Awaken from Slumber
My interest in Finnish death metal soared at the start of this year with the introduction of Vorum and their excellent debut full length, resulting in me digging deeper and deeper into Finnish death metal history. It certainly helps that Xtreem Music has been putting our reissues of classic Finnish death metal over the past years, resulting in my first encounter with Purtenance and their 1992 album, Member of Immortal Damnation which left me rather breathless.
And with their return last year after an almost 20-year hiatus, the band quickly released a short 6-track EP Sacrifice the King, and finally their sophomore full length release this year in the form of Awaken from Slumber. With the lineup now boasting 2 new members along with Harri and Juha from the original incarnation of the band, Purtenance strikes back stronger than ever and fans of the band can be assured that despite the long break that they have taken, none of their style, nor aggressiveness has been removed.
The introductory track is one such instance to remind fans of the band Purtenance‘s style, being rather soothing and calming yet haunting, before all hell break loose with Hatred, a short, grindish 27-second track. Things really start to get heated up with What was Hidden, and the ugliness in Purtenance‘s music becomes really evident. The crushing riffs of Juha and Nokelainen along with the alternating between violent blast beats and more simplistic, energetic d-beat quickly remind one of their other compatriots such as Abhorrence and Convulse. The latter especially so with the heavy usage of atmospheric and ambient effects to keep things dark and ugly.
Furthermore, Ville’s vocals help to give the band a slight Rottrevore or even Putrevore touch, leaving the listener feeling all the more uneasy, with the crushing intensity and filthy backdrop at times being rather reminiscent of Incantation or bands like Grave Miasma as well.
Yet the band does not simply dwell in their past as there are instances where the band attempts to include some elements of groove into their music as well, such as on Toxic Death, where there is some slight Bolt Thrower or Jungle Rot that could be spotted, though obviously put to a much heavier extent over here.
The excellence that exudes from Purtenance‘s first full length album after their activation is evidence of the band’s stature in the old school Finnish death metal scene. And with this album, the band has indeed awoken from slumber, ready to dish out more relentless Finnish death metal onto the unsuspecting masses.