RANKKA PÄIVÄ: Kylmään veteen
Release year: 2022
If you’re into punk, you’ll know that Finnish hardcore is A Thing with capital letters. Even from before hardcore itself was a thing, Finland has churned out fast, raw and aggressive punk rock that helped steer the genre in new, more extreme directions. Acts such as Terveet Kädet, Kaaos and Rattus – to name just three obvious names from a much larger mass – are icons the world over.
The cool thing about Finnish punk and hardcore is that, unlike many other influential local scenes, it never fizzled out. For sure, Finnish hardcore has had it’s ups and downs, but it never faded away altogether or stagnated to death. In the past 10-15 years, new bands have sprung up, some sticking to the classic blueprint, some taking the style into new directions, but all helping keep Finnish hardcore on the map and globally relevant.
Enter Rankka Päivä (“hard day” in Finnish), and their most recent release Kylmään veteen (“into cold waters”). Prior to this, they have one release from 2013 under their belt, so the band aren’t exactly newcomers but could almost be. At a quick glance, only the guitarist and drummer remain from the earlier line-up, and between 2014 and 2019 the band was on hiatus. But: hardcore is the name of the game, and with the lyrics being entirely in Finnish, they become obviously anchored into the tradition and continuum of Finnish hardcore.
The short intro is more than a bit misleading: with its decidedly metallic riff, one could expect crossover or metallic NYHC or something of that ilk. The first track proper, Antaa virran viedä, dispels such illusions instantly: this is a case of fast, frenetic, aggressive and fucking angry hardcore. The vocals are viciously, spittingly shouted anger, the drums pound in a straightforward fashion like there’s no tomorrow, and most of the riffs are in the classic, violent hardcore tradition. However, here and there the band throw in a bit of rocking flair into the riffing, injecting some variation into the primarily pretty standard hardcore rage. And at times, the band slows down into an even doom-like torturous lurch, which temporarily replaces the spitting anger with anguished, tearing angst. If one wants to pick things apart, in addition to classic hardcore, elements from crust and other strands of extreme punk can be found here and there in Rankka Päivä’s musical DNA.
Kylmään veteen is somewhere on that elusive and thin line of not-original-but-not-run-of-the-mill-either. Whilst undeniably the band borrow heavily from the standard blueprint of head-over-heels hardcore punk, they inject enough of more or less unconventional elements into their music to give it a bit of distinctive character. Not apex originality, but not dime a dozen either.
But the actually relevant bottom line is that Kylmään veteen is a thoroughly convincing piece of hardcore fury. Combining the aggression of unbridled hatred with wrenching anguish, crushingly heavy slow sections with bursts of speed that sound dangerously like the band are playing at the limits of their skills, about to topple over into chaos at any moment, this is just what hardcore should be all about. Aggression, frenetic energy and unpolished, raw emotion.
If hardcore’s your thing, check this out.