Album Review: Stolen Kidneys – “Maailma loppuu” 8/10 (Noise/Sludge)

Written by Ellis Heasley

Stolen KidneysMaailma loppuu
Noise Rock/Sludge/Hardcore from Oulu, Finland
Releases October 1, 2021 via Trepanation Recordings

It seems like there’s a lot of music that deals with the idea of the end of the world at the moment. Perhaps that’s just the natural response to a global pandemic arriving amid the general misery of living in a capitalist hellscape. Maailma loppuu, the second full-length from Finnish four-piece Stolen Kidneys, seems to be another such record. Its title translates to “The World Ends”, which definitely feels fitting given the band’s apocalyptic sound. Theirs is a mix of 90s noise rock and post-hardcore, but with this then crushed under several mountains of bleak Neurosis-esque sludge.

Stolen Kidneys don’t make any effort to round off their sharp edges on Maailma loppuu. This is a raw, chaotic record with an intensely live feel to proceedings. The drums are frenzied and energetic, moving things along at a decent pace as the guitars provide a mix of sludge-caked riffing and angular noise rock style leads. Of course, there’s a thick layer of distortion on just about everything too, something which only adds to the record’s oppressive, in-your-face feel. 

The album is also Stolen Kidneys’ first with vocalist Christopher Livingstone, with vocals on their previous record presumably handled by one of the original trio of Antti Henttonen (drums), Jari Montonen (guitars), and Heikki Raudaskoski (bass). Livingstone fits perfectly with the band’s overall sound, their pained screams adding a bleak and tortured feel to proceedings that even leans towards screamo at points.

Photograph by Iiris Tuisku. Layout by Heikki Raudaskoski.

While there’s no question Stolen Kidneys are great at doing manic, chaotic post-hardcore (for proof look no further than opening one-two of “Ovi Sulkeutuu” and “Aika Parantaa Kaikki Haavat”), Maailma loppuu is arguably at its most compelling when the band allow themselves to spend a little more time with their ideas. Third track “Tunturi” (named after a mountain in Lapland) illustrates this well. It’s a more atmospheric and doomy piece which ends on a lengthy stretch of hypnotic riffing for one of the record’s most cacophonous moments of all. Sixth track “Ei Kestä” (translation: “You’re Welcome”) is another fine example, its near seven-minute runtime allowing the band to stretch themselves a bit more in terms of dynamics. For the most part, Livingstone takes a back seat on this one, and as a result their vocals hit harder still when they finally do come in.

With a relatively short runtime of 32 minutes, it can be easy for Maailma loppuu to wash by in a general sea of frantic intensity, but if you pay attention you’ll hear a band with plenty to offer. In drawing from a few different wells of inspiration, Stolen Kidneys have a pretty unique sound that should appeal to fans of hardcore, screamo, noise rock, and even doom and post-metal. The fact that it’s releasing via Trepanation Recordings should be reason enough to check it out this Friday, but add to that a general urgency and an all-round solid execution and you owe it to yourself to give this one a go.

Rating: 8/10

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