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Authentic black metal - 92%

MaDTransilvanian, June 7th, 2010

Ever since I’ve begun listening to black metal, the Finnish scene is something I never got into. Not because of some musical or aesthetic dislike for it, but simply because it didn’t happen. However, one small sample of Finnish black metal, the Musta Surma EP known as Kaiken Pyhän Raunioilla, had long been sitting in the depths of my computer and not too long ago I decided to listen to it and review it, to finally have my introduction to a scene towards which I’ve always had a bit of curiosity which was never exactly quenched. And I must say that, if this EP is anything to go by, I’ve been missing something indeed.

Kaiken Pyhän Raunioilla is a three-song EP lasting just around twelve minutes. What’s refreshing about this is, ironically, that it’s absolute pure black metal. No excessive melodic stuff, no over-reaching emphasis on being atmospheric, no keyboards, nothing but pure grade A black metal in EP form. The music is based on those simple, classic black metal riffs which have that deadly double edged blade of melody and harshness to them. Backing this is the drumming, which is surprisingly un-repetitive and ambitious in its multiple patterns played, without falling into overuse or excessive loudness (there are no blast beats here), which is a great relief. That said, technicality a given for both the guitars and the drumming, especially on the second track, Kun Pahuus Polttaa Hyvyyden. Still, if I had to choose an absolute highlight it would have to be the final track, Kalman Kutsu, due to its superior riffs and overall atmosphere.

The vocals are a black metal rasp done in a traditional way, sounding about as harsh as is humanly possible while being a bit drowned out and mixed in the background while the instruments have the greatest exposure. From a comparative standpoint, I’d say that this album reminds me most of Mayhem’s timeless De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, although the comparison is only valid instrumentally: the vocals are orthodox black metal rasps, not Attila Csihar’s insane droning. That having been said, this is a very flattering comparison due to the Mayhem album being so important and great.

Musta Surma’s Kaiken Pyhän Raunioilla is an excellent, classic black metal EP that simple doesn’t compromise. Having now learned to appreciate what Finland is capable of creating in terms of black metal, I’ll be sure to check out additional releases from that scene. In the meantime, allow me to heartily recommend this EP to all who desire exceptional orthodox black metal which doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel in any way.