Norrhem - Official Website

Sielunvihollinen / Norrhem
Norrhem / Sielunvihollinen

Finland Country of Origin: Finland

1. Aurinko Ja Teräs
2. Huokaavat Kentät
3. Vihollisen Verestä

Review by Felix on December 10, 2023.

Here we finally get a split whose cover makes sense. The involved bands are depicted by the two creatures. The taller guys embodies Norrhem, because they are the leading force here and he who has the scythe is the boss, right? But of course, the smaller dude is important as well. He stands for Sielunvihollinen and looks like a trainee, but I don’t think that his only duty is to taje care for enough beer in the fridge.

Either way, Norrhem kick off the album and one song of their triple strike stands out, 'Huokaavat Kentät' marks a fantastic example of Scandinavian black metal the way it should be. Here we find elements of Northern melancholy as well as a heavy and robust foundation, and a silent intro leads to a more and more intensive number. The guitars play enchanting yet ominous melodies, decently flickering keyboards accompany the six strings, drums and the naturally raw voice. Equipped with the perfect length of eight minutes, the strength of the song emerges more and more and even an almost emotional break with soft guitars does not hurt its fascination. With more songs of this quality, Norrhem will catapult themselves among the top ten black metal bands from Suomi – and we all know the endless rows of competitors in this cold country.

The further tracks of Norrhem also make it easy to enjoy the invention of black metal. The dudes show their competence in writing powerful, stormy compositions. The very well accentuated interplay of keyboards and guitars is exciting and the main reason for the glorious impact of these tracks that are almost as good as the aforementioned highlight. By the way, I may not forget to mention the lively, vigorous and dense sound that makes the performance of Norrhem complete.

The mix of Norrhem’s companions is slightly weaker, the guitars sound a bit flat. But it’s not only the production which makes Sielunvihollinen pick the shorter straw in comparison with their partners in black metal. If this split has a weak song, it is unfortunately their first one. Its melody does not really catch the morbid beauty of the genre. Nevertheless, Sielunvihollinen, who have recorded their first demo five years earlier than Norrhem, do not totally fail here, by far not. The first sequences of the epic 'Löi Sodan Viikattet' are the most violent segments of the entire split and its guitar lines make Behexen fans forget that a new album of their heroes is overdue. But 'Löi Sodan Viikattet' has, in order to justify its excessive length, many different sides and a sequence with a wistful guitar melody is just one of them. Okay, the sheer insanity gains the upper hand again, but I am almost sure you will be surprised about the second half of the track. I don’t want to give too uch away here, check it out – not only this song but the whole album. 8.6 for Norrhem and 7.2 for Sielunvihollinen result in a very solid overall rating.

Rating: 8.6 out of 10