I have no idea how to pronounce their name, their album title, or their song titles, but that still isn’t keeping me from enjoying the hell out of the 2011 debut EP from Finland’s HAAPOJA, entitled “Hallitsematonta Voimaa.” A cool and chaotic crossover of Death ‘N’ Roll, Black, and Hardcore, this six-song excursion is a well-conceived Metal experiment that excels in part to its in-your-face aggression and do-it-yourself atmosphere.
From the album’s opening song, the grimy “Rajamailla,” to its last, the Blackened coffin-dragging “Teko Tapaani Johtaa,” HAAPOJA deliver an impressive blend of catchy, grooving, and interesting Metallic Hardcore that features some nicely crafted guitar work by Pekka Kivelä who sounds like Kurt Ballou with a Stockholm sugartooth. The similarities between a band like CONVERGE and HAAPOJA can definitely be heard in the band’s willingness and ability to play technically proficient Metal with fervor and creativity in tow, but likewise, the album’s weighty, groove-emphatic sound (“Hallitsematonta Voimaa”) could also be associated with meatier acts like ARCHITECT.
There’s a definite dose of Progressive Metalcore going on here, but likewise, the band isn’t all bells-and-whistles. Jyri Kuukasjärvi’s biting vocals keep things in line, Tuomas Ojala’s drums are a straight-forward whirlwind of Punk high-stepping, and the Blacker aspects of the album keep things traditionally evil in spite of its forward-thinking soundscapes.
There’s a definite ‘Post’ thing going on here with the album’s considerable atmosphere and even some odd semblance of Stoner/Sludge, but like I’ve already said and hinted at throughout, beyond the overtly rocking Hardcore side of things, this is a Crossover release that sounds like a lot of really cool bands from all types of genres. Either way you shake it, this shit is Metal through and through, and for a self-released album, production-wise, this thing sounds amazing.
So wrap those wrists and buckle up, because the hard-driving “Hallitsematonta Voimaa” is as fierce a debut as you’re apt to find. It’s also probably one of the best ‘free’ albums you’ll listen to this year.
(Online December 5, 2011)