The mere mention of Finnish doom metal brings to mind classic bands such as Reverend Bizarre, Lord Vicar and Hooded Menace and now there’s a new name worth mentioning in the same breath…..and they go by the name of Caskets Open.
As this suggests, this power-trio has plenty of melodic doom metal chops to challenge the big guns but they also have another weapon in their stylistic arsenal – speedy hardcore punk! Imagine, if you will, Reverend Bizarre fusing their ultra-slow sludge with the punk of Earth A.D.-era Misfits and you’ll have a firm idea of what to expect from Caskets Open’s 4th album, Concrete Realms of Pain.
This may sound like an unlikely cross-pollination but Caskets Open have mastered their brand of melodic “doomcore” here. Throughout 47 minutes of emotional and tortured bipolar extremes, nothing about Caskets Open sounds contrived with the trio managing to vacillate easily between the two extreme genres without a hitch.
The production on Concrete Realms of Pain is appropriately old-school and has a classic analog quality that adds to Caskets Open’s nostalgic appeal. Performance wise, guitarist Antti Ronkainen keeps his playing simple and heavy – with minimal amounts of shredding – while drummer Pyry Ojala approaches his drums with a Bill Ward-meets-Chuck Biscuits attack and bassist Ketola is more Eerie Von than Geezer Butler. Singer and bassist Temo Ketola sounds like an unholy fusion of Glenn Danzig and Reverend Bizarre’s Albert Witchfinder; further cementing the bands ‘doom with punk influences’ approach.
Overall, Concrete Realms of Pain is a fun journey through Caskets Open’s fusion of blue-collar styles. Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of variation on display but that tends to be true about so many other doom metal and punk rock bands. We say embrace the raw fury and desolate doom found here, as it’s sure to satisfy those who crave a little doomcore in their lives! 8/10