On August 26th, Kuolemanlaakso are back, unlike you’ve never heard them before! As the title aptly implies, M. Laakso – Vol. 1: The Gothic Tapes is the first solo album of Kuolemanlaakso mastermind Laakso. It showcases his songwriting catchier and more varied than ever, and it shall be released internationally by Svart Records.
“Kuolemanlaakso started out as my one-man solo project, which quickly escalated into a full-action monster with shows in the biggest clubs and metal festivals around Finland. As our singer Kotamäki will be occupied with Swallow the Sun’s touring duties for a long time, I finally had the opportunity to record an actual Kuolemanlaakso solo album,” Laakso rejoices.
Compared to the previous Kuolemanlaakso releases, a lot has changed and much has stayed the same. For starters, M. Laakso – Vol. 1: The Gothic Tapes is not a death-doom album. While the trademark heaviness, gloominess, and melancholy are still solidly present, the color palette is vastly wider. The album is a journey through a wide range of emotions steered by nyctophilia: love for the dark. Whereas Uljas uusi maailma (2012), Musta aurinko nousee (EP, 2013) and Tulijoutsen (2014) were compared to acts such as Celtic Frost, My Dying Bride, and Ajattara, one might hear echoes of Sisters of Mercy, Tiamat, Paradise Lost, and Amorphis on this release. What’s also different is the language, and using Laakso as the lead vocalist.
“I chose to do these songs in English, as they demanded a more musical language than Finnish. However, Finnish will always remain the only official language of the non-solo Kuolemanlaakso albums,” Laakso promises.
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Woodshed Studio, Germany, by V. Santura, with whom Kuolemanlaakso have worked with since the very beginning of their recording career. Santura also acts as a guitarist and backing vocalist of this special lineup, consisting of him and Kuolemanlaakso members Laakso (vocals, guitar, keys), Tiera (drums), and Usva (bass). The album also features guest performances by Mikko Kotamäki (Kuolemanlaakso, Swallow the Sun), Helena Haaparanta (Crimfall, Valo), and Jaani Peuhu (Iconcrash).
Listen to the first single “Roll the Dice with the Devil”, featuring Kotamäki and Peuhu on backing vocals.
Kuolemanlaakso’s latest album Tulijoutsen debuted at #10 on Finland’s Official Album Chart. It made notable appearances on the Album of the Year lists in Finland’s leading music publications, including Inferno, Soundi, Imperiumi.net, and Kaaoszine.fi. UK’s Soundscape Magazine chose it as the Top #1 Album of 2014.
Svart Records will release M. Laakso – Vol. 1: The Gothic Tapes on red and black vinyl (limited to 200 and 300 pieces), digital download, mini-gatefold CD, and limited-edition artbook CD (500 pieces) on August 26, 2016. The artbook includes an exclusive bonus track and a 24-page booklet with handwritten lyrics, photographic art, and exclusive liner notes for each song, all crafted by Laakso himself.