Uhrilehto
Viha Ja Ikuinen Vitutus

This Finnish atmospheric black metal band has released a string of demos since 1996, and finally put out a full-length debut. With so many bands vying for position within the atmospheric black sub genre, it seems Finland is cornering the market on top flight talent. Uhrilehto is yet another talented newcomer with good musicianship on display.

What, if anything makes them a cut above the average? Atmosphere is more than a convenient title for “keyboard dominated” and this corpse-painted trio understands this. Yes, keyboards do dominate, but they never totally overwhelm to the point of wondering why they even bother with other instruments. Their label describes them as “primitive and rusty,” which seems a bit of a put down to me. They may be primitive black in mindset, but not in output. In places, they compare favorably to Vordven or Thy Serpent, and yet they maintain that old Emperor intensity.

All songs are in Finnish, except “Jesus Christ Massacre,” which gives away the lyrical content. While they will win no awards for lyrical inventiveness, they will get some deserved attention for sonic attack. Uhrilehto combine a slow melodic pace with atmospheric (there’s that word again) flourishes that range from ominous to hypnotic to downright beautiful. And on top of that musical framework is the vocal performance of Nidhogg, truly one of the best of the genre, and a most fitting style, harsh but clear (ie: understandable), grim and intense without overpowering everything else. It appears they want to be considered a grim, Nordic-styled act, but while intense, it is horror movie tension, not brutality that they present here. To me, that is actually a plus because while not necessarily original, no other band pops instantly to mind on first listen. They provide eight easily discernible songs with memorable ones being “Tuhannen Vuoden Takaa,” with its classical styled repetitive keys, “Viha Ja…” which is a bit chaotic with interesting melodies, and the mellow, relaxed keys of “Viimeinen Liekki”; simple but effective. The remaining songs include hypnotic marching beats, ominous disharmony, and even a psuedo-dance vibe.

While quite different in places, they never go over the edge to join the bizarre trends of many modern black bands, which is yet one more reason I can recommend this band. The overall feeling is mid ’90s black and that suits me. Not a “best of year” contender, but definitely worth your attention. Speaking of attention, the cover art is sure to grab yours.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
April 13th, 2001

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