September 21, 2021 Dark the Suns – Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä (Album Review)
Ending seven years of silence, Dark the Suns return in 2021 with Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä through Inverse Records on April 9th. The years have brought several supporting members, but founder and mastermind Mikko Ojala returns to helm vocals, guitars, and drums, joined as always by Inka Tuomaala on bass, keyboards, and vocals. Formed in the late 2000s, the duo produced a steady output—In Darkness Comes Beauty (2007), All Ends in Silence (2009), and Sleepwalking in a Nightmare (2010), all for Firebox Records—with a rotating handful of members on guitar, drums, and keyboards, before the project faded in 2013. The core duo reconnected in time to release a single, “Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä,” in March 2020.
Gothic Metal is a razor-thin genre, and the slightest of wrong turns can quickly slice a band into campy territory. Unfortunately, Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä feels disjointed and lost, and is full of such turns to the wrong side of the blade. The title-track loosely translates to “grief raged in the darkness of my heart,” and so should be the flagship of absolute despair and darkness of the entire album. Instead, it alternates between Prog and Goth with an almost cartoonish gloom.
Other tracks bring foreboding despair much more effectively—look no closer than the next track, “Hope in Our Hands” and its neighbor “The Secrets of Time”—but the title track and “Seeker” stand out as the album in miniature: too upbeat and bright for the overall good. Where does this band see itself: a deep, dark hole for others to fall into or a shared emotion of sadness and despair for others to find solace? Because the album cannot be both, try as it might.
By the time tracks like “Taivas Itki Tulta” (“The Sky Cries Fire”) and “Shadows in the Void” roll through, the bulk of the effort has receded and Dark the Suns are just going through the motions of surface-skimming doom and gloom. The drums and piano fade away in an awkward footrace, while the vocals and guitar attempt to distract the listener’s attention accordingly. Dark the Suns can write some very haunting riffs and melodies, but when packaged into proper songs, the pieces lack cohesion and flow, and the end result fails.
The sparseness of closer “Enkelsiipi” brings some My Dying Bride vibes with its guitar and vocal work, but the accompanying keyboards and orchestration almost undermine the track; perhaps this is an issue of the band adding everything they want into a track, and then being tasked by a neutral third party to remove at least one or two of those elements. There are a number of strong feelings on this album, starting with the haunting guitar on the opener, through to the closer here, but as a whole these moments cancel each other out rather than augment each other.
Song to song, the album lacks a cohesive vision and leaves the listener frustrated as to the goal: equal parts cheeky Gothic Metal and morose, crushing Doom Metal, stuck between taking itself seriously and seriously not. Depending on which side of the razor listeners fall, this is either a lofty attempt or a saddening failure. As such, Cryptic Rock gives Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä 2.5 out of 5 stars.