At first glance at the cover of "Kauan", I knew this had to be mine! A seductively stark depiction of what looks to be a mountain lake in the early morning hours, with a dense fog hovering above the water, obscuring the forested background. Opening the booklet, we find a cabin on presumably the same lake, a dense fog still lingering in the milieu. At one point, I had to wonder, would the music suit the alluring cover and insert photos? It seems to happen all-too-often nowadays that I find an album with a rather striking cover, but containing music that is unworthy of such visuals to say the least!
As I popped in "Kauan" for the first time, however, I slipped into an "instant conscious coma", as though I had been destined to find this album and thus become spiritually complete? This is just a startlingly moody affair, with the melancholy dripping from it by the gallon (or litre, depending where you're from ;-)). It is propelled by strictly acoustic and clean-channel guitars, soft yet commanding vocal melodies (sung all in the band's native Finnish), and perfectly subtle keyboard/piano textures. It all comes together to induce a somewhat hypnagogic mental state. I am inclined to say I have dreamt of finding an album like "Kauan" for many moons, or perhaps I am dreaming right now as I listen to it for the umpteen-thousandth time since purchasing it just 26 days ago. If only I'd had this to suit the many cloudy mornings of yesteryears...
Come to think, this album doesn't even resemble anything "Metal" in the least! It is purely acoustic, folk-based music (in the Finnish style), but that is a style which many Metal-bands have integrated into their heavier sounds for greater dynamic shade. I'd always had a yearning to hear some bands taking the folk aspect in their music and exploiting it on an entire album, such as AMORPHIS doing an entire album's worth of songs in the "My Kantele (acoustic reprise)"-vein (one of my favourites in their catalogue).
If you have this same craving or, like me, are disillusioned by said band's current Rump-Rock-direction on their two recent efforts, then I suggest you seek out "Kauan" at all costs. I can pretty much give you a 100%-or-your-money-back guarantee that you will be awe-stricken (void where prohibited)...
An absolutely picturesque display of what a band can accomplish by simply "unplugging".