Festerday- iihtallan

To say the history of Finnish Death Metallers Festerday is convoluted is like saying that the British Tory government has had a few mishaps recently. In a, sort of, thirty-year history, the band have undergone several changes of moniker and style, only returning to the name Festerday back in 2013, maintaining much of their core from 1989 with a line-up that has only taken a slight change since their return with Jani Kuoppamaa joining on drums. After a string of EP releases and splits in their early incarnation, this month sees them finally release a full-length debut in the solid, if unspectacular, iihtallan (Season Of Mist), where perhaps this varied history has had an impact.

Perhaps this is to be expected from a band that takes its name from a Carcass track, Festerday’s sound is predominantly old-school, but it does have a tendency to dabble in different styles to a subtle degree. For the most part, this is firmly rooted in classic Death Metal, with the likes of ‘Kill Your Truth’, ‘Flowers Of Stone’ and ‘Vomiting Pestilence’ sounding particularly reminiscent of early Morbid Angel and Immolation, varying between all-out onslaughts to slower, groovier entries.

‘Constructive Decomposition’ seems to usher in a rawness to its tone making it more akin to the likes of Aspyhx, which isn’t exactly a mammoth change of pace but it is a noticeable adjustment, before the ending brace of, ahem, ‘Your Saliva, My Vagina’ and ‘Let Me Entertain Your Entrails’ round off the album with a decisively more early Black Metal style, with frantic, piercing riffs and more shrieking, ice like vocals and a foreboding atmosphere, a turn that does feel jarring to proceedings. There is plenty of fun to be had on iihtallan, and a lot can be said for a lack of innovation if it proves enjoyable, but it does seem to be a little directionless otherwise.

2018 was a banner year for Death Metal of all styles, from underground to more household names, and whilst iihtallan is hardly a damning indictment of the year to come, it isn’t exactly the early candle holder for 2019 we may have hoped for. Aside from small but noticeable cohesion issues and a running time that goes a little too long, however, iihtallan is decent, at times raucously fun affair which is still worth a punt, if far from the best you will hear in the next twelve months.

5 / 10

CHRIS TIPPELL