Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi (Released April 29, 2017 – Naturmacht Productions)
An album I regrettably slept on two years ago was Havukruunu’s debut release, Havulinnaan. Not wanting to make the same mistake twice I jumped on their sophomore release and now present you the amazing Kelle surut soi.
When listening to any album with the intent to write a review and justify a quantitative rating I ponder what makes a “perfect” album. Am I feeling perfection because of my history with the band? Is this album actually normal but, compared to my recent listening significantly better? Or is there actually something amazing going on here? Kelle surut soi had me thinking those thoughts. I know there will be albums that, with care free listening over the next couple months/years, will steadily rise (or admittedly fall) through my rankings. That is something that happened with Astronoid’s Air, it came in as my number 4 in 2016 and over the past year has firmly entrenched itself as my top album of that year. So, it is one thing to have an immediate connection with an album and it is another to grow a lasting bond. Sometimes what catches you in the moment is just a factor of your surroundings and the mental state you are in at the time rather than anything lasting. Although I am still in the moment, I have a good feeling Kelle surut soi is more than just a fleeting connection.
The album opens to the swirling of snow and a folky acoustic guitar which weaves together layers of sound over which the black metal slowly eases in. Rising from the onslaught the first solo breaks free of Jo näkyvi pohjan portit and is pure bliss. Black metal with solos is amazing. So many black metal bands that go for feeling get stuck on the tremolo and wall of sound technique. Yes, some do it infinitely well, but why not be different and produce feeling with solos? The emotion that brilliant players such as Marty Friedman or Steve Vai can produce with single notes is breathtaking and Stefan Sorghammer channels those greats with each solo he puts together on Kelle surut soi. Sometimes it is pure shred and others it is leads buried beneath the wash of drums and bass. Vainovalkeat begins with tremolos from on high, mixed well above your head you must look up into the falling snow to see where they originate from, an unexpected galloping riffs drives forward out of the harsh landscape and leads are mixed into the back of the track. Noidanhauta just sounds fun. It is the type of song that makes you want to pick up your guitar and start riffing along. Vainajain valot had shredded vocals and a sense of urgency like a breakneck horse driven into the ground. A sudden change from the black metal landscape Vaeltaja begins with a hard rock riff and the arena kick drum to get everyone bouncing up and down. The guitar leads are gorgeous throughout as the track transition from arena rock back to catchy black metal. Opening with the breaking of a storm, Myrskynkutsuga has a sea shanty feel to it. Highlighted on the track is the diversity of the drumming throughout. Never relying entirely on rattling drums and cymbal clacks, fills appear along with tasteful opening runs. Verikuu is uplifting with a melodic choir forcing your face to the sun. The closing and titular track is distinctly such. The lapping waves and screech of gull’s mark the ending, there is one final big solo before the leads spin away and the song and album fade out.
Kelle surut soi was super listenable, there are few better ways to describe it, it was an album that one could sit down and listen to without the harshness becoming overbearing. This listenability allowed me to have a clear experience with it which left me satisfied and ready for their next release.