Review by Felix on March 20, 2023.
Welcome to the kingdom of darkness. This is not only the translation of the album’s title, but simultaneously the motto for the following 46 minutes of sinister black metal from the land of the thousand lakes. Hautakammio’s work from 2014 is not a very original one, quite the opposite, it is pretty obvious that these dudes hail from Finland. Their melody lines resemble those of bands like Aegrus, for example at the beginning of “Kohti juolemaa”, and the general musical approach as well as the more or less opaque production also have a lot in common with all these well-known other hordes from the current epicentre of black metal. And what can I say? This is exactly the way I like “my” black metal.
Hautakammio’s debut is not totally free from musical barbarism. Its opener wants to cannibalize everything that stands in its way. “Pimeyden valtakunta” shows a more controlled way of proceeding. The band does not confuse the listener with an ultra-violent attack. Instead, the songs march or storm forward without losing their general structure. Tempo changes are well integrated and do not affect the coherence of the single songs. Of course, pieces like the very effective “Neitsyt Maria itkee verta” do not take prisoners, neither in terms of vehemence nor with regard to viciousness. Neveftheless, they are always comprehensible.
I must admit that it makes not much sense to speak about the respective contributions of the single musicians. For instance, what kind of vocals do you expect? A clean and sweet voice? Or a constantly maliciously nagging and screaming monster? So once again, Hautakammio have not set out to change the genre. Their aim was to stick loyal to the guidelines and create songs that broaden the base of black metal. When I am then allowed to take note of exciting thunderstorms like “Rituaali” (first Finnish word which I think I know what it means), I have to say: mission accomplished. This song offers one of those unholy, clandestine guitar lines that add a lot of atmosphere while spitting on the use of keyboards. By the way, the quintet gives a wide berth to any genre-foreign frippery. No acoustic guitars appear, no female voice simulates an elf or a fairy, no melody line wants to drift away from the core of black damnation.
“Rituaali” marks the closer of the regular album, but two bonus tracks extend the joy of listening. These pieces have a very raw, Azaghal-like appearance due to the less professional production. Nevertheless, “Marraskuu” and “Golgata 2013” do not stand in the shadow of the original six-pack. Thus the buyer gets value for money. “Pimeyden valtakunta” is powerful, massive and without any kind of filler. If the work is missing in your collection, it can certainly be compensated for by other Finnish rages. But it would be a pity, especially when it comes to the stylish vinyl release with an insert. No doubt, Hautakammio enriches the scene and I hope they will give us new examples of their creativity soon.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10183