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Kiuas - The new dark age 4/5

Reviewed: 8-8-08


1. The decaying
2. Conqueror
3. Kiuas war anthem
4. The new dark age
5. To excel and ascend
6. Black rose withered
7. After the storm
8. Of sacrifice, loss and reward
9. The summoning
10. The wonderer's lamentation

Kiuas is a dark power metal band out of Finland, who formed in 2000. ‘The new dark age’ is their 3rd CD since their debut in 2005. With modern thrashy elements to their music, Kiuas are another up and coming metal band trying to make their mark, and now they have reached their all important 3rd CD.

Forming in 2000, Kiuas released 2 demos in 2002 and 2003, which was followed by an EP in 2004, called ‘Winter in june’. The demos and the EP must have made a difference, because later in that year the band was picked up by Spinefarm Records. In 2005, Kiuas released their debut CD entitled ‘The spirit of ukko’, and their 2nd CD ‘Reformation’ in 2006. Both of these CDs received a great deal of praise from the metal world. Now here is the band’s all important 3rd CD and ‘The new dark age’ is pinned as their greatest effort yet. And going by the sounds of it, I am inclined to agree.

‘The new dark age’ is quite heavy and the thrashy elements gives their music a really satisfying dark feel throughout. Add to that, the raspy and strong vocals of singer Ilja Jalkanen, whose passion and delivery reminds me a little of Iced Earth’s Matt Barlow. He has great range, but tends to stick to a mid-level to deliver his vocals. Ilja’s voice won’t soar to the skies on here, this is not what this CD is about; it’s the opposite. On a few tracks, Jalkanen breaks out the rough, death metal style vocals, but still clear and understandable to the ear. In a nutshell, his vocals work perfectly into the music. The guitar riffs throughout the CD are deep, dark and chunky, with no real “guitar wankery” to speak of at all. These guys just get on with the job, and the solid guitar playing of Mikko Salovaara really needs to be mentioned.

Adding another layer to their music, Kiuas has begun to move away from the viking/folk influences which was affluent in their debut and a little in their 2nd CD. Instead, a more melodic feel has crept into their sound. The keyboards are also not used like your typical power metal band, where sometimes they would try to compete with the guitarists. On ‘The new dark age’, the keys remain in the background, but still play an important part in every track, guiding the feel and direction of the tracks. The drumming must be given a mention here. Markku Näreneva does a great job behind the kit, breaking out some pounding double-bass beats, and even sometimes some black metal blast-beats.

In such a solid and impressive CD, there are plenty of memorable tracks which will get your head banging and your fist pumping. The 3 best tracks on ‘The new dark age’ include “Conqueror”, “The new dark age” and “To excel and ascend”. These 3 tracks basically sum up the quality of this CD; and really shows how good Kiuas can be. Some other standout tracks include “Kiuas war anthem”, “Black rose withered” and “Of sacrifice, loss and reward”.

I’m greatly impressed with this CD and I’m jacked that I never heard of this band until just recently. Hopefully these guys can really make a name for themselves now after this CD, which is easily their strongest effort. And it’s also great to see more power metal bands of this quality emerging from Finland. The new brigade has certainly arrived, especially now more than ever. Anyone who loves the darker side of power metal should seriously pick this CD up, and that also goes for fans of modern thrashy heavy metal. Remember this name: Kiuas.




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