The last HIN ONDE album “Songs Of Battle“ is still in my memory as strong piece of Finnish Viking Metal, so I was looking forward to hearing their latest effort “Shades Of Solstice” that saw the shadows of day in 2003. And one thing right away, if you hate keyboards, then the second HIN ONDE output is some sort of Christmas album for you: Hin Onde – Hands Off, so HoHo... The key instrument really is quite prominent in the 5 Finns’ sound, but who normally likes Viking Metal should have no bigger problems with it.
Compared to the first album not much has changed, especially the production is quite a bit better and they use more clear vocals, but musically they have stayed pretty true to themselves. They still have a touch of the first two THYRFING albums in the opulent use of keyboards, while the Black Metallic voice of Nrq is a bit more croaky than the Swedes’.
That HIN ONDE hail from Finland becomes clear right off the start, because especially the Black Metal parts of “Ukonvasara“ definitely sound like the land of the thousand lakes, while they combine a straight, mid-paced rhythm with sluggish epicism and the contrasting vocal styles also are used to their best effect, garnished with generous keyboards. And this is a recipe that the band from Hyvinkää continues to brew, as for example with the following “Sorcery Of The Nameless“, with good drive and completely cleanly sung chorus.
“The Archaic Traveller“ then is an absolute highlight, with brilliant melodies and great clear vocals by J.Hytönen, accentuated by Nrq’s discernible Black/Death vocals, strong offering! Unfortunately right after “Supreme Chaos” forms some sort of contrast, as here the clean vocals do not sound 100%, but a bit forced. And had the song “House Of Hel” reminded me a bit of their countrymen AMORPHIS, we now have “Lamentations Of The Wind”, which’s Arabic sounding guitar runs remind me quite a bit of, I think, “Forgotten Sunrise“ off “Tales From The Thousand Lakes“.
And they kept something really interesting for the end, in form of “Perilous Journey“, quite fast, with very melodic keyboards and purely clean vocals, another interesting facet of HIN ONDE.
Unfortunately HIN ONDE’s second album does not reach genre highlights from the own country, such as TURISAS, FINNTROLL or MOONSORROW, but it still has turned out to be a strong bar of Metal that a Viking should on his list to check out. (Online December 18, 2004)