Menneisyyden Laulut (2012) is the second album released by Finnish project Linnalapsi. The music of Linnalapsi is something I never thought I’d come across – Industrial Folk Metal. That’s despite often claiming that folk metal can be formed using any metal genre as a base. I never thought I’d see this mix, since to me the two genres are placed at opposite ends of the metal spectrum. Menneisyyden Laulut is available as a name your price download, including free, so with nothing to lose, I decided to see if it could actually work, even in the knowledge that the only ‘real’ aspect of the music is the vocals of lone member Casey Poma. The rest of the album was done in the Midi format. So basically Linnalapsi’s music consists of just vocals and programming.
Having a lack of real instruments will most likely be frowned upon by some. I was apprehensive about it myself. But it still takes talent to compose music whether your medium is a computer or a guitar, and I think Menneisyyden Laulut does show some potential for Industrial Folk Metal. The music basically sounds like a toned down Rammstein with folk elements, although some of the songs swing in favour of one genre over the other. I say toned down, because I don’t think using a computer to make your music is ever going to have the same impact as the real thing, although I can’t help but admire Poma for not letting the lack of having instruments get in the way of releasing his compositions.
And he does show talent as a composer. His skill as a vocalist is rather questionable although he is generally able to carry his stuff in its current state, although I wonder if his voice would work if the instruments were real where in which case I expect the riffs would have more power behind them (the toned down thing again). Honestly though the thirteen songs he’s included on this album are a mixed bag. Some, such as In My Dreams, are actually very good folk metal pieces, but since we’re talking a fifty plus minute album here there are many times for its duration where the obvious programmed sounds begin to grate on me. I can’t therefore say I particularly like Menneisyyden Laulut as an album, and I doubt I will listen to it again once I’ve got my thoughts down for this review, but I can appreciate what Poma is doing here and, should he ever get a band who have real instruments around him, and maybe a better vocalist, because honestly I can’t stomach his voice for long, then I’d definitely be more than prepared to give his music another go whether it is released as Linnalapsi or something else entirely.
For now I have to consider that I came to this album interested in what it brings to folk metal, not being well versed or particularly interested in industrial metal. And looking at it as folk metal I have to compare it to artists who have not only actual guitars, basses and drums, but often actual traditional instruments to create their folk aspects and unfortunately Poma’s method is always going to have him at a disadvantage. Even so he included some better melodies in this album than I’ve heard from some artists who do have all those advantages and it is for that reason that I think a middle of the road rating is deserved. Menneisyyden Laulut was, if anything, much better than I ever expected it could be. If you have an open mind try it out, it may just surprise you.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))