Photo by Juha Karvonen
It's been seven long years since the unchallenged masters of Finnish funeral doom—the architects of the sound itself—have graced us with new material, so anticipation's running high for the band's newly-announced album, Ordeal. Slated for a September 18 release via Svart Records, the album's eight tracks stretch languidly over seventy-five minutes, and I can tell you right now that it's everything we'd hoped for, and a bit more. With time comes experience, with experience comes mastery, and with mastery comes perfection; Skepticism couldn't record a bad album if they tried, but it's still satisfying to note that they've created one that's this great.
They've just releases a new music video for the song "The Departure," and it's wonderfully dreary. There's velvet, and blue light, and cravats, and, soaring atop it all, there's Matti Tilaeus's bottomless roar. What more could you ask for, really?
Skepticism's never been much for orthodoxy, so it was an unsurprising surprise to learn that they decided to play around with the recording of what's ostensibly a comeback album. Ordeal was recorded live in front of an audience in Turku, Finland to enhance the mood, place some added pressure on the band to meet the highest expectations—and to trim the fat, according to keyboardist Eero Pöyry.
As he noted in a press release, "Recording the album live was a positive experience. I've come to think of Skepticism being at its best live, and the Ordeal session proved it for me. Having a whole day to concentrate in one shot at a perfect performance brought in a good pressure—and a bit of an ordeal, as well. Only being able to fit in what your hands and feet can do at a time made me play only the essential."
"Essential" is right. As mentioned previously. Ordeal is out 9/18 via Svart Records; the album will be available as a CD/DVD bundle and also as a LP/DVD set, featuring visual documentation of the whole Ordeal performance.
Kim Kelly is weeping openly on Twitter now - @grimkim