Russian underground stalwarts Kauan’s new album, Ice Fleet, tells the story of an unidentified fleet that was discovered in Northern Russia in 1930 completely frozen in the permafrost with the bodies of its crew and passengers grotesquely preserved. It’s a grim tale, but not the first time the band has tackled a tragic event from their country’s history.
For example, their 2015 album, Somi Nai, told the story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which nine doomed hikers perished in a blizzard in the Ural Mountains. So, the band isn’t afraid to tackle heavy subject matter, it’s just this time the “heavy” has returned to their sound. Their previous two albums, which includes the one mentioned above and Kaiho (2017) both showcased their ambient post-rock and neofolk leanings. Both were excellent, but lacked some of the heavy, that categorized earlier releases.
Though, to say this band is predictable is major understatement, because they have dabbled in many different sub-genres of metal over the course of their 16-year, seven album, career. In addition, while they might be from Russia, they sing and write their songs in Finnish. In fact, their name is Finnish for “for a long time.”
Ice Fleet, which is their eighth album, showcases the band in fine form, basically telling the story of this doomed fleet, through the use of evocative post-rock and post-metal and sparse use of vocals. So, for the most part, they let their music do the talking.
What a tale it tells. This is one moving, somber album. You feel like you’re out there in the ocean, experiencing the freezing cold and the emotions of the people going through this ordeal. It’s as if, they’re scoring the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist. It’s dark and moody, when it needs to be, and adds the heavy when it needs to make a point, that more “moodier” music cannot make. Nothing is out of place. It is one soul stirring piece of music that should be listened to in a single sitting, to truly feel the full weight of the emotions on display.
Ice Fleet might fly under many people’s radar, but don’t let that happen to you. This is one incredible and moving album that deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.
Buy the album here.