Musta Surma/Horna
Vida Vuodet Split Re-issue

First I must state that these releases represent one thing, classic limited releases selling for exorbitant prices are now widely available. As a bonus, these songs are on cd format for the world audience. I already own both the vinyl and cd releases of these gems and purchased the cd version because I was too lazy to burn my own cds from the records.

Moribund is giving the world a new release of Grievantee’s 2005 cd release of Vihan Vuodet. It collects the 2000 and 2002 split vinyl releases, the 7” ep and cassette from 2000, which was new material from both Horna and Musta Surma, and the 12″ vinyl limited to 350 hand numbered copies from 2002. Musta Surma’s side is their ”Demo ’97” and Horna’s side is a 2002 re-recording of their ”Varjoissa” demo, 6.66 years after the original.

For those out there that only know Horna by way of their newest material, I will offer the following comparison, free of charge. Imagine yourself laying on your back in the grass on a foggy summer night in total darkness, with the chorus of crickets and frogs for company. Now try and concentrate through the cacophony and the gently swirling blackened mists and catch a glimpse of stars. The more you allow yourself to be absorbed into the music of the night the more attuned you become and the more clearly you can see those pinholes in the curtain of night. Details present themselves for your enjoyment. This is Ääniä Yössä. Varjoissa, on the other hand, is blatantly straightforward, fast, streamlined Scandinavian black metal. Fire and brimstone, evil has no boundaries and I worship at the altar of Emperor and Bathory black metal. Shatraug and Moredhel and Gorthaur re-recorded the 1995 demo recorded by the same trio, then known as Skald, Hyarn, and Gorthaur. Needless to say the sound quality is much improved, but also the songs have been improved as well. Shatraug has made tremendous improvements to his vocal delivery since the demo days and fans of Sargeist will know what kind of performance to expect. The two songs from the 7” feature Nazgul, now of Satanic Warmaster, on vocals, obviously he was still in the band back in winter 1999/2000. We get new artwork and the lyrics printed for both bands. Instead of the nude beauty with the sword from the 7” cover and record we get a grimacing countenance in stark black and white and instead of solo shots of band members in the woods, we get Shatraug with a torch.

I have known Musta Surma since 2000 and at that time was not really impressed with the band, simply the b-side of a Horna release. When the two bands decided to do it again, once again Musta Surma was merely the b-side of a Horna release. I have never sought out other Musta Surma releases, and was mildly surprised to find out they do not have a full length release to their discography. Their contribution to the Crushing The Holy Trinity LP box set is what changed my mind, though mostly it is because of the much improved sound quality. On this disc in question, Musta Surma has a cleaner sound than Horna, not as much distortion to the guitars and a lower register snarl for vocals. Thyrgrimmr is not original in his vocal delivery, basically just ripping his throat raw at full volume, but it works well. The music is controlled and slightly melodic and the pace is slow to mid, with occasional fast breaks. As one would expect, the two songs from the 7” are more polished than the four demo tracks. Eventually, instead of just releasing compilation tracks and splits, we will be blessed with a Musta Surma full length. It is long overdue. Fans nostalgic for the old ways should pick this up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
August 15th, 2007

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