Review Summary: Finnic pride made tangible.
The wind is barreling it's way across a permafrost plain. It is bitter. It stings like an acid rain spewed forth from the hands of an angry god. By this our willpower is tested, as it is by the icy grasp of the frozen sheaths below. For as accustomed to this harsh climate as our minds have become, our bodies signify with blackened extremities that without warmth our end will come. It will come before we have even our first taste of blood and steel. Before the clattering of metal on metal can grace our ears with its vigor. Before either our blade meets the enemies throat or theirs ours. A death in that way is the dream-it is honorable. A death by the unruly forces of nature is an abominable way to perish, and for this we pray our bodies stand sturdy in the face of the greatest strife we've yet to face. Sisu Voi Selviytyä.
Rautaa Ja Tulta
has been stated by Havukruunu to be an album that encompasses the spirit of a cold and bitter winter, something that is not exactly a new concept to the black metal sphere. It is seemingly less common to write songs about dipping your toes in the warm shores of Aruba as it is to sing ferocious battle hymns about the excruciating cold of our Nordic opposites, and yet for as unpleasant as it should be it is a world many of seem to crave. We seek out fuzzy tremolos and earth rending screams to awaken the polar beast within us, both of which are presented here in spades.
It all starts with "Pakkanen" where we are greeted with a piercing howl that leads into the first of many melodious and technically impressive riffs. It is a track that barrels onward faster than a viking longship, yielding by way of pummeling blast beats the force of every major glacier collapsing into an worldwide avalanche. By the time of the title track, a more fragile listener will find their bones have collapsed and their bodies been mangled, but for the hardier barbarian they will find their resolve has only heightened, a resolve that few could ever have. Time for a seltzer water break.
This constant bombast, the scathing screams and scintillating guitar work and battering blast beats seldom let up, something proven even further by "Musta Yö", however when they do Havukruunu prove just how incredibly well they work with space and general ambiance. The last minute of "Ne Salaperäiset" is trudging, bringing a track that is rather lightning-in-a-bottle to a sense of finality. Even slower still is the melancholic acoustic interlude "Verta Ja Tuhkaa", a song that is as gentle as a breeze sweeping through a forest of conifers. These rare moments of respite are beautiful and prove to be an essential part of the essence of Havukruunu-wondrous, unbridled warlike energy that coincide with a beauty that is both somber yet grand and sweeping. It comes together to form something primordial, something that I would imagine could be summed up as an ancient Finnic pride. A feeling that can only be captured with the phrase sisu