Looming from the underground of the Finnish metal scene, a two-man sludge/crust/noise rock band named Positiivinen Ongelma makes their mark with their debut album, “Ilon kautta“, just released this past Friday. With members hailing from Mireplaner and VORARE, the duo presents a stark departure from their debut EP, “Kaikkea Kivaa“, released in 2019. The band has evolved into a sludge-oriented, raw sonic entity, distilling their music into a stripped-down configuration of drums, bass, and vocals.
The Dawn of an Impish Approach
Since the transition in vocals and the complete drop-out of guitars, Positiivinen Ongelma have adopted a more sinister and impish approach. They have morphed their sound, creating an aesthetic that thrives in the rawness and purity of sludge rock. Their approach is quintessentially primal, a grounded exploration of sound that aims to capture the live essence of the band.
“Positiivinen Ongelma – Ilon Kautta is entirely studio-live recording. Instruments in one take and vocals on top in one take. We ended up with this solution to convey the raw feeling to the listener. Now we don’t make little precise art, but draw with a big brush about how the world and self-image pisses you off. Imperfection belongs to it and can be heard.” – comments the band.
The Duality of Wellness and Raw Realism
In an age where many musicians use their platforms to project their ideal self or peddle escapist fantasies, Positiivinen Ongelma, rather daringly, adopt a no-irony policy. Their debut album narrates the trials and tribulations of personal well-being. It’s an odyssey through life’s highs and lows, a celebration of good mental health, a testament to love and interpersonal relationships, and an ode to personal wellness, stripped of any gilded pretenses.
“Album is basically telling the story of personal well-being and all the nice things that life can give you: Good mental health state, love for other people and clear focus for taking care of personal wellness. Of course without any irony.” – The band remarks
Reimagining the Process of Creation
Positiivinen Ongelma, despite their raw, unvarnished approach to music, still regard the art of production as a critical aspect of their sonic identity. Their ethos resonates with a live and grounded approach, aiming to retain an organic feeling throughout their creation. Rather than meticulously polishing each note, they allow the music to organically take shape, focusing on the essence rather than the veneer.
A Sonic Narrative
“Ilon kautta” is more than just a collection of songs, it is a tapestry woven with the band’s exploration of inner emptiness, mental breakdowns, existential crises, and unwanted thoughts. The album travels through varied sonic landscapes, portraying feelings of frustration, cynicism, and ultimately acceptance. Some songs invoke the aggressive punk feel, while others create massive soundscapes, reminding us of Monolord, transitioning from short melody hooks to an overbearing thump. But it all converges to create a raw and powerful narrative that remains grounded in its musicality and its themes.
From a broader perspective, Positiivinen Ongelma’s debut album, “Ilon kautta,” is an intriguing, raw sonic journey. The band’s bold approach to their music, the organic essence of their sound, and the raw honesty of their lyrics make for a compelling listening experience. As they delve into the complexities of human existence and well-being without any pretense or embellishment, they present a mirror to the listener that reflects life in all its grit and glory. This may not be the polished, over-produced music that tops the charts, but therein lies its strength – “Ilon kautta” represents an unfiltered exploration of life itself, underscored by the band’s distinctive sound and fearless authenticity.
“In general, with techniques, equipment, and ways of working, it’s best not to be a hard-presser but to try different things and find your own style of doing things. That style can also change. Why in the world should you be stuck in one place.” – Positiivinen Ongelma concludes.
This is one of the very first songs I wrote for this band and played with Riku. I was listening to a lot of Windhand and Kylesa at the time of writing this and it sounds pretty sludgy with a punk beat at the end. Song is about the inner emptiness of realising your own mortality and that there’s probably nothing after life. Just as there hasn’t been before. So moralising about people’s life choices seems rather corny, and of course you are guilty of it yourself. But why on earth? As relatively gloomy people, it’s hard even in these thoughts to end up with a straightforward hedonism, but rather to grin ironically at how stupid the whole life is.
Ookoo, Mustaa and Hullu was on our first EP, but they were completely redone for this album. Ookoo is a short and raw song with a chorus that is something of a breakdown instrumentally. Story-wise, it’s about how difficult it is to express yourself and your bad feelings in words when your mental health is going through a mental breakdown. Even though the song tries to blatantly overdo the lyrics, it’s still true. It’s much easier to pretend to be OK than to actually ask for help.
You know that feeling when you’re so pissed off that your blood doesn’t circulate and your eyes start to get black? Well, that’s what this song is about. The only thing is that it’s fucked up for life and little by little you’d start to find the desire to end it all. Even though, of course, you shouldn’t. Someone always denies all the fun anyway. Well, let’s not end the days and go through the song with a pretty groovy vibe. This is one of the band’s most going songs, and someone even said it’s worth dancing to. Who knows.
The desire to harm starts to change from yourself to others. Or does it. Is it more important that someone just gets hurt? Or are all those gore scenarios just happening in your head? Do you run in blood, stab yourself and others in your little fantasy world and then deny all those thoughts. Because you can’t be crazy.
So the song deals with the dilemma of controlling unwanted thoughts. Can you ban your own thoughts? Just be yourself, but don’t be like that
5. Kaikki loppuu
This is one of our oldest songs. The riff varies in rhythm and the song was first played mainly to get the stupid rhythm ideas right. Then the song turned out to be our longest song, and it’s starting to have some sections. It’s quite an existential thing, where you start by saying that everything is going to end. And then you wonder why everything ends. Well, because we are destroying everything. At the end, we are actually quite satisfied with the idea that everything will end. There’s no point in going on like this.
Did someone say Monolord? You can hear the influences from there quite strongly in this instrumental song. You get a kind of massive soundscape here, when you play the bass and separate it to three separate signals going through different processing. Raw and powerful, I’d say. The track progresses from a short melody hook to an overbearing thump, with only a small part of it showing some light. Let’s stay on the heavy end there though. A simple, but atmospherically quite effective song in my opinion.
This song certainly has the most aggressive punk feel to it. The song emulates the rant that comes when you’re way too drunk, someone asks you a political question and you start emotionally explaining your opinion. The style is a bit like the early work of the Finnish rock band YUP. Only here the rage, the wit, the irony and the disgust for other people living is conveyed quite effectively.
What images of the world, norms, stereotypes are fed to us all the time, is there any basis for them? Why on earth should we believe them? They just feed on themselves and give people the right to despise others and justify their actions in that name.