I dunno, I must have a different idea of what “devastatingly heavy sludge” is than RADIEN and the folks who write their press. Sludge metal to me is an attack of thick, gooey bass heavy riffs that proceed in slow or medium pace, usually accompanied by pained vocals and thudding drums. I think of bands like ELECTRIC WIZARD, CROWBAR, WEEDEATER, BRAINOIL, etc. That description doesn’t seem to fit this Finnish act at all. Half of Unissa Palaneet isn’t even what I’d call metal, and the heavier parts seem much closer to what I think of as “post metal” (although a few thick doomy riffs do pop up occasionally).
It is true that some acts can be “heavy” without being loud. PORCUPINE TREE and even PINK FLOYD are often described as being in that bracket. But sludge…sludge is sludge. And Unissa Palaneet is not a sludge album…period.
Cinematic post metal is a much better tag for what they do. They sure take their time getting to the real heavy parts. Track #1 (the titles are all in jaw-breaking Finnish which I will not reproduce) and Track #4 are mopey, low key depression that’s stark and spare. They’re not “intro” type tracks either, but last for a long, long time. Tracks #2 and #3 have their loud moments and #3 in particular is a rather impressive soundscape that conjures up dark images in the brain. But I would never describe it as sludge or even true doom metal.
Then of course we get that obligatory 20-minute-plus track to end things. Songs this bloated rarely please me, and this one is so patchy it leaves little impression. We get more sad mopey parts, some whispering, sensitive female vocals, a long stretch of white noise. I was hoping I’d get my head kicked in a lot more on an album advertised as being “devastatingly heavy”. It’s false advertising, flat out. When RADIEN get over their cinematic post metal phase and decide to kick some ass, I might be interested in them again. But don’t bet on it.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality