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Kõdu – Unusta Kõik

Unusta Kõik
by Gary Hernandez at 03 May 2021, 8:58 PM

I don’t recall running into too many metal bands from Estonia, so when I received my review copy of the debut album by KÕDU I was intrigued. After listening to “Unusta Kõik” my sentiment shifted from mildly intrigued to much impressed. KÕDU hails from the capital city, Tallinn. They started as a project in 2018 with vocalist Count Vincent von Arckharum and multi-instrumentalist “Kõdu” Kangus. They have since expanded to a full band, adding rhythm guitarist Samantha Surmatalv, bassist KuradiSiim, and drummer Inferator.

The band’s name translates to “decay” and the album title to “forget everything.” There is a poetical and philosophical nuance at play here. The band has noted that their name hearkens to the more nature-oriented usage—e.g. “All that is living once came from nothing and, at some point, returns to nothing.” On one hand, the album title can be seen to reference a nullification of experience, but on the other a return to the essence from whence we came.

Lyrically the album focuses on nature and man’s connection to it and to the philosophy of Northern tribes who lived in the Estonia region. Keep in mind, Estonia has been inhabited since about 9,000 BCE and was one of the last regions in Europe to adopt Christianity (circa 13th century following the Livonian Crusade). Those are some deep pagan roots. “Unusta Kõik” excavates and examines those roots.

There is an interesting fusion of classic with dissonance on this album. Some of the lyrics have been inspired by the works of Estonian poets such as Juhan Liiv, Ilmar Särg, and Peeter Ora then reimagined and placed to music. The cover art is by Ernst Hermann Schlichting, an Estonian painter from the 19th century. And there is even a cello intro on the last track and many of the compositions have a discordant jazz ambiance to them. In short, there is a lot of invention going on with the album. Its musical arrangements are innovative, taking unexpected but always evocative twists. I should also mention the mixing and mastering are well executed, providing clear separation while still capturing the visceral core of Black Metal.

Standout tracks are “Sügispime” (trans: Autumn blind), probably the one track that best exemplifies the band; “Ma Kõngen” (trans: I’m walking) which is exquisitely heavy and aggressive; “Aheldatud Klaasi” (trans: chained glass) which showcases the band’s explorative side; and “Loatus” (trans: permission) the final and longest track.

KÕDU’s debut album “Unusta Kõik” has been several years in the making from the early days of the project in 2018 to the current lineup today. If you are just finding them, the good news is their entire catalogue consists of one album, so welcome to the ground floor! This will definitely be a band to keep your eye on.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1.  Sügispime
2.  Aheldatud Klaasi
3.  Aeg
4.  Ma Kõngen
5.  Kaotsin
6.  Kui minna suurele teele
7.  Raev
8.  Laotus
Count Vincent von Arckharum – Vocals
“Kõdu” Kangus – Guitars
Samantha Surmatalv – Guitars
KuradiSiim – Bass
Inferator – Drums
Record Label: Nigredo Records


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