Hiidenhauta - Noitia on Minun Sukuni - (6.5/10)
Published on March 6, 2014
Hiidenhauta is a six piece metal band from the southern end of Finland. The band was formed in 2012 and put out two self-released EPs in 2013, drawing the attention of Inverse Records, who released Noitia on Minun Sukuni, the band’s debut full length album in March of 2014. The general sound of Hiidenhauta falls into some blend of melodic black metal and folk metal but the band utilizes and combines several different styles into an album that is full of really good songs but lacks the general cohesion of a stellar album.
Really the only way I can describe Noitia on Minun Sukuni is all over the place. While all of the songs are solid in their own right, the entire affair plays out more like a compilation album rather than a structured album. You have sections of the more middling, plodding variety on like during most of “Kaartuvat” which dabble with galloping guitar riffs and stomping drums. You have melodic black metal with touches of cheesy synths a la Battlelore during “Sumussa Soutava”. Then there’s the fast paced trem picking and blasting drums during “Ruumisvedet” which wouldn’t sound out of place during a 1349 album. Everything is pieced together by mid-paced riffs backed by symphonic orchestrations and keys. I feel like a used car salesman trying to squeeze all of those extra features into my sales pitch. The album even ends with a two minute solo piano piece, to end on a serene and somber note.
Attempting to further their attachment to folk metal, Hiidenhauta enlisted the talents of Korpiklaani’s front man, Jonne Järvelä. I really like his vocal style with Korpiklaani, but his guest vocals here are very subtle coming across like a muffled whisper with only a shade of his typical intonation and none of the energy. I really don’t see what the band felt the need to bring in another vocalist to help things along, as they already employ two, in the standard male versus female employ. The male vocals range from raspy shouts to a more death metal oriented growl, but come across as average. The female vocals are mostly ethereal oohs and aahs, which support the symphonic backdrops but don’t add a whole lot of depth. The band actually sounds best when they are firing on all cylinders, like the first two tracks, “Tuhkasta” and “Raato”, which both blend their heavier style of folk metal with the symphonic backdrops, sounding similar to Finntroll (minus the humppa).
While I appreciate the ambitious nature and grand scope of what Hiidenhauta is trying to accomplish on Noitia on Minun Sukuni, they miss the mark by trying to fit everything into one package. There is nothing blatantly bad or reprehensive about this album or any of the songs on it; it’s actually quite the opposite. Each song has a solid structure and enough variation to keep things interesting, from galloping riffs to trem picking and blasts to symphonic folk metal. The problem is that the general pacing of the album is all over the place. It’s almost schizophrenic in the way the band switches from black metal to folk metal to straight up symphonic metal. Continuity is the problem here; with Noitia on Minun Sukuni sounding more like a compilation of tracks from a band’s storied history rather than a debut album. So I applaud Hiidenhauta for their ambitions, but I must fault them for the same. This is a band that is extremely talented and can skillfully craft songs weaving through a variety of textures and moods, so hopefully the future can see a more focused, cohesive album. Noitia on Minun Sukuni is an acceptable debut album from a band that shows a lot of promise, but they haven’t really captured the magic yet.