Playground Music Finland
Promising Finnish act lead by Ville Laihiala
Vocalist/guitarist Ville Laihiala made his mark on metal with fronting Finnish act Sentenced from 1996-2005. After that band's disbanding, Laihiala went on to join the equally good Poisonblack in 2000. After six albums over a 15 year period, Laihiala announced that the band was sadly going on a hiatus for an unknown length of time. In the moment, it seemed like Laihiala may be leaving the scene for a while. Thankfully, that wasn't the case.
On June 9th, 2017 three singles appeared from Laihiala's new act S-Tool (short for Severing Tool). "Shovel Man" (band moniker tie-in?) and "Your Despiser No. 1" were abrasive tunes with plenty of chugging rhythms and Laihiala's charismatic vocal style. "Hammering" was the most chaotic, a faster track that's braced by churning, down-tuned riffs and busy percussion. It was the most different of the three but showed off a ton of potential for this new band.
The band's full-length debut, 'Tolerance 0', released on September 15th, 2017 through Finland's Playground Music label. Along with Laihiala comes active and former members from other popular Finnish acts like The Black League, Gandalf, Lullaccry and Entwine. This experience and diversity pays huge dividends for this remarkable record. Laihiala may have his best project to date.
Along with the above trio of tracks, the album includes plenty of equally hard-hitting tracks. "There Lies Life" has a sweeping doom-riff that introduces the uber-cool opening line, "All my friends are dead". "Back to Zero" has a thrash presence, harboring the same energy and restless abandonment as Overkill or Exodus but injecting heaps of melody into the chorus part. The bass (Kimmo Hiltunen) is a rigid impression, showing higher in the mix on the hefty "There Lies Life".
Laihiala continues to overcome diversity by creating new avenues to express his dark art. 'Tolerance 0' is one of the best records of his career by a band that seems to have similar interests and experience. It's a chemistry that performs extremely well. "Until the Lid Closes" this should be an incredible journey. Let's hope the band stays intact and continues releasing distinguished albums.