Finnish paganism will remind you of a lot of things: the local animistic protector deity Haltija, the god of thunder Ukko, and the belief that human souls consist of three different parts, which appear to be three autonomous beings on their own. What if Finnish paganism is incorporated into black metal music? You’ll have HAVUKRUUNU!
Hailing from down south in Hausjärvi, HAVUKRUUNU is a pagan black metal act that has released three full-length albums so far. Earlier in May 2020, they released “Uinuos Syömein Sota,” which was signed under Naturmacht Productions. In the album, they talk about war, the seemingly relentless winter, the darkness, and the night. Being comparable with fellow Finnish black metal names such as MOONSORROW and HORNA, this time, HAVUKRUUNU presents folk-driven elements and murky tremolo-picked riffs that would bring their listeners into a state of menacing void. Blast beats drumming is also prominently present in this album. While their previous album, “Havulinnaanl” is more inclined towards old school black metal elements, “Uinuos Syömein Sota” implements more pagan and viking metal-related elements with a hint of folk. The way HAVUKRUUNU presents heavy and abrasive rhythms in this album would instantly make their listeners envisage a medieval realm in their heads.
Opening track “Uinuos Syömein Sota,” which is also the title track, starts with anthemic chants, then is followed by impeccably fast-paced rhythms, and ends with a traditional singing that resembles a poetry-like lamentation. The convergence between clean group vocals and the shrieking vocals are well-presented and powerful. The second track, “Kunnes Varjot Saa,” vehemently shows the dark ambiences of pagan black metal and it’s mind-blowing. Then we have “Ja Viimein On Yö” with its gnarly guitar solo, followed by an acoustic pause in the middle. “Pohjolan Tytär” is my personal favorite — the way the title means “Daughter of Pohjola” just vibes right with me. Moreover, the rhythm breakdown that is presented on that track constructs a visceral nuance.
“Kuin Öinen Meri” opens with ethereal acoustic guitar sounds, which is then followed by its otherworldly main riffs. The next track is the acoustic interlude “Jumalten Hämär,” which presents solemn chants, while“Vähiin Päivät Käy” is more thrashy and aggressive. The last track, “Tähti-Yo Ja Hevoiset,” starts with a growling, distorted intro and has an outro that consists of atmospheric synth sounds.
Overall, this album has a strong BATHORY-esque vibe; the ethereal acoustic guitar lines and chants hit close to BATHORY’s calmer tunes such as “Song to Hall Up High” and “The Ravens.” This album also has a similar viking/pagan energy as TÝR’s “Ragnarok”; if TÝR’s “Ragnarok” were more inclined towards Norse references, “Uinuos Syömein Sota” is like the Finnish version of it. Over the years, HAVUKRUUNU has proved their own substantial amount of growth by continuing to improve on their sound. This album might be your kind of thing if you’re into fast-paced blast-beats, tremolo-picked riffs, and combinations of chanting clean vocals and belligerent growls.
Written by Ralka Skjerseth
1. Uinuos Syömein Sota
2. Kunnes Varjot Saa
3. Ja Viimein On Yö
4. Pohjolan Tytär
5. Kuin Öinen Meri
6. Jumalten Hämär
7. Vähiin Päivät Käy
8. Tähti-Yö Ja Hevoiset
Stefan – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Henkka – Guitars
Sinisalo – Bass
Kostajainen – Drums, Percussion