The Finnish quintet Urgamla was founded in Finland's Turku in 2006, and this is their second demo-release. "Pahan Maa" was released as a CD-R and a tiny amount of tapes.

The five-minute songs operate somewhere between the oldschool and newer waves of black metal. They're fast ones with a strong melodic undercurrent, and aren't afraid of spitting out a guitar solo and more skillful drum fills if seen necessary. On the other hand, the basic riffs are simple and overall not too innovative - especially to those who know their Swedish black metal - and they have some additional heaviness and steady blasting that bows down to oldschool death metal. The end result is youthful and energetic, but carries the spirit, feel and fervor of the past. "Pahan Maa" is a fruit of effort.

The songs are long, but spicing them with some thrash-breaks, solos and even one acoustic bit with clean vocals keeps the demo from getting tame. The musicians are skilled, but the end result is not lifeless nor too polished. The vocals range from deep shouts and growls to more guttural voices, and although the vocalist has to be credited for his range and emotion, his voice needs more exercise to gain more depth and credibility. As of now, the vocals are in danger of being swallowed by the instruments.

The tape's visual side is as bare as can be; a simple cover image and the track list is all the buyer gets. The cover image looks dull and evokes no thoughts or emotions, and I'm hoping for this to change on the band's future records. The lyrics aren't included either, which is a shame as I liked their slightly poetic vibe - at least based on the parts I picked from the vocals.

On the base level Urgamla has all the elements together. They just haven't rehearsed their expression enough to unleash the songs in their most hostile, impressive and tight manner. They need to bring out the songs' highest points and strongest moments more effectively, and to create more intriquing build-ups and melodies to keep up the songs' suspense. It might sound like a lot at first, but since the basic elements are on this good level, it's demanded from the musicians to step it up to arise from the demo-class mass.

4 / 5