“Thank you, sir, may I have another!”
This is how I feel when gripped in the furious talons of Finland’s D-beat maelstrom Kohti Tuhoa. Their latest album Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta is an ultraviolent hellride, a potent experience that’s over before you can breathe, as it leaves you broken, bruised and begging for more.
Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta served as my introduction to Kohti Tuhoa — a vicious jump-in to the riotous music they wield with brutal efficiency. But much like such an initiation, there is an undercurrent of camaraderie beneath the savagery. The band are both the roiling mosh pit that sends you flying onto your back as well as the helpful hand reaching down through the sea of bodies to help you back up to your feet. Though vocalist Helena Hiltunen screams with the primal force of a surging tempest, the grinding music behind her is infectiously catchy.
The songs of Kohti Tuhoa are on the surface chaotic, but to stop there fails to appreciate the intelligence of their songsmithery. Written with a decisive hand, these songs are abrupt anthems of urgency forged in a mold led by expediency as its guiding light. In D-beat and hardcore at large, the music often serves a supplementary role of conveyance as a foundation upon with the lyrics can shine. It is the message of the music which carries the priority. Even without understanding a single word of Finnish, it is obvious that Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta is charged with an undeniable intensity, much of which hangs on the indomitable authenticity of Hiltunen’s stabbing howls.
Much like these songs, this review will be kept short and sweet. Kohti Tuhoa are proud standard-bearers of Finland’s rich hardcore scene, and if Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta is any indication, it is a world well worth further exploration — though you may want to bring some Band-Aids.
Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta drops Friday, November 24th on Southern Lord. Stream the album now on Kohti Tuhoa’s Bandcamp.