Kiuas - The Spirit Of Ukko
Spinefarm Records
Power Metal
8 songs (42:20)
Release year: 2005
Kiuas, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The news that Finnish Power Metal gods Kiuas will be releasing a new album soon was more than enough to pull me out of the blue funk I'd been in since the end of a hard day at the metaphysical coalface of capitalism. I've spoken before on these pages about the restorative effect that a good dosage of Power Metal can have on me, and Kiuas' blend of Children Of Bodommy technical musicianship and Hammerfallist expert songwriting skills are the perfect combination for those in need of a Power Metal pick-me-up. The Spirit Of Ukko, released in 2005, was their debut full-length, and it's a highlight of the decade for me in Power Metal terms, crushing their much-hyped countrymen and outperforming even giants like Iced Earth. Kiuas' blend of styles under the all-encompassing Power Metal banner is rarely hailed like it deserves to be - originality in the genre these days means simply not stealing riffs from Iron Maiden, after all. New listeners will be amazed at the vast number of moments of splendid brilliance that come and go quickly, a Testament-esque bit of Thrash here, some classic Melodic Death there, Blackened blastbeats and Gore-ridden growls all making The Spirit Of Ukko an album that simply heaves with life.

Indeed, picking highlights is difficult simply because of the uniform quality. The title track kicks things off almost too well, mixing heaviness and catchy melody terrifically with some impressive vocal gymnastics from Ilja Jalkanen - his mildly gruff and totally manly voice is just as capable of soaring majestically as any Italian helium addict, and gives cheesy vocal lines like 'on wings of death we riiiiiiiiide!' added oomph. Intense pounders like No More Sleep For Me use 80s Rock as a launching pad to hit Power Metal perfection, whilst Warrior Soul brings the blastbeats before veering towards pastures Prog. All is good, all is great; folky flutes and catchy singalongs on Across The Snows, a perfect ballad in Black Rose Immortal, before And The North Star Cries goes crunchily prog, a string quartet giving some classical backing to the band's epic meandering.

In Finnish legend, "Ukko" was the name of the greatest of the gods, and that feeling of ancient power runs through the album. All too often Power Metal albums are lifeless and plastic, like cloned and lobotomised lab specimens marching in a straight line, saluting their grim-faced fans in a nightmarish world where nearly every piece of music sounds exactly the same. Think of Kiuas as the rebels, the freedom fighters who are changing the natural order of things simply by not playing exactly what everyone else is. Such bands are rare, and deserve to be cherished - they put the Power in Power Metal.

Killing Songs :
The Spirit Of Ukko, No More Sleep For Me, Warrior Soul, Black Rose Immortal, And The North Star Cries
Goat quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Kiuas that we have reviewed:
Kiuas - Lustdriven reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Kiuas - The New Dark Age reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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