Festerday - Iihtallan - (7/10)
Published on March 3, 2019
“Better late than never”: when it comes to finnish death metal band Festerday, no other expression is more suitable. Formed in 1989, dissolved in 1992, and then reunited in 2013, the band comes out, thirty years after its birth, with its first full-lenght, the bizarrely-named “Iihtallan”, a solid piece of death metal in old scandinavian fashion, reminescent of works of bands like Carcass (well, you could see it coming considering the band’s name), Dismember and Bloodbath.
Heavy, chord-based riffing played by down-tuned, buzzsaw-sounding guitars, a bit of melody scattered here and there, devastating drumming with the occasional blast-beated section, tight vocals consisting in morbid growls or psychotic, black-metalish screams alike: the key elements of northern Europe’s death metal vein are present and plain for everyone to see. This, however, is both the main strength and the greatest weakness of “Iihtallan”: while surely this kind of sound may appeal to a lot of old-school deathsters, on the other hand, since the beginning of opener “Edible Excrement” (gotta love the name), one knows exactly what to expect for the entire duration of the album (more than fifty minutes, definitely too much to be honest), that is, straightforward, old-fashioned death metal that leaves absolutely no room for experimentations of any kind, save a vague black-metalish contamination in a few tracks of the second half of the CD.
That said, the album surely makes up for an entertaining listen, even if, as I already anticipated, it may result a bit tiring and repetitive towards the end, due to its excessive length. Musically speaking however, the platter is undeniably solid, without weak tracks to be found. Spot on the production, which manages to result at the same time raw and modern, with a full, nicely fuzzy guitar tone, powerful sounding drums, and an absolutely evil overlayering done with the vocals. The volumes are perfectly balanced and every instrument finds plenty of space to breathe.
Album highlights include heavy, crushing midtempos like “Edible Excrement”, the Carcass-inspired “Your Saliva, My Vagina”, or the black-metalish “Let Me Entertain Your Entrails”, with its furious blast beats and the intense tremolo picking. “Iihtallan” will surely please fans of old-school extreme metal, and although it does not stand as an innovative or particularly original album, it’s undeniably solid and well-composed, making up for a gory auditive experience for any death metal aficionado. “Iihtallan” can be listened to in full on youtube, on Season of Mist’s official channel.