Havukruunu – Uinuos Syömein Sota
With the release of their third album, the Finnish band Havukruunu prove once again why all eyes are on them on the forefront of pagan black metal.
Blasting right out of the gates, the self titled track feels like it throws everything you’d expect from the genre in one song – but it’s only the beginning. The triumphant melodies and searing guitar tones feel fresh and unique. The riffs are intense and dark, yet they are coloured with triumphant undertones. Enchanting vocal harmonies are intertwined with guitar melodies creating a brilliant, epic feeling.
The wonder of these moments can be heard in songs like Ja Vimein On Yö – where beyond the battery of the percussion, the uplifting darkness is built up during the chorus and then continues throughout. Among the call and response vocals in the song, guitar melodies shape the background and create a powerful ambiance ultimately transitioning into a impressive and moving solo. All of these efforts appear easy and natural but are certainly well thought out to achieve the presented effect.
The percussion intensity continues with Pohjolan Tytär – which is arguably the most straight-forward song on the album. Yet the beating of the drums vary enough, along with the haunting solos, and epic vocal harmonies, to create a wonderfully crafted feat. While the band may often be compared to others in the scene such as Moonsorrow and Mgła, Havukruunu manages to generate a particular feel and soundscape in their music which certainly makes them stand away from such comparisons.
In fact, Havukruunu almost makes themselves uniquely virtuoso with their guitar work. Varying guitar solos midway in the song Vähiin Päivät Käy stand out as some of the most pinnacle moments on the album. Transitions between the different solos are flawless and as the song goes back to its main riff, one cannot help but feel the chills go up their spine.
Meanwhile, the closing track features so much variation, fresh ideas, and feelings which seem somewhat unusual to pagan black metal. Havukruunu bring and transition modern concepts and technology to the genre to create an interesting final piece to the album that almost acts like a cliff hanger for their next release.
The dichotomy between Havukruunu’s pagan roots and modern concepts seam together flawlessly to create an absolute feat of an album. Uinuos Syömein Sota may be not only one of the best black metal releases this year, but one of the best albums released in 2020.