Haive - Mieli Maassa
Northern Silence Productions
Pagan Black Metal
6 songs (48'22")
Release year: 2007
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I remember being thoroughly impressed with Haive portion of their recent three way split with Wyrd and Kehra. In its three tracks Haive, the workings of one Finn Varjosielu, combined the authentic Northern folk music and harsh black metal sounds. Mieli Maassa, the debut full-length, follows on the heels of the substantial and tantalizing promise.

It would have been a total blindside surprise if Mieli Maassa was anything but pagan black metal again. The songs on the album meld certain stoic minimalism, acoustics, clear as cold brooks or melting icicles, hypnotizing, shamanistic rhythms and vocals ranging from slithering hisses to clean chanting. In a word, Haive is quite a bit more native pagan metal, even more down-to-earth Moonsorrow, than black metal, the genre invoking a certain degree of misanthropy and hate, which Haive really does not profess.

Haive is music streaming from Northern woods and endless lakes of Finland, the nature many a tourist may be admiring these days, but only the natives truly comprehend. Haive creates a mesmerizing effect, a swaying melody, by limiting Virvatuli – Metsanpeittoon and Metsalainen to a couple of riffs, which are bound to suck the listener in. Periodically, the fabric is penetrated by leads, sometimes on the very edge of tunefulness (Metsalainen). Somehow if Haive were the guide in these remote lands you were going to trust him, because he obviously knows the landscape, painting it so authentically. Everything is real on Mieli Maassa: the mouth-harp (Yomyrsky, Takaisin Koskemattomaan Metsaan), the bittern’s (swamp bird) horrifying scream (Yomyrsky), the ancient giant trees stomping, caught in their eternal two-step dance (Takaisin Koskemattomaan Metsaan).

Roitavasara’s vocals (Varjosielu's partner in his observations) is perhaps why Northern Silence calls Mieli Maassa wistful. Indeed, his voice, sometimes escaping from claustrophobic depths (Takaisin Koskemattomaan Metsaan), sometimes layered with clean vocals to create the choir impression (Yomyrsky), is what’s creating the depressive melancholic feeling. Varjosielu is longing for something, there is a void in his life and the surrounding beautiful, but difficult to survive in, nature serves as a backdrop. His is a voice of a wanderer, caught one-on-one with the depth of his emotions, surrounded by the familiar forest, which in the end does not care, preferring to continue its everlasting existence as an uninvolved observer.

Very raw and unpolished, Mieli Maassa is exactly like you would expect it to sound. If anything, my only (minor) complaint is that the larger-than-life melodies of a split are present here only in hints, serving mostly as foundations, rather than fully developed finished engulfing pieces. Moonsorrow and Wyrd fans should not be disappointed.

Killing Songs :
Metsalainen, Yomyrsky
Alex quoted 83 / 100
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