Finnish Theme Week

1. Behexen – Sieluni Saatanan Vihasta Roihuten

Behexen has been on top of my beloved Finnish bands for a while now. And By The Blessing of Satan has grown on me so much over the past year that I surely consider it as one of my favourite black metal albums ever. Completely uncompromising sound and the raw atmosphere gives the feeling of negativity combined with pure satanism. One of the albums where you feel the honesty in every note, every second of each song. And the slow parts of the songs show the real ritualistic character of Behexen.

2. Totalselfhatred – Sledge-Hammered Heart

Unbelievable band! Having released two albums since their formation in 2005, they brought a touch of Finnish frost to depressive tunes from this part of Europe. The self-titled album is much more worth attention than released in 2011 Apocalypse in Your Heart which loses a little bit of its original feeling. Sledge-Hammered Heart is an extraordinary track which sends you into the land of frozen lakes and depression. With its melodic passages, it provokes a deep feeling of, actually, total self hatred.

‘All the lies behind my smiles

they say that true love never dies… but you will…

All that we shared feels like a lie

I wish that I could turn back time

to the point when it all was fine’

3. Goatmoon– Way of the Holocaust Winds

It is definitely worth having a closer look at this Finnish project led by Jaakko Lähde known under the sinister nickname of BlackGoat Gravedesecrator. His recent album – Voitto tai Valhalla, released in September last year, with its strong Burzum reminiscence, is a definite step forward for the band. The album is an ambitious record, and with its occasional but tasteful folk references, it creates a rather uniform entirety. Way of the Holocaust Winds is a great track with a definite Burzum aura that successfully sends you for a long music journey to the early nineties.

4.Musta Surma– Riena

Musta Surma or Black Death in Finnish, is a great example to investigate while having a look at the Finland’s black metal underground. In spite of existing since 1997 with its current name, the band has never released any LP record, focusing rather on split albums. Embracing greatly traditional virtues of black metal, the band definitely leaves me with an urge of a full album which, I hope, they will eventually prepare. Riena comes from their second demo released in 1999 and it perfectly defines the band as a whole.

5.Turmion Kätilöt– Pyhä Maa

Something different now… Very different! Don’t play this song if you are not very keen of electronics. This band always makes me laugh, so much positive energy. Very lively industrial character combined with Finnish lyrics is ever so edifying or whatever you want to call it. If you add to it the band’s ironic black metal image, it all makes a funny alternative in this music world.

6. Horna– Kun Synkkä Ikuisuus Avautuu

Could there be the Finnish Theme Week without Horna? Of course not! The band, which has been in the lead of Suomi black metal scene for a while, has become an inspiration for many outfits. Led by Shatraug, known from Behexen and Sargeist, it has grown very prosperous and gathered the considerable discography including 8 full-length albums. Personally, I have a very selective taste in terms of Horna. They do have some riveting material, however Horna seemed to have fallen in a loop created by themselves which makes them repeat their own work. Nevertheless, Sudentaival is a great album which certainly belongs to the heritage of Finland’s black metal. Here is the original version of Kun Synkkä Ikuisuus Avautuu.

7.Azaghal– Black Legions of Satan

Azaghal must be my first cracking discovery of 2015. I am not really sure why I haven’t encountered the band before. Formed in Hyvinkää in 1995 as Belfegor, the band has not been futile in their career. They have released several brilliant albums and especially the later ones are really worth attention showing the right direction for Azaghal. Pure satanic misanthrophy! They have released a new album last month which is still growing on me but I have certainly been enslaved by Nemesis and Luciferin Valo, which in my opinion, are the strongest records of the band.

8.Before the Dawn– Heaven

Let’s have some time devoted to one of the most outstanding Finnish musicians – Tuomas Saukkonen – the incredibly ambitious individual with clearly identified musical direction, yet experimenting with every project he does. Being mostly known for his work in Before The Dawn, he created own legacy with his other projects – Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, RoutaSielu and, finally Wolfheart, which was formed on the ashes of the aforementioned bands. Closing all the other projects and working only on Wolfheart, Tuomas proves his unlimited talent and ambitious approach to music.

Let’s start with Before the Dawn, which I admire for its persistence in style and inspiring lyrics. 4:17am is definitely my favourite record with a very personal meaning to me.

