Thursday, March 15, 2018

HIIDENHAUTA - 1695 review


Inverse Records

For years now I always considered myself to be fairly knowledgeable about the Finnish extreme metal scene. I'm a huge fan of their black metal bands/artists. As far as doom metal goes they rule. They have one of the best grindcore acts in the world, ROTTEN SOUND. Also my all time favorite folk metal act, KORPIKLAANI, calls Finland home. And let's not forget about NIGHTWISH. But of course I give this release a listen and class starts again.

Here we have the band HIIDENHAUTA, a four piece act from Satakunta, Finland. Musically HIIDENHAUTA are melodic black metal to a point plus they add some folk touches to their sound. This is their second full length and obviously the first time I've heard them. There are many things about this band as far as this release is concerned that pushes them beyond the norm as far as melodic black metal goes.

First and foremost are the duel gender vocals. The male vocals by Tuomas Keskimaki are screamed, yelled and of course are caustic. They're also sung in Finnish. I've said it before but it always bares repeating. The Finnish language sung in anger makes Germans singing in their own tongue sound like pussies. Now Tuomas is paired up with on vocals by Emma Keskimaki. Her vocals add a soft airiness touch. It's a perfect match.

Other points of interest are the use of keyboard interludes which gives a few songs an interesting dynamic as well as atmosphere. As far as the black metal melodies go guitarist Otto Hyvarinen keeps things partly savage with some basic tremolo thrash. Other times he's showing off some straight forward metal riffage and evens gets a bit technical. Drummer Eetu Ritakorpi follows everything up with pure organic aggressive power.

Just for the record 1695 is a concept album. According to the promo info (because I'm not an expert) the release's premise is the Great Famine in Finland from 1695 to 1697. It was during those years period that every third person of Finland died because of starvation or the accompanying diseases and epidemics. By the way at that time the country was under Swedish rule. Ouch, someone still has a grievance.

As sometimes it's history and it's remembrance which creates good music. HIIDENHAUTA's 1695 is an amazing piece of work. It falls in there with many other black metal acts who left their mark on our collective mindset when it comes to shedding light onto the past. This one just sparked my interest into learning more.

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