HautokammiaMy translator seems to be permanently set on Finnish to English at the moment, and once again it came to the rescue as I was able to learn that “Pimeyden Valtakunta” isn’t quite as obscene as it sounds, but translates as “The Kingdom of Darkness”. Having heard it, “The Kingdom of Hate-Filled Pitch Blackness” would be a more apt description of the band’s second album.

Yes, it’s 33 minutes of old school dark and violent black metal. No favours are sought, and no concession is given. It’s a holistic, belligerent affair with blasting drums and a vocalist who sounds like he’s croaking his last words and inviting us to join in the ritual slaughter. As the drum beats mercilessly, walls reverberate and the room is filled with the rusty edges of the guitar line. The preachings are in Finnish but anti-religious rantings as they no doubt are transcend the trivial medium of language. There’s nothing new here as rusty nails and raw violence are well-trodden territories. The sleeve art and the band logo told us what to expect already but Hautakammio do it very well. “Kohti Kuolemaa” (Towards Death) continues where “Minä, tuhoaja” (I, the Destroyer) left off and the vocalist marks the onslaught with a long deathly scream. Guitars wander and evil is everywhere. I like the no-nonsense pace and energy which add impetus to this carnage. It’s kind of speeded-up Mayhem. “Kadotuksen Reunalla” (At the Edge of the Abyss) has a more creepy majesty, if such words can be used of this world of horror and abomination. The scene is breathless, strangulating even, and of course violent, tripping over mass graves in the course of its deathly black march. It’s all desperate but there is no time to take breath. The drummer batters on and the vocalist continues to sound like he’s in the throes of death. Through screams and horror, “Neitsyt Maria Itkee Verta” (Virgin Mary Crying Blood) now conveys images of people in large numbers being put to the sword. The razor-like riff is necessary and is provided. No mercy and more deadly screams are at the core. Fury and remorseless hatred and vitriol are at the centre of “Golgata” (Calvary), together with more agonised screams. It leads into “Rituaaali” (Ritual), a black metal march but one which is fast and furious and flowing. I can’t imagine that the juices which flow out of it are remotely pleasant. Smoke filled lack metal juice usually isn’t. “Rituaali” ends in a tone of murderous majesty.

It may be old school, but Hautakammio don’t seem to care about anything else, so why should we? “Pimeyden Valtakunta” is exciting, passionate and well executed.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)