Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
A Photo of Santtu Hamalainen and Marko Annala LIVE on Stage in 2011
This is a Very Musically Dark Mokoma Album
Albums that help us deal with the feelings and emotions associated with love are sometimes necessary to put things in perspective. When it comes to thrash metal, Mokoma is one of those bands that is pretty much unknown outside of Finland. This article may as well focus on the power of love through music and this one focuses on Finland’s thrash metal band Mokoma that has been around since 1996. The English translation for this album is “The Death Song of Death” and it was released in 2006. It is very difficult to interpret the meanings of all the songs given the complexity of the translations. Surprisingly, Mokoma’s music calms me and energizes me at the same time. This is no Pantera with the rough grooves which is sometimes too much to take in but it is rather entertaining hardcore thrash. Note: I just found out via the website Metal Archives that this album's title (Kuoleman Laulukunnaat) also means Death's Singing Grounds in English. But regardless of that, let's get started with the review. Since it is so difficult to interpret this album’s title, there are going to be changes. Speaking of change, as we revisit this album in 2021, Mokoma seems to want to take things to a more rough, intense riffing style but if it makes us feel better that’s a good thing right?
Concept Continued and Marko Annala's Vocal Style
The album is a concept album focusing on the stages of a failed relationship. For those of us that are falling in love, this album may help bring some perspective to the situation. The album is a departure from what we may have heard on the album Kurimus. Vocalist Marko Annala takes his voice to the next level using hardcore grunts instead of the traditional thrash metal vocals. It sounds like a hybrid between modern thrash metal and death metal. The lyrics and vocals are in Finnish but so what? Thrash metal of this quality is still very much enjoyable!
An Analysis of Mokoma's 2006 Studio Album
From the beginning the song "Valapatto" sets the stage for this “love” album if you can call it that. In a relationship when the other person swore to stick by you no matter what and then they leave or abandon you, that loss can trigger feelings of anger, bitterness, and even unforgiveness. Moon Receives His Power from the Sun can be described as a power ballad which is interesting for a band that spends much of its time writing songs that focus on modern groove thrash. As the person revives himself and runs into the forest, he realizes that he does not need his former lover. He reaches out to happiness and realizes that he is happy enough with silver. The moon gets its power from the sun according to the lyrics of this song. I guess the moral of the story is that we don’t need anyone to make us complete and whole because we are already whole enough as we are. That is one of the most difficult things for most people to realize and grasp. By the time we get to the song called Mind Your Heart Blame, we see that the man that ended the relationship with his former lover and he is suffering from a broken heart. He is not satisfied anymore and he is wondering what to do. Understand the Absolute is the song that continues on this concept of the broken heart as the man’s body shakes and trembles. There is nothing left as there is just more fuss and frustration added to this man’s life. Breakups are always painful and unfortunately pretty much everyone who has dated someone goes through this. I Cried Eyes in My Eyes (song 8) is about the woman claiming that it is a good thing that she does not need her lover anymore. He tells our Creator how sorrowful he is and he chooses to come from the past moments. Every life coach says that living in the past is not a good idea yet some of us are stuck in that era of our lives and we tend to over analyze what happened to us or we wish we could have done things differently. It’s Good to Keep It is a song that suggests to us to forget what happened in the past and just love anyway. Not everyone will love us back the same way so we are told to love anyway.
How good is this album compared to the previous album? It may be slightly better but it still is not as good as their next album called Bones and Cores. For some of you this may be an introduction to Finland’s Mokoma and may you enjoy learning about a rather interesting groovy thrash metal band. One user on the website Metal Archives describes this album as being too personal for comfort. It is definitely different from the high energy and fun feel that we heard on Kurimus. In particular, the song translated as Evil Blood sees Marko use heavy growls and a sort of hissing vocal style. There may be a sense of anger that he was feeling at the time that this album was written. It is very likely that he was angry at the time and he just wanted to let it all out.
Final Thoughts About the Album Death's Singing Grounds
Nonetheless this 2006 studio album by Mokoma is a positive step in the right direction as they would get even better as a group. Kurimus was their peak moment for thrash metal. Their first two albums were more progressive in nature and 2004 wouldn’t really see them decline at all. If you have listened through their previous works and still hung in there in spite of the language barrier, you are really going to have to pat yourself on the back for a job well done! .
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 Ara Vahanian