NWOFHM #9: Fly, on your way, like a butterfly!
After three excellent singles, Abbot from Pori, Finland (home of Jussi Lehtisalo and his New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal), released their first full length almost exactly one year ago and it's pretty damn cool. The quartet is certainly a peculiar beast and another strong player in the superb Finnish doom (well, they're barely doom but they still count!) scene. Definitely in the same vein as some of Lehtisalo's projects (similar to Pharaoh Overlord's trad metal albums or the rockier stuff Circle stuff), I really liked this weird record decorated with a glorious butterfly (I still don't understand the reference... if there's one!).
Just imagine if Neil Young went to Finland, stayed there for twenty years and decided that doom, stoner metal and southern rock were cool things instead of doing yet another Bob Dylan or Gordon Lightfoot homage recorded in a telephone booth by Jack White and you aren't too far from the actual truth given to you by Abbot. Their music is rooted in southern tinged doom but there's a big classic rock influence here, I'm sure your uncle who's into Lynyrd Skynyrd would like this record! While probably not as adventurous as some of their previous singles like “Into the Light” and its harmonica introduction or the long winded power of “Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson”, the album is weird in its own way with its mix of slower, blues tracks like the superb “Mr. Prowler Man” and speedier metal tracks like “Moonsnake Child”. It's something special but it remains surprisingly quite authentic and vintage and wouldn't sound out of place on a lineup with Kadavar. I do think they're better than most of the current vintage fad though since they have those bonkers elements often found in the Finland scene that I really cherish.
They also possess this sort of garage/alternative rock influence (not too far from Dinosaur Jr.) and that's adding another layer to their nuts salad. They have this sort of tangle fun found in late 80s college rock and this combined with their southern doom basis creates one hell of a mix. There's also a lot of sleaze and grease on Between... like on the cool “Grave Encounters” that makes you feel like you're in the bayou but in reality, you're naked in a sauna with four overgrown Finnish toddlers drinking endless bottles of Karhu. Jakonen's vocals have this nasal quality and I bet he plays Dylan and Young covers when he's with his dad or something. His delivery fits the huge bluesy guitar of Jussi Jokinen (apparently not the hockey player currently playing for the Florida Panthers) who's bludgeoning your skull with thick fuzzy riffs and feelsy solos without compromises. The album is a bit short (33 minutes) and 1 or 2 doomier and slower tracks would had been nice but the soulful closer “Keep On Moving” does the job wonderfully. I'd probably kill a bunch of butterflies to be able to see this band live, it's just really good music transcending generational gaps and it delivers on all front.