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Saiva – Finnmarkens Folk (Re-Issue)

Saiva
Finnmarkens Folk (Re-Issue)
by Anton Sanatov at 27 February 2019, 9:49 PM

When things turn cold sometimes it’s best to just go ahead and skate atop the ice. For when you throw down pirouettes amidst the blackened frost and forceful storms, they come out that much brighter than before, and may in turn ignite the most compelling warmth.

Black Metal is a peculiar genre to say the least. And yet what makes it so endearing – if that is a word that may be used to describe such a dark musical entity – is its crude, brutal, honesty. It is perhaps a challenge to put a spin on a genre that is so distinct, and yet, there are those who manage to stir this pot of chilling darkness and brew something steaming fresh.  SAIVA’s “Finnmarkens Folk” is indeed one of those creations, and now you get to experience it yet again as it is re-issued for your joy and wonder.

Welcome to the chilling, permafrost lands of Progressive Black Metal – where instead of being sacrificed, the animals speak in tongues of long forgotten men. “Finnmarkens Folk” is certainly not your average Nordic Black Metal offering. For whilst it carries all the conventional traits of the genre – with its lacklustre production, the dominant presence of tremolo picking in “En föliden tid”, and A. Petterson’s menacing vocals – the Folk elements that play such an intrinsic part throughout this album create fields of palatable variation and interesting tonal shifts that pack the listening experience full of surprises. The opener’s sludgy, atmospheric progressions flow like coarse winds across the waves of hill tops above the thunderous creeks of pallid pines.

Things get a touch more chaotic and fearsome on “Höst”, as blast beats are entwined with folksy, galloping grooves in a raging demonstration of pure genre-defining standards. This is Black Metal incarnate. It is heavy and rugged, but it still manages to maintain an atmospheric aura of an artistic enterprise.

My favourite, and probably the most ambitious track of this short EP, has to be “Strofer ur ett fjärran skogsland”, for this one is truly deviant from the norms with its blend of curious melancholy and playful oddity.  Grungy and even at times psychedelic, its clean guitar riffs even bear hints of bands like SCREAMING TREES as create a dirge of abnormality in the middle of this Metallic enterprise. Somewhat brighter but nonetheless sinister, the track cascades like the fickle smile of a conniving troll, and runs away through the northern woods to the echoes of its whispers.

Closing “Finnmarkens Folk” is the unorthodox instrumental “Rusakko” – an instrumental offering that sees A. Petterson pick up what I can only assume is a Hurdy-Gurdy, and offer a truly beguiling and handsome musical offering that lifts this record and carries it away on gentle, sombre tones.

Overall - “Finnmarkens Folk” is raw and hard to the touch, but palpable nonetheless - like the dry feathers of a dirty angel, who maintains its pride and allegiance to the host even though it’s banished from its ranks. Aesthetic in its intent, yet plain to the eye, SAIVA’s debut is more than deserving of its re-issue into the world of blackened skies.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability:7
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. En föliden tid
  2. Höst
  3. Strofer ur ett fjärran skogsland
  4. Rusakko
Lineup:
A. Petterson – All Instruments
Record Label: Nordvis
     


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