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Tervahäät - Tervahäät

Tervahäät's eponymously titled debut album is a gloomy outing forging ritual, folk and doom metal with a dash of Finnish mysticism. It's a curiously low-key release carrying little information in a neatly designed sleeve picturing an isolated wooden cabin in a snow-drenched forest. Their core sound is derived from banjo and bass guitar with vocals either spoken in solemn tongues or sung in a chant like fashion.

'Lumi', the opening track, is carried on billowing guitar drone and plucked banjo. The resonating bass tones and lightly sprinkled banjo playing of 'Hautaa' is a strange fashioning of folk and metal. 'Kalankallo', meanwhile, remains rooted in the metal genre where a series of fuzzed up chord movements lay the foundations for deep intoned voices.

Aside from a sole acoustic track, everything on Tervahäät is performed at a sluggish doom metal pace. Tervahäät are at their best, though, when they expand their sound palette. From crackling environmental sounds 'Otava' picks up on intermittent guitar strum with sombre background chanting. A barrage of hollow sounding rolling drums opens into a series of low end bass chords, swathed in chants, bowing out on loose improvised guitar notes. 'Menneet' follows a similar path with subdued melodic chanted vocals, augmented with sluggish doom chords, and ritualised percussion, with guitar chime added latterly.

Tervahäät appear to fit in with the burgeoning doom, drone and black metal scenes at the moment but Tervahäät, released on the Finnish Anima Arctica label, could easily sit beside any Steinklang release seeing as it merges the mysticism of their homeland with folk and metal influences, together with a gloomy ritualised atmosphere. Tervahäät is relatively brief, chocking up a mere 36 minutes, but on the basis of Tervahäät the duo of Ilmari M. Akkanen and Antero K. Väätäjä seem capable of producing something more substantive in the future. For more information go to www.animaarctica.fi