Fun fact about your favorite nationalist reviewer: black metal is my favorite genre of music. I absolutely love it. It’s the most stripped down, primal form of metal, yet you can do so much with it. You can make it evil, you can make it beautiful, you can throw in a hodgepodge of completely opposite genres and it will somehow find a way to still work. I personally go more for the second wave of Norwegian black metal, but I also like a lot of blackgaze releases. The only black metal I haven’t really explored is folk black metal; other than the folk influence on Burzum’s Filosofem the sub-sub-genre has just never really interested me that much.
Then I discovered Kelle Surut Soi by Finland’s Havukruunu. I found this album completely by accident scouring the black metal tab on Bandcamp but man, what a happy accident this album was. Just from the cover art that’s very reminiscent of JRR Tolkien, a black-clad rider on a black horse standing on a hill surrounded by water and dead trees, I knew I was what I was going to hear. I just didn’t expect this album would be so heavy with its folk and neo-pagan influences. As I’ve said before, folk-influenced black metal isn’t something I’m super familiar with. I came into this completely blind, and I absolutely loved it.
The riffs on this album are fantastic, and on each track each individual riff builds off the last to inform the rest of the track. The tempo isn’t start to finish neck-breaking speed; some tracks, like “Vainajain Valot” trade the typical black metal speed for a steadier, slower beat that still works beautifully. That said, each track on this album contributes to the work as a whole. As with most black metal, no track here is a single; this is a piece of music that you want to experience as a whole, in one sitting. Fully digest these tracks as parts of a singular whole, as a true album should be in my opinion.
I can usually spiel about an album for awhile but this album, I feel, doesn’t require a lot of words to describe how much I enjoyed it. It’s not the best black metal album ever; it’s probably not even the best black metal release of the last 5 years. But it’s not very often that I’ll hear an album from a style I’m not familiar with and immediately want to dive deeper into said style. Kelle Surut Soi is such a strong album that it does just that for me. If you love black metal, check it out. If you like neopagan or folk metal check it out. I can’t recommend this album enough.
I give it a 4.5/5.
Check out the full album here
Purchase it from their Bandcamp