Ounas I


"Ounas I" is the third full-length album from the Finnish band, SUOTANA. Their name translates […]
April 17, 2023
Suotana - Ounas I album cover

"Ounas I" is the third full-length album from the Finnish band, SUOTANA. Their name translates to "Satan Swamp" in Finnish. The album's title and two of its tracks refer to the Finnish river and Lake Ounass. At their core, SUOTANA plays melodic black/death metal. On this album, there are also elements of symphonic and power metal. All of these styles and elements come together nicely, making for an epic and enjoyable experience. "Lake Ounas (The Beginning)" is an introductory instrumental track that succeeds in drawing the listener in and preparing them for the rest of the album. There's heavy use of synthesizers and symphonic elements provided by Tommi Neitola. At times, this track ventures into movie score territory, which underlines the epic nature of "Ounas I."

"The Ancient" starts with a reserved keyboard melody. A chorus of voices is added in before the song explodes into black metal fury. The synth elements are used to accentuate the surrounding music and never become overpowering. Neitola's keyboards are just what this track needs. This song, as well as the entire album, features both black and death metal vocals. Both vocalists have individual parts as well as parts where they both sing simultaneously. There is a moment when the synth notes get heavy-handed, but that is brief and only a minor concern. "Legacy" begins in much the same way as most of the tracks on this album, with a keyboard number that swells into a black metal onslaught. This fast clip is maintained for the majority of this track. There's even a bit of clean backup vocals thrown in for good measure. This is one of those songs where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The guitar solos are on point, helping make this a track to rally behind. The expert-level songwriting ensures that no one element overstays its welcome. The chorus of male vocals at the song's finale is one of the album's high points.

The thirteen-minute "River Ounas" is the album's magnum opus. There are plenty of choral parts, and their juxtaposition with the gritty extreme metal vocals is a perfect match. The vocal chorus is present throughout the song's entirety, ebbing and flowing depending on what works best for each particular thematic beat. There is one questionable part where a synth solo ventures into THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT territory, but that bit is short-lived and can be better appreciated upon return plays. Thirteen minutes is long for a black metal song but in the case of "River Ounas" the time flies by. While every track on "Ounas I" is excellent, this one is by far the album's zenith.

If I were to sum up "Ounas I" in one word, that word would be "epic." The entire album gives off the same feeling as watching a pivotal battle against insurmountable odds play out on the silver screen. Detractors may say that SUOTANA borrowed too much of their inspiration from the epic black metal band, SUMMONING, but there is more than enough awesomeness to set SUOTANA apart from their contemporaries. "Ounas I" demonstrates the power of black metal to quicken the pulse and enthrall the senses.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








"Ounas I" Track-listing:

1. Lake Ounas (The Beginning)
2. Through the Mammoth Valley
3. The Ancient
4. Legacy
5. River Ounas
6. Land of the Dead

Suotana Lineup:

Ville Rautio - Guitars, Vocals, Songwriting
Pasi Portaankorva - Guitars
Rauli Juopperi - Drums
Tommi Neitola - Keyboards
Tuomo Marttinen - Vocals
Rauli Alaruikka - Bass

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