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Rippikoulu : Ulvaja (EP)

Some interesting themes from the returning Rippikoulu, but overall a little too much 'been there, heard that'.

Back then, in 1993, I used to do a lot of tape trading. And by a lot, I mean spending most of my hard-earnt summer job salaries on tapes and sending them around the world. Despite that, the name of Rippikoulu never came to my ears or into my mailbox. Because back then, in those prehistoric days before the rising of the Internet, if you weren't featured in a fanzine, you were simply unknown outside of your local scene. Such was the case of Rippikoulu, which, thanks to the predominance nowadays of the Internet-based scene, became somewhat of a cult band - mostly because they were one of the few whose demos weren't featured on every blogspot on the planet.

Sure, their 'Musta Seremonia' demo was a decent slab of Finnish Death Metal, with the classic dark sound and doomy vibe one should expect from a band coming from the country of Amorphis and Funebre. But better than what was released by Convulse, Demilich or Demigod at the same time ? NE-VER!! They were better than Utumno or Carnifex (yup: 20 years before the horrible US Deathcore band, there was a Finnish Death Metal band who was also into Warhammer 40K!), but no more.

21 years later and, thanks to the Internet cult, Rippikoulu have been resurrected to deliver a new MCD to the drooling masses of 20-or-so year old fans something which could have been born 20-or-so years before their time. Let's be straight: this is far from being the masterpiece every blog will state it'll be. Here, you get 18 minutes of doomy Death Metal, correctly played and mostly sounding as if the band was more interested in giving their new fans what they were expecting, instead of actually writing real songs. It's not bad, it's just already been heard a thousand times before, done by better bands.

The Doom fans will be interested by the fact that the Finnish band uses some arrangements and slow parts which show that they've heard some of their fellow countrymen, especially Shape Of Despair: keyboards, sampled choirs, misty guitars...yeah, I think I've heard that somewhere before, myself. Those arrangements are what makes this MCD interesting, though; coupled with the fact that the rest of the music reminds me a lot of Convulse. It shows us that, given more time (and especially working to create their own sound), Rippikoulu could really have been a force to be reckoned with.

As it is - been there, heard that: 'Ulvaja' is nothing but another release of the old school Finnish Death sound, that never quite manages to be either boring or interesting. Blame it on the fact that I've heard a hundred of similar bands, back then when this sound was really new - but at least the fans will get what they pay (or download) for.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Jää Hyvästi Kaunis Kesä
2. Loputon
3. Ulvaja

Duration : Approx. 18 minutes

Visit the Rippikoulu bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-07-06 by Laurent Lignon
Thermal Mass
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