After a two year wait, the Finnish black metal band, Karhunvartijan Tyhjiö, returns with their fourth release, Vainaantuoma. A rabid, punk influenced black metal release with plenty of raw attitude and low fidelity goodness in the production. Taking influence from other fellow Finnish bands, they fuse a lot of melody in these tracks, creating for catchy and headbanging black metal for all the enjoy. Certainly a solid release and I think a good stepping stone towards a full length in the future.
What really caught me by surprise with this release is just how well each track flows into one another. While each stands on their own and can be enjoyed separately, when listened to in full, the flow between tracks is almost seamless and creates this spiral of raw intensity that sucks you right into it. There were moments while listening when I didn’t realize the tracks had changed, as the songs almost blended together in a way that made it seem as one. The production is perfect, a great balance between raw fidelity and a crisp, vibrant sound that keeps your attention. The guitars are shrill and the drums have enough push behind it to really get the blood flowing. The song writing on this release I just feel is so well done, a perfect balance between repeating melodies and spiraling chords that set this pagan band apart from other raw black metal releases.
I found the vocals to be my favorite part of this release. While a bit obscured with the demo-style production, what comes out is this harsh yet melodic shrieking that I feel is a cross between punk and black metal style vocals. Personally, I feel like the last track shows the diversity of the vocals as well. The first half is some sort of spoken word piece in Finnish, while I won’t comment on the lyrics since I personally don’t know Finnish, the delivery is incredibly somber and authentic, while transitioning into the familiar shrill vocals, that same somber and authentic feeling is there just amplified in a more extreme way. Simply a solid performance and a true highlight out of the entire release I feel.
A great come back release and certainly a band I’ll be looking forward to in the middle. So far it seems as though the Finnish black metal scene will stay the strongest out of the rest of Europe. Any fan of that scene should find something to like out of this release and the band’s other three as well.