Album Review: Festerday – “Iihtallan”

festerday - iihtallan

First of all, thank you Festerday for your name, as it has been a blast having to almost rage break my computer for every time it autocorrected your name to Yesterday.  Also for your album name, which constantly has me pronouncing it “Italian!” (exclamation included) even though it is, in fact, called Iihtallan.  All is forgiven, though, as once I actually play your music I am greeted by the sweetest of Swedish death metal of the old school variety, filtered through the dank and depraved lens of your Finnish heritage.  In other words, good stuff.

The touchstones are all laid bare on Iihtallan, from Carcass and Carnage to shades of Asphyx, but with lyrical content more akin to early Cannibal Corpse with titles like “Tongues for Rotten Kisses” and “Let Me Entertain Your Entrails.”  The band has been around in mostly the same configuration since 1989, releasing a few demos and a split in 1991 before going through various name changes – most notably …And Oceans as well as Havoc Unit.  Since coming back to the Festerday moniker in 2013 there’s been a compilation, a few splits and as of this year a couple of EPs as the band got ready for their full length debut on Season of Mist.

So has the time been kind to Festerday’s brand of old school pummeling?  Like I said: Iihtallan is good stuff.  Nothing here is reinventing the genre to be sure, but the energy and vibe is 100% there on kickoff track “Edible Excrement.”  And when they find a good hook they can put it to devastating uses as they do on “Vomiting Pestilence” and “Into the Void,” where things slow down a bit and the band lets the menace come through with dripping hooks in the pre-chorus, modulating down and up to give it that extra twist of the knife.

Production-wise there’s nothing at fault here, everything sounds like it came right out of the early to mid-90s.  If there’s a complaint I have it’s that it sounds so much like the music coming out at the time it works more as nostalgia than something I might return to time and time again.  And at 53 minutes it’s a tad long: when the songs tend to have this much consistency maybe trimming it down a bit to your 9-10 strongest tracks would make for a punchier, more complete package.  You forget that though when you hear really driving tracks like “Constructive Decomposition” but overall I think the “less is more” approach would have worked here.

festerday
Festerday

Minor quibbles aside, there’s plenty Festerday have to offer on Iihtallan to make fans of the old school happy.  If this thing is your bag, good news: the sound is great and the songs are suitably dank and dismal, and will get you moving.  Now that Festerday finally got a full length off their collective chest, I’m looking forward to what they do next.

– Chris


Iihtallan is available January 4 via Season of Mist.  For more information on Festerday, check out their Facebook page.

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