Reviewed: March 1, 2022
Released: March 21, 2022, Purity Through Fire
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Finnish black metal seems to be it’s own animal. Their sound and approach to black metal is unique in most instances. Rather than keep to a black metal only formula the Finns actually like to add some elements of traditional heavy metal and some melody to their brand of chaos. AESTHUS is a newcomer to the scene having just formed in 2017. Since that time, they have released one demo and one single but that is about to change. Their debut album, Hänen temppelinsä varjoissa, is one of the strongest black metal debuts to come along in some time.
Right from the opening riffs of this album you can tell where this is going. The title track is the opener and an incredible strong track. This is a bit reminiscent of HAVUKRUUNU in places but with a lot less focus on the more traditional metal elements but going right for the throat. However, it’s the melodies that get tossed around on this album that make it special. Lots of speed and tremolo riffing at work here but some of those tremolos are where they get some of their infectious melodies from. Then you have the early parts of “Vihani alttarilla” that sound like IMPALED NAZARENE before slowing down with a melodic metal section halfway through the track. Once again the riffs are driving this song. “Kuolonpolku” completes the opening trifecta and in a great way. This song is huge with such an intensity in the riffing. Those melodic tremolos are showing again and they work perfectly with this song. I usually believe that if you have an strong opening two or three songs, the rest of the album will be just as strong and such is the case here.
And as predicted, the rest of the album is as strong as the opening three. Being an album that is less than forty minutes in length you would never know to listen to it. Some songs reach epic territory with not only the length of the track but with the intensity that an epic would bring. “Jälkeläinen and the closer, “Tyhjyys, ikuinen kuolema, are the perfect examples with the former being just over six minutes of pummeling riffs and catchy melodies and the latter being ten minute epic that is absolutely astonishing. This has a much different atmosphere than the rest of the album and this song really stands out. Beginning a bit slower with some keys added for melody and atmosphere you get an almost melancholy feel here. As we progress through the track we peel back the many layers that went into this standout track. The clean vocals at the end remind me of epic German pagan metallers MENHIR. What a way to close out this brilliant album.
Honestly, this is the strongest black metal debut to be released on a long time. The songwriting and the execution of this album puts this band on an equal playing field with some of their peers that have been around a while. Make note of this band because I believe that due to this album, their name will start rolling off tongues as representative of Finnish black metal. I’m excited to see where they go next.