Havukruunu – Havulinnaan [Finland, Pagan Black] (2015)

Naturmacht Productions | 10-18-15

Naturmacht Productions | 10-18-15

I will give you 10$ if you can spell both the name and album name without mixing up the letters. The band’s name translates or means coniferous crown which is an imagery which is fitting to a dense brand of nature conscious black metal. If you have ever been traveling through the wilderness of Finland you might have encountered a forest creature veiled in the regal outfits of the woodland which may or may not be last thing you see.

Pagan black metal has a lot of baggage in terms of expectations. One certainly may expect a certain beat similar to a beer hall romp. Others might demand vikings or nacinet nature of some sort while others may want something like old Bathory. Havukruunu is none of those and perhaps all of them to some degree. the band’s musical ton is sharp with vulture like vocals against an almost polished background of instrumentation. While I mention the production, it is important to note that the rustic qualities of the production still shine as various instruments collide in a raucous cacophony. One of the album’s highlights in the 7 minute “Rautalintu” which sways and bows like trees caught in some passing storm. Other songs like “Terhen” push against the seems of horror and a party like atmosphere with plenty of guitar leads and solos to go around…well the campfire.

The blending of acoustic, folk instrumentation, with the black metal template comes off almost effortlessly for Havukruunu which makes Havulinnaan not only a success but a fantastic debut from a band that already seems to have its shit together. There are few times where I think of the adornments I would make on a crown make of twigs, leaves , and pine needles. I am glad there are bands out there which allow me to explore such fancies.