Yes. Please file this away under “amazing album art.” Hiverna is a black folk outfit from the highlands of Canada. If the trollish figure on the cover drawn by Olivier Villoingt was not enough indication, the band has made it their lot in life to catalog the dark elements of folk metal. If you have come for snarling monsters which most likely reside in the deep part of the woods, then you have certainly come to right place.
Black metal and pagan folk elements have a deep rooted history which sort of gets ignored when discussing things like “viking metal.” The original combination which set swinging music to the backdrop of shrill vocals has almost entirely been forgotten. Hiverna seems to be lead by three people with one carrying the most amount of weight as the drummer, guitarist, and vocalist. Bardunor has been a fixture in Canadian black metal bands and Hiverna seems to be lead by his efforts with the supported of a bassist and a flutist. The combination of elements are admirable though Hiverna’s overall sound is extremely rough and uneven. While this sounds like a drawback, the rough nature of the music is a perfect match. Macabre, the second volume in an ongoing odyssey into human nature, is akin to a tree which has violently fallen into overgrowth and then left alone for years.
Though I just mentioned the raw nature of Hiverna’s music, it bears repeating that it will not have the same production value as bands like Finntroll or Ensiferium. The flute sections go wildley in the air and things like acoustic opassages appear without warning. the only consistent element within Macabe seems to be the competent vocals from Bardunor. Again, this should’t be considered a criticism. Hiverna never intends to be bands with large production rather Hiverna seems to be using albums to their own conceptual means. Macabre is not going to redefine blackened folk metal but as a homegrown effort in which is in need of support, I can think of no other group more worthy of attention.