Monday, 18 March 2013

Musta Risti - ST (album review)

Musta Risti (Black Cross) play a muscular and organic style of stoner rock with looming whispers of doom laced throughout.  Their self-titled debut EP is a blasphemous affair sure to wipe the loving smiles off the faces of the righteous.  Their song titles alone give the impression that the band is not interested in extending the hand of friendship to the faithful: "Tulessa kastetut lapset" ("Baptized Children In The Fire").

For those that worship the magnificent fretwork of Mr. Iommi, let it be known that Musta Risti pays homage, which should earn them a tip of the cap from even the stingiest of heretics.  Doom funk grooves and mouth watering syncopation earn the band repeated nods of approval.  Cool riffs are in no short supply here.

This is a brand new band finding their footing, what this recording lacks in polish it makes up for in promise.  The slick drumming of Heikki Uusitalo smooths over some of the rough patches, played in the Bill Ward style of accompanying the rest of the band rather than simply keeping time.  The drum riffs are just as prominent as the guitar riffs.  The recording may not bring this aspect out immediately to listeners, but a close listen will reveal this for all to see and hear.

Again, Musta Risti play in the time-honored Black Sabbath tradition, but they are not clones of the hall of famers.  Drums are treated as a lead instrument, riffs funk, strut and jerk, an ominous presence is felt throughout the length and breadth of the disc but it's all done in that distinctly Finnish tongue that goes beyond Jere Kilpinen singing in the band's native language.  The earthen, organic quality that is often heard in Finnish bands is present and like most Finnish bands I hear a tremendous balance between all the performers where no one instrument or voice is emphasized above the others.

'Musta Risti' is a strictly lo-fi affair, the vocals issue-forth as though mic'd into a ghetto blaster and recorded through there, making the overall sound quality lacking.  The message, however, is in the riffs and the message is good.  In perfect lo-fi tradition the band has released their self-titled EP on cassette which is available at Levykauppa Äx Oy.  I ordered my copy already and can't wait for it to come in the mail, it'll make a nice addition to my growing tape collection where it will sit comfortably between Ice Dragon and Owl, which is almost exactly where the band belong.

One last thing, the band's bio is interesting enough to re-post verbatim:
MUSTA RISTI (BLACK CROSS) is a four-piece riffrock assembly. Band emerged as autumn rose in 2012 with a twisted strategy as formerly progrock bassist turned to guitar, guitarist with punksensibility took a four stringer, former grind vocalist was forced to keep it clean and the drummer was given only the basic stuff of drum kit. We needed to see what that sounds and that is the sound you hear right now. This is bands first tape recorded d-i-y and released ourselves on cd-r and cassette.

Highlights include: "Vuorenmurtaja" and "Hautautuneet"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 22:10

Marko Lappalainen - bass
Heikki Uusitalo - drums
Leo Lehtonen - guitar
Jere Kilpinen - vocals

From: Lahti, Finland

Genre: Stoner, Doom

Reminds me of: Devil (Norway)

Release Date: January 18, 2013

Better Reviews:
Hellride Music Forum

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