Good doom hails from Finland mostly, or at least that’s what I’ve come to notice. There are other countries that bask in giant waves of ethereal coldness yet none of them produce a steady inflow of metal soliloquies like this 'little' piece of land does, spewing forth album after album of bleak depictions of the (lack of) life that can be found in the consuming wastelands present in this part of the known world. In between Swallow The Sun (which seem to have placed themselves in a musical hiatus with their latest offering) and the often soul-searching experience going by the name of Shape of Despair, in between all that does Colosseum slowly march, expanding from its roots, carefully chugging away riff after riff of me(n)tal despondency, as if only to prove that death, insanity and climactic misery have their own personal way of creating a state of non-existent uplift.
I don’t know, maybe it’s something in the atmosphere. Whether it be from the placing of a production studio in a middle of nowhere and writing songs with fingers numb from cold, or the recording of wild bears fighting with trash cans as vocals, while at the same time sodomizing peaceful unicorns, in the middle of all that something exists that makes finnish music sound, at times, so amazingly beautiful, yet at the same time crippled from compositional and inspirational decadence.
Colosseum is the brainchild of Juhani Palomäki, which others may know from Yearning and in this case will be well aware of his work (and his passing, but we’ll come to that later). The music is drenched in agonizing sounds of self-inflicted madness, guitars wailing as the solos rise and soar over the slow chugg-fest of rhythm mastery, the drums keep a slow but steady pace, climaxing with a sequence of double-bass on the end of the third track, Weathered, while the vocals crawl their way somewhere in the lowest range of a human’s vocal timbre in what resembles the careful use of a dying instrument, since the words that can be made out are far and few between. Synths also make a damn good impression, especially on Aesthetics of the Grotesque, a track which takes after its title and portrays a crushingly uncomplicated beauty, while at the same time being the most ‘ugly’ track on the album. The closer, Delirium, is an exercise in defining evil, the vocals sounding even more demonic than before and the rhythm guitar and synths delivering a simple, yet effective theme that reminds me of the song Psychopath’s Lair by Swallow The Sun.
And then it ends, as abruptly as it started, paving the way for the two successor albums, Numquam and Parasomnia, in which Juhani journeys even more into his thematic saga, leaving us, humble listeners, revering in the ideas and musings of a genuinely creative mind. Here’s one track to prove that I’m right and have not yet entrenched myself in the arms of whimsical obscurity.
I’m confident that if you’ll come to like this album, you’ll also check out the later ones.
Pros: there is melody to be found in between all of the demonic sounds that this album is comprised of.
Cons: standard funeral doom, nothing that veers away from the known style.
Highlights: Weathered, Aesthetics of the Grotesque
2. Corridors of Desolation
P.S: I mentioned before that Juhani Palomäki is no longer with us in the realm of mortals. He passed away after completing the third album, Parasomnia, which was released post-mortem. No mention of the cause of death is anywhere to be found on the internet (or at least I haven't found it), so rumors claim the possibility of suicide. I guess we will never know. What’s important is the music that he left behind for us to listen.