Kauan - Tietäjän Laulu
BadMoodMan
Melodic Doom, Neofolk
6 songs (52:52)
Release year: 2008
BadMoodMan (Solitude Productions)
Reviewed by Goat

Russian duo Kauan explore the melodic side of depressive music here on their band’s second full-length. With wonderful use of Neofolk influences, especially on acoustic-guitar-and-violin opener Instead Of Tears, the band make simply beautiful music that will appeal as much to the Post-Rock crowd as it does the Doomsters. In fact, there are so few actual riffs present that I hesitate to dub this Metal at all much of the time; bar the rare late-Burzum styled ambience of a fuzzy riff, this focuses fully on the interplay between Anton Belov’s guitars and keyboards and Lyubov Mushnikova’s violin. It’s like a cross between Sigur Rós and an ambient Funeral Doom group with the emphasis firmly on the former, although there are moments which turn their attention from melancholy to being subtly ominous; the latter part of Kyynelten Sijaan does this, as does the surprisingly dark throat-singing that opens Mother’s Song and Transparent Flower. These moments never last long, however, and indeed, the only growls present on the album are so rare as to be practically unnoticeable – on the longest track, for example, the twelve-minute Äidin Laulu, they’re gone before you notice them as the track goes on to sound like a Neofolk version of Ozzric Tentacles, weird keyboard noises mixing with hand percussion and group-sung vocals.

Although I’ve not heard it, Kauan’s previous album Lumikuuro is apparently more Black Metal-influenced, and if the band are moving away from Metal towards an expansive, Tenhi-esque folk sound (Kauan was the title of that band's debut album, fans will be pleased to note) then they have very little territory left to travel! Of the Neofolk that I have heard in my limited forays into the fascinating genre, they rarely sound more pastoral than this, the lush depictions of natural landscapes here simply gorgeous. It’s a pleasant, folk-strewn horizon, which even has two guest members playing the buben (tambourine) and duda (Hungarian bagpipe) but it can sometimes feel that the aural mountains and valleys that the best Neofolk bands use as inspiration in their music are lacking slightly. Yet Tietäjän Laulu is somehow a good album; despite lacking those peaks and troughs there is a great deal of emotion present. The gentle vocals and delicate piano of Mother’s Song especially are wistful and longing, as well as the aforementioned wonderfully evocative usage of keyboard melodies on Äidin Laulu. It’s interesting to note that despite being a Russian band a good deal of the lyrics are in Finnish, something exceedingly rare as far as I can tell with my limited knowledge of the two countries’ history. Although frontman Anton is apparently quite young, he has created an interesting, mature sound that is as graceful as it is melodic; Kauan should have no problem finding a fanbase with releases as good as this.

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Killing Songs :
Instead Of Tears, Mother’s Song, Äidin Laulu
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Kauan that we have reviewed:
Kauan - Sorni Nai reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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