Hiidenhauta - Surma Saapuu Suota Myöten
Symphonic Folky Black Metal
5 songs (36:00)
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Aleksie
Surprise of the month
Repent ye sinners for death is arriving along the swamp! Or at least that is the case with the debut EP of Finnish BM-collective Hiidenhauta, Surma Saapuu Suota Myöten (Death Arrives Along The Swamp). By which I mean that no, death metal isn’t what we are dealing with today. Things are decidedly black metallic with some definite leanings towards the symphonic provided by ample layers of keyboards. Slight touches of folk are also implemented, perhaps even to a lesser degree than I would have hoped for. The moments where they are prominent work very well so the element remains a bit underutilized in my ears for now.

Vocally, the band mixes both the male and female spectrums very well. The shouty growls of Fornjotur take care of business in their admitted monotony while fitting dynamics are provided by the more angelic output of Riena. There is notable strength and range going on with the female vox which listeners hopefully can appreciate. The instrumental portion of the group is solid with riffs aplenty, steady low end and drumming that handles the occasional bursts like the blast sections very snappily. Said low end is augmented by the fortunately quality-bringing production job. Being black metal of a slightly rawer variety, one could have anticipated the most wretched, treble-boosting Norse-worship to dwell on this disc but thankfully, there is force in the bass as well. Overall things are still raw and when the keyboards and extra melodic licks pile on the grinding, the soundscape may momentarily feel slightly muddy but overall the sounds are solid and nicely balanced.

In terms of songwriting, opening track Hiiltyneet (The Charred) makes the band’s somewhat grandiose agenda clear from the get-go. The epic arrangements may currently stretch out a bit further skyward than the resources at hand have made possible, but nevertheless I can appreciate the ambition. Something which is also evident on the EP-closing, nearly 12-minute stomper Varjot (Shadows). Love the choral singing moments in that one.

My current favourite track is definitely Talvi (Winter), which mixes in slightly more subtle keyboard atmospherics and acoustic guitars to bring in the aforementioned folksiness to spice up the heaviness. As I said, listening through the whole record I’m left wanting more of the kind of elements displayed in this song. Perhaps something to consider for future works. Also a mention-worthy tune for me is Jäällä 1156 (On the Ice 1156), which starts off with the kind of horror-themed glockenspieling and pounding that reminds me of King Diamond – always a nice touch. Bonus points also for the humppa-style mid-section with the galloping harpsichords.

Overall, considering how extremely picky I can get with my black metal, Hiidenhauta’s first EP offering leaves me definitely interested for more. Pleasing elements can be found throughout the record and two out of the five tunes are already solid headbashing in my books. Surely a band to keep an eye on for those inclined.
Killing Songs :
Talvi & Jäällä 1156
Aleksie quoted no quote
Other albums by Hiidenhauta that we have reviewed:
Hiidenhauta - 1695 reviewed by Alex and quoted 72 / 100
Hiidenhauta - Eikä Aurinko Valaise reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
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