Havukruunu – Uinuos Syömein Sota (Naturmacht Productions)

Monday, 28th September 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

The malleability of black metal is, at this point, I suspect well understood. As I noted in my 2018 best of, it was fascinating then that you could ostensibly have Imperial Triumphant’s Vile Luxury and Panopticon’s The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness co-exist, however broadly defined, under a single genre umbrella. Uinuos Syömein Sota is a bombastic mix of black metal iciness and classic heavy metal triumphalism wrapped up in a lean, tightly executed album experience.

The eponymous opener greets the listener with a vocal call to arms before summoning them side-saddle to what can only be described as a furious jaunt across the night sky, arm-in-arm with the riders of The Wild Hunt. The black metal components are married with high energy traditional metal leads and solos, complicated further with near-industrial asides and a monstrous concluding ride – all in less than six minutes. The essence of frosted war continues heartily across “Ja Viimein On Yö”, mixed harsh and clean vocals riding gloriously atop waves of shifting rhythms. Holy absurdity at times.

Take a look a look at the cover of Uinuos Syömein Sota and whether you understand Finnish or not, the pair of ghost kings fighting to the death across the shores of oblivion do tell you everything you need to know about the listening experience you are destined for within. The songs, as mentioned previously, are quite lean in their execution considering the complexity of the parts and an often-unrelenting sense of speed. Penultimate “Vähiin Päivät Käy” is a broad, easy marriage of the band’s blackened and traditional inspirations, pointedly as the soaring leads and group vocals fill the song’s back half. Closer “Täht-Yö Ja Hevoiset” is an experience best left unspoiled.

Uinuos Syömein Sota is among the more rewarding surprises I’ve come across this year, no mean feat considering the amount of time spent cast upon the Bandcamp sea while working from home. Enchanting Finnish weirdness with the intensity dialed very high, the album is nevertheless a surprisingly versatile listen across a variety of settings and moods – the listener does not actually have to be ready to do battle with their reflection to enjoy it. It may help, however.

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