Maailman Synkällä Reunalla." These five men are still young and highly enthusiastic about their craft, and it shows in a good way through the songs' high energy levels. The band seems to have some curiosity for expanding their expression as well, as the music seems to boldly borrow elements from both the traditional Swedish melodic death metal -sound as well as from American brutality.

The songs are based on two guitars, both of which have been employed well. The mostly fast songs are based on brutal rhythms as well as effective melodies, and the high level of musicianship makes sure that there melodies sound good and interesting. The songs go through quite some variation during their playtime, but still don't lose their point or direction at any point; it's no wonder, as it can be heard that these songs have been rehearsed for quite some time, which shows in the pretty much flawless instrumentation as well. One of the guitar focuses on melodies and more technical bits of riffs, whereas the other takes care of the more brutal riffs together with the bass guitar. The drums have a slightly soft sound, but it fits as it doesn't steal the attention from the guitars but still fills it's place. The bass guitar has a vast but slightly powerless pounding sound, and it doesn't add too much to the compositions in the end. Overall the soundscape is good, but I hope the band manages to get a slightly tighter one for their next release. The vocalist delivers raw growls and harsher vocals, and his voice adds a personal finishing touch.

All the songs vary a lot from each other, for example song five has the most "Gothenburg-sounding" chorus and song three is the most straight-forward and brutal one, but they're tied together by their feel, delivery and attitude; the differences between them are more like different emphasizes than wholly different styles, which is how it should be as well. I like how boldly the band has put all their different elements together, and how they stand behind all their compositional decisions with zero fumbling in the delivery.

The minute long "Kadotus" put together from some guitars, piano and electronic drums might not be the best track sound-wise or musically, but it really makes the release feel more like an actual EP than a demo. I just wish the band would've had some more outside assistance with these matters, as for example the EP's ending is really bland. Some finishing touches and just a tad more powerful soundscape would've made this EP easily worth more than an eight out of ten, but as of now it sounds a bit like it isn't completely finished - maybe the band was just too enthusiastic for an official debut release. A cardboard slip isn't the best form of packaging either.

Sortokausi hasn't completely nailed their style yet, and the variation between the songs shows that they haven't yet found the way of expression that's the most natural and "cozy" to them. All fans of quality Death Metal should keep an ear on the band. Thumbs up for the unusually colourful artwork and for giving the EP a concise lenght.

7½ / 10