ITT: Gimmicks, Doom metal, Meshuggah and some second-hand review (pronounced “zero”).
If ever there has been a band tailor-made for me, it’s KYPCK. Their music is slow, in no hurry to go anywhere; more often than not, they end up not getting there, wherever it was. Their music is melodic, but not overtly so. Their music is depressing, like it reeks of a vodka marathon. On top of all that, I can’t understand a word they’re saying.
Formed by guitarist S. S. Lopakka after the demise of Sentenced with vocalist Erkki Seppänen (yes, of the super-duper-trooper happy techno power band Dreamtale) and currently employing former Charon/Tom(b) of Finland skinsman A. K. Karihtala and fellow Sentenced six-
slinger stringer S. Kukkohovi, they often get lumped in to doom metal, but their exact position is hard to pinpoint (not that it really matters) – no other band sounds alike. The slow, heavy and scathingly rueful debut, Cherno, introduced a strangely rocking (for doom) band and instantly won my heart after a minute a forty-nine seconds. Like it’s name implies (okay, so I understand them a little – it means “lower”), the sophomore – Nizhe, their most “doom” record, featured a band playing slower, heavier and more out of tune. Arse-ahead to the top, like my dear papa used to say. Whereas Imena Na Stene both, featured the most contented depressing song ever put to tape and began to show KYPCK’s growing desire to play around with rhythm.
I was excited, but also a bit terrified, of where the band would take their sound on 3epo, and the stand-alone single – a cover of t.A.T.u’s “All Bout Us”, didn’t exactly alleviate my fears. Running for over an hour, and featuring their longest composition to date weren’t the best of signs either, but in the end it all turned out all-right, right?
It all begins on a familiar tone. The ever-so-slight dissonance in the verses and the clear chorus, “Ya Svoboden” is a direct, straightforward KYPCK tune like I’ve come to expect, and a good opener at that.”2017″ follows in much the same vein and features a namely callback to the debut’s “1917”, though one must hope it doesn’t become a callback the Imena…’s “Prorok”, which ended up predicting the Ukraine crisis. Though at times one is forced to agree with the father’s answer to his son as he asks “How did it all come to this?”. “Although everything is but ashes now, it’s still better than what we had before”. And then we get “Mne Otmshchenie” where the string-trio capitalizes on the self-described Belarussian, drunken Meshuggah and picks up the pace, while somehow managing to retain their bleak signature sound.
Bleak being a word that describes just about every aspect the band’s sound up, and Seppänen’s recitation in Russian only adds up to this. The use of Russian has been criticized as a gimmick and a novelty. One’d expect such sentiments to have worn off by now, nearly a decade after KYPCK’s birth, yet it persists. Especially baffling has been the sentiment that the band doesn’t somehow live up to the promise, using a gimmick to draw attention to themselves – because opting to use Russian instead of, say, English is obviously not shooting yourself in the foot commercially. Sorry about that, now that I’ve got the rant out of the way, let me return to the tracks.
To the sound of train tracks that is, which appear throughout the album, as if to tie it all to one big tour. It’s rather fitting that 3epo would have something like that running through it’s course, for if I had to pick the band’s most complete and consistent record it would be this one. The remainder of the songs continue along the similar lines, with a few curves including a female vocalist (“Na Nebe Vizhu Ya Litso”), their most mosh-worthy riff yet (“Progulka Po Neve”) a possessed Seppänen and a delightfully dueling guitar phrasing (“Rusofob”).
The band’s long-time producer and original drummer, K.H.M “Hiili” Hiilesmaa has managed to conjure some extra power to the production. Retaining the recognizably colourless sound from the previous album’s, but bringing more clarity to the mix, every instrument clear and audible – yet heavier than perhaps ever before. Only time will tell if I end up returning to this more than Nizhe, but lord knows the song material here is KYPCK’s strongest to date. You ought to tell the band the Toilet says “Hi” on Facebook and buy the album (out now). And while you’re at it stream the aforementioned cover below.