Reviewed: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Naturmacht Productions
Rating: 5 / 5
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Finland’s Havukruunu came across my radar in December of 2017 when I happened to come across their sophomore full length, KELLE SURUT SOI. I was immediately intrigued with how they could be compared to Moonsorrow but with a much more of a nod to traditional metal. The lyrics are all in Finnish. They claim their influences include Moonblood, Bathory, and Manowar, as well as Finnish artist and writer Tove Jansson. I worked my way back in their discography and found that each release improves but compliments the last. However, their current release, UINOUS SYOMEIN SOTA, came out of nowhere to completely blow me away. Not intent on the same formula from previous releases; instead they went all in and it paid off in spades!
One of the things that got me straight away was the very beginning of the opening and title track. Loan clean vocals scream out in almost a chant, followed by perfectly harmonized choirs. We literally HAVE goosebumps at thirty seconds in. Then the blasts and riffs explode with a mix of serious tremolos complimented by the melodies of the harmonized solos. Then more solos….in fact, this is where this band gets interesting. Yes, this is without a doubt pagan black metal, but Havukruunu up the traditional metal to create a really unique atmosphere. “Kunnes varjot saa” follows it up in true epic pagan metal fashion, speed, melodic tremolos as well as melodic traditional metal riffing creating the epic atmosphere. Then this amazing solo takes it over the top. This is one of my favorites on the album.
What really sets UINOUS SYOMEIN SOTA apart from their previous releases is how much the production has improved. Each instrument comes through clean and clear. That really compliments the melodies on this album. There are also some really clear acoustic parts, especially the short “Jumalten hämär” before the nine minute epic “Vähiin päivät käy.” The melodies and choirs on this song; combined with the tremeloes and harsh vocals, then the dual harmonized leads come in before this monster solo. This shows the sheer brilliance of this band and how they write songs. They know just when to throw in the traditional metal riffs then switch over to huge choruses with huge choirs. Then before it’s all over another amazingly executed solo just before the song ends.
Since first hearing this band, I knew they were capable of great things. That said, I did not see this coming. What I do know is that this is forty six and a half minutes of pure epic metal. There is much more melody added to their already melodic epic sound on this album, especially the clean vocals. The cleaner production meshes well with the traditional metal while complimenting the melodies. I am worried they may have set the bar too high for themselves. Only time will tell on that. All I know is UINOUS SYOMEIN SOTA is essential metal.