Review: Havukruunu – Uinuos Syömmein Sota
Imagine I spent an hour trying to get the lyrics to the intro correctly, and wrote them down here, and didn’t give up halfway ’cause I couldn’t make sense of it.
Havukruunu is one of the best black metal bands around in 2020, and Uinuos Syömmein Sota is one of the year’s most anticipated records, if you ask anyone whose opinion matters. Consequently, the answer to the question “Whose opinion matters, anyways?” is dictated by whether or not Havukruunu’s third full-length is listed near the top of their most anticipated records for the year. It’s also one that the band has apparently been sitting on for quite a while—in a not-totally unrelated note, hurry the fuck up Häive—and have been as anxious to get it out as I have been to get my mittens on it.
Though vocalist/guitarist Stefan is still the man behind all the music and the lyrics, Uinuos marks the first time the entire 4-man line-up took part in the arrangements. It’s difficult to say just how much this has affected the outcome, as in, which of the changes to credit for the arrangements, but the variety within and between each song has increased, giving room for both, a growing trad metal influence and adding depth to their folk(lore) influence, both lyrically and melodically.
The arrangements aren’t bigger than before, per se, but the songwriting has been approached with a more grandiose scope, banking more on the epic than the raw side of their sound. Complimented by their fullest and most balanced production yet, befitting of the direction taken here, Uinuos takes the time to introduce a few new spices and improve an already amazing formula from every corner.
The grandiose songwriting, the use of acoustic guitars and the aforementioned choir vocals as well as the general scope of the record do occasionally bring to mind the classic viking-era Bathory albums, and especially where the more limber tremolo-picked riffs meet thrashier chugs; all the things later Immortal never achieved are called to mind. The way Havukruunu has embedded their influences into their writing and playing serves to underline the fact there is no other band like them. From the guitar tone onward, every aspect of Uinuos is recognizable as Havukruunu, and though for me their sound has been theirs only for a while now, there should be no question of it now.
While their lyrics aren’t necessarily one of a kind, the folklorist approach helps separate them from the most usual nature-, viking- and medieval-worship, and while their use of language has always leaned on something that’s not quite poetic or archaic Finnish, but is reminiscent of both, it would seem to be pushed a little harder here than before as well. With richer and more memorable songwriting than before, and an exceptional flow from the first choir of the title track, through the interlude-like “Jumalten Hämär” to the keyboard outro of “Tähti-Yö ja Hevoiset”, Havukruunu are better than ever, with nary a challenger in sight.
4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell