AIHOS - Havitykse Maa
Release date March 29/19 (Regain)
Aihos' debut release (Ikuisuuden Suojaan - review link below) made such an impression on this jaded reviewer that it made The Mighty Decibel's list of 'Top Ten EPs of 2018'. In fact, it impressed so much that it had me opining whether the Finnish unit would be able grasp the title as best melodic black metal unit currently in action (R.I.P. Thy Primordial!). So, with bated breath, we now have the debut full length from Aihos for consideration.
Retaining attention over a short EP is relatively easy, as a band can simply hit the listener over the head with a few tracks to whet peoples' appetites. Keeping folks engaged over a full length is another matter. Some diversity of material is usually required or expected given the expanded time being demanded. Aihos have clearly grasped this, as, while their melodic black core sound is retained, they throw a couple of curve balls to keep you on your toes. 'Eilinen Palaa' introduces a folk element into the fray, with a memorable main riff that proves to be one of the highlight tracks. Additionally, 'Ikuiset' drops all melodic pretenses and just blasts away, a ferocious display of might that is another key track herein.
That said, the key to this album though remains the band's ability to marry memorable melodic guitar passages with muscular riffs and P Dethrone's nasty cackle vocals. '07.41' being a consummate example, a nine minute epic that ebbs and flows throughout, grabbing you by the cojones and not letting you go. Absolute melodic BM perfection. The crown is theirs if their next album is as good as this one.