Turmion Kätilöt – U.S.C.H.! (2008)
I want to say this band was a major influence on my own music, but I don’t know if the timeline would fit. These Finns (who will from here on out be referred to as “TK” because I need umlauts to do their full name justice, and I think I lost my keyboard region changing shortcut when I upgraded to Windows 8.1) do love their dense synthesizer soundscapes over heavy guitar, so we definitely have something in common. Whether or not they directly inspired my efforts probably isn’t that important anyways. Anyways, TK seems to belong to the ‘pop’ lineage of industrial metal, which puts them in company of such musicians like NIN, albeit with way better guitar and drum tone. That might be kind of subjective, anyways.
I’d guess that TK is rather similar to Rammstein on steroids, since they share a love of transgressive imagery and major rock/metal influences. Not that I’m particularly familiar with Rammstein (although I’ve heard good things), but like many of the bands I bring up on this blog, having a frame of reference is sure handy. It does mean that while this band has a major synthesizer presence in their songs, it rarely carries the melodies and riffs. The band has a bit of a dual-vocalist thing going on, with one major harsh voxbox driving most of them through the art of the midrange snarl. A session vocalist adds sung vocals to some of the choruses. One problem with TK being from Finland and performing much of their work in Finnish is that it makes it harder for me to find concrete information on who the members are, but worrying about that too much would detract from the quality of the reviews here. The ensemble that performs on U.S.C.H.! seems pretty standard, anyways. While the songwriting is relatively simplistic, it has some odd decisions that render it particularly distinctive in my mind. The most notable of these is the chord progressions, which while generally consonant, seem to modulate in a way that’s at odds with the general rock/metal influences. It seems that TK’s guitarist likes to base his riffs in scale fragments, hence the interesting modulations.
When I think about it, this band might not be too hard to taxonomize. They certainly win some points in my book for their idiosyncracies and their overall levels of intensity. NIN and Ministry fans will probably get a kick out of them. I certainly did after immersing myself in those two long ago.
Highlights: “U.S.C.H”, “Pakanamaan Kartta”, “Arise”