Ajattara Kuolema

Carrying on in the dark and venomous spirit of their debut, Ajattara is back. A side project for Amorphis’s Pasi Koskinen (known here as Ruoja), Ajattara is evil-sounding Finnish black metal, so "true” that there’s not a single word of English to be found — in song or print. There’s little to distinguish Kuolema from Ajattara’s initial efforts, but the new album is a little smoother, as if the members are getting comfortably settled in their alternate identities. The songs on Kuolema are generally very harsh, and drive forward with a relentless rhythm. But melody isn’t entirely foreign to the record, as "Ikiyössä” demonstrates, and though often creepy, the keyboard parts provide a little space from the driving drone of guitars. Be forewarned — Kuolema is not for the faint of heart. (Spikefarm)