In the ever-filling tankard of new music, it is increasingly difficult to find, and to stay loyal to, your own sound. Of course, you don’t have to – as many excellent bands have mirrored and developed their influences throughout the years – and some have achieved great success. However, in the case of this new album from Finland- based black metallers, Väki, I was surprised to detect so many influences yet listen to a sound that remains very much their own. And that, folks, is clever.
First off, this is exceptionally well-written black metal. To state the blindingly obvious, its roots are firmly planted in icy Scandinavian origins, yet its tendrils reach to lands much further afield. There is the anguish and suffering of the French scene, the biting venom of the Polish scene and the expansive, blast-beat wilderness akin to bands from the Icelandic scene such as Audn.
Moments leap out. ‘Kuihtuvan maan puoliso’ lobs a bluesy guitar solo in that is as well polished as anything from ‘The Satanist’, while closer ‘Ikuisen kuolemai alttarille’ limps along with a tribal fatigue faintly reminiscent of Rotting Christ.
In entirety, this is a highly impressive, bleak rampage through everything there is to be loved about extreme metal. No, it’s not doing anything new in itself but it does succeed and taking all the best bits and wrapping them neatly inside 46 minutes. Very much recommended.