Musta Risti ("Black Cross") is a Finnish four-piece that plays doomy rock with hints towards psychedelia. The band was founded in the autumn of 2012, and a while later during the same year the group had already recorded this four-song EP. It's available as a CD-R and tape.

I must say that the band was founded with an interesting setup: a prog-rock bassist was given a guitar, a punk guitarist was to handle the bass, the drummer was given a minimal drum kit and a grindcore-vocalist (from Cut To Fit) was told to sing clean vocals only. I like that the musicians founded this project on a basis that would so strongly challenge them.

The resulting tunes are jamming and free-flowing pieces of light but doomy rock that flow onwards peacefully but not too slowly. The sound is rather damp and lo-fi, but still good enough to bring out the songs' character. The bass-sound is rather crude and humming, and as such it doesn't really interact nor entwine with the guitar or be as groovy as it clearly could be. The guitar sound is really light and occasionally fades into the distance, and the same goes for the rather punk-esque but still groovy drumming. The vocals aren't that skilled, but their thin retro-sound and clear strive for a better delivery gives them enough charisma for them to remain pleasing. The singing could have more variation and plain attitude, but for a first recording they're more than tolerable.

The lyrics are about time, mortality and inner struggles. They have a certain vibe of doom metal-traditions, psychedelia and even punk through some social commentary, but in the end aren't that awe-striking. Even so, they certainly do their part. Same goes for the fold-out cover of a three-eyed christ, although I have to wonder why the lyrics weren't included.

This EP was recorded very soon after the band's founding, so it should be obvious that it isn't the best that they can do, even though it demonstrates that the band has a strong vision and a lot of skill. It's decent, but also rather safe, and the crude soundscape makes the songs seem more one-dimensional than they actually are. After a few more rehearsals, improved vocal delivery and overall increase of boldness and personality regarding the compositions, the band might become something very noteworthy. I wish the group's future compositions will include more variation and details, and that they'll be published with an improved sound.

6- / 10