REVIEW: Hautajaisyö – On Vain Pimeys

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HAUTAJAISYÖ (Finnish for “funeral night”) is a death metal band founded in Iisalmi back in 2014. The act was born from the ashes of REDEYE, another project founded in 2006. The lineup of HAUTAJAISYÖ changed slightly in 2017, when Simo Pesonen joined as a bass player and Teemu Roth became the new drummer. “On Vain Pimeys” is the band’s third full length and was released on November 13th, 2020, via the Finnish label Inverse Records.

It has to be said that Finland has a huge and glorious tradition when it comes to death metal and its branches, hence being original nowadays is always quite challenging. Musically speaking, in “On Vain Pimeys” there is a nice blend of death and thrash metal, with a little bit of black metal. In terms of pace and overall atmosphere, the album sounds brutal, uncompromising, and extreme, but there is also remarkable attention to detail in the metrics, arrangements, and compositions, so nothing is left to chance, even though “straightforward” is the word I would use to describe the album as a whole.

The headbanging-inducing riffs, along with the inhuman vocal skills of Janne Partanen – who is, in my opinion, one of the best extreme singers in the country – make me feel nostalgic of the times when concerts were allowed and crushing your bones in the front row during a gig was part of every metalhead’s routine. I can’t help picturing a live show of the band where they perform songs taken from this album, such as the first track, “Ympärilläsi pelkkää tyhjää,” Finnish for “only emptiness around you” and, in spite of its title, makes me think of a small club packed with people, ready to enjoy some live music. The song itself sounds very old-school thanks to its fast pace and a rich structure where the vocals and the music find a perfect match. S. Lustig’s guitar work is excellent in its blend of death and thrash metal vibes, superbly merged together. “Kun sanat ei riitä tähän suruun,” [words are not enough for this sorrow] sees a more various use of the vocals: deep growls are, in fact, paired with some scream vocals, which result in a perfect balance of rage and despair.

The lyrical themes on the album are focused on many topics that are not new in the genre, but the perspective is far from being ordinary or, in a way, stereotypical: an utter sense of inner void, fear, anger, anxiety, isolation, and depression are some of the main ingredients of real life’s hideousness, and there is no need to talk about otherworldly monsters when they actually live inside of us. The title track, for instance, along with a catchy main riff that got stuck in my head since the very first time I listened to the song, works pretty well as a summary of the album’s main themes: there is only darkness and grief is an inescapable part of everyone’s path.

In conclusion, I would point out that the band’s authenticity and genuineness are the main features throughout the whole album: no frills, no mince words, just furious, fast paced yet deeply meaningful songs, eight short stories about the human condition where the point of connection between death and thrash metal does really work as an effective medium of self-expression.

Written by Licia Mapelli

Tracklist

  1. Ympärilläsi pelkkää tyhjää
  2. Kun sanat ei riitä tähän suruun
  3. Uhraus
  4. Muistojuhla
  5. Kuolonkantaja
  6. Tulen keskellä
  7. On vain pimeys
  8. Lopun tie

Lineup

J. Partanen – vocals
S. Lustig – guitars, vocals
S. Pesonen – bass
T. Roth – drums

Label

Inverse Records

Links

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Bandcamp