‘Repeating questions to make some sense,
fragile words could offer great defence
against myself and the creature inside,
It’s taking me over again…

This evil inside me, the cause of my fall
is giving nothing and taking all…
Failure in re-creation of heaven’

9.Black Sun Aeon– Core of Winter

Before being put to sleep, Black Sun Aeon released 3 magnificent albums, each with slightly different approach but still embracing the same values. Routa is definitely my personal winner! So much coldness and melancholy! The opening song, Core of Winter is a perfect introduction to the frozen land of Talviaamu and Talviyö – the winter morning and winter night. Slow and heavy riffs with subtle background keyboards as well as combination of clean and harsh vocals create a perfect harmony of what I look for in doom metal.

10.Dawn of Solace– I Was Never There

Dawn of Solace is another example of Tuomas’ extraordinary devotion to music. Recording the only album, The Darkness in 2006 he proved his diverse approach to doom metal. It’s funny how you can see the unique character of Dawn of Solace but you still can clearly notice it’s the same musician. Incredible work! I Was Never There is certainly my beloved track of the album which defines pure melancholy and desolation.

11.RoutaSielu– Kaipaus

RoutaSielu featured Tuomas playing bass guitar and being responsible for harsh vocals. The spirit of the band differed from the other ones significantly. Concentrating on melodic death metal and having all Finnish lyrics, RoutaSielu released only one album – Pimeys. The band doesn’t lose its original Finnish character and t is definitely a piece of great work which Tuomas was involved in. Check out the cool video for Kaipaus!!!

12.Wolfheart– The Hunt

The last one from Tuomas is of course the mighty Wolfheart. After closing all the other projects, Tuomas has given birth to the creation which is the incarnation of all his previous experience and knowledge. Wolfheart was a very mature concept which has soon evolved into a proper band. Featuring only harsh vocals this time, the band is perfect overview of Tuomas’ work, encompassing a vast amount of talent and passion for creating metal. The Hunt – this is what I call the INTRO!!! There cannot be a better opening track than this! Check the man himself in action!

13.Beherit– Unholy Pagan Fire

It’s time for some classic stuff! There is not much that has to be said about Beherit, which is certainly the band that speaks for itself. 2009 has seen Engram – in my opinion, the great return of Nuclear Holocausto who managed to come back to the original spirit of Beherit and capture it on the record successfully. The Drawing Down the Moon album, however, seemed to gain a status of the icon, and is now considered as one of the most important record in the black metal diverse world. Let’s hope that the future will see more comebacks of Beherit!

14.Amanita Virosa– Valuta Vereni T„ähän Maahan

Time to promote some good stuff! My friends from Amanita Virosa are soon to release their debut album – Asystole, via Inverse Records! You definitely need to check them out. Playing the poisonous creation which they call hospital metal, they are quite difficult to compare to anything which gives them rather unique character. Really professional vocals with a wide range of black metal screams and death metal growls are for sure an unambiguous merit of the band. A large number of melodic passages with a subtle combination of keyboards and catchy riffs are putting Amanita Virosa on the strong position as a debuting band.

HAIL CABBAGE, BLOOD & INSANITY!!!

15.Sotajumala– Sinä Et Ole Yhtään Mitään

How about some brilliant Finnish death metal? Sotajumala’s newest release, Raunioissa, is certainly a great location on the map of death metal, leading the band to a well-recognized format. Amazing vocals and great solos in Sinä Et Ole Yhtään Mitään make it my favourite track from the new album. If you haven’t heard Sotajumala before and you like some proper death metal, check it out!

16.Funerary Bell– Circle Within Circle

Recommended by a friend of mine, Funerary Bell is another perfect example demonstrating the splendour of Finnish black metal underground. Having released only one full album, The Coven, the band successfully incorporated the occult character into their music. I just can’t get enough of them recently. I really DO hope for another great album soon.

17.Ajattara– Säälin Koira

Another Finnish band that is hard to compare to anything. The dark atmosphere combined with tasteful use of keyboard motifs is what defines Ajattara as a band. Now split-up, Ajatarra formed in 1996 in Helsinki and since then they released 7 full-length albums, finishing with Murhat in 2011. Enjoy!

18.Archgoat– The Dawn of the Antichrist

Suomi Theme Week is coming to an abrupt end so let’s fin(n)ish it with some proper tune! Archgoat is certainly the band that rules my body, mind and soul… This is one of the best things you can see live. Honestly! All the slow catchy riffs are always leading me to an unknown state of mind. I mentioned the newest record already and it is time to have a look at their previous stuff. With the The Light-Devouring Darkness album, released in 2009, they have defined a lot in terms of Finnish black metal. The Dawn of the Antichrist is a first song I heard from the band and it made me infected with the goat virus immediately!

Let this song be the anthem of The Goat Tavern!
HAIL ARCHGOAT!