Saturday, January 10, 2015

O Easter the Most Peculiar Time

Jumalhämärä (2014) Songless Shores. Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions. 18 min.

Sleep peacefully, brothers
It's warm and cozy
Be at rest, be the offering
Remember to flog your children properly

Bells chime hollow - You are invited! - to be accompanied with voices from afar. An erratic and tribal metal sets in. A feverish nightmare pounding my already fragile psyche. A chthonic voice crawls forth from underneath the cold and moist Finnish soil, and those pale, shadowy figures... covered in blood, smiling. Welcome my sacred brethren of 1931.

Acoustic and electric guitars coil and interwine together like those twin serpents of life and death - red and black, of course - and lead the way to a foggy realm made of ambient hum and chanting choir. Everything seems to be out of place in this realm, and yet a crooked smile still lingers on my face.

Slowly, little by little the chanting choir is drown under a barrage of noise and clutter coming from an unknown source. The rusty dagger - a family treasure of sorts - in my hand comes to life. Pulsating, enticing. The bread and wine of nightmares is laid upon a cold stone, and those howls... Verily, O verily I know what is to be done.

A strange clacking rhythm draws me out of a momentary fall to an inner blackness. In a short while the choir returns, their voices rise towards a starlit sky which is barely visible from these timbered chambers. Such a beauty, such a numinosity! Warm tears run down my blood-stained face... O Easter the most peculiar time!

Coming clean about it, I just cannot write a 'normal album reviews' on Jumalhämärä's releases, and that's a distinct winning point for them if you ask me. Why? Well, basically I differentiate good musick from bad musick by the following maxim; Good musick translates into a graphic and vivid story in my head, while bad musick just doesn't do that. Call me hidebound, naive and simpleton, but I just couldn't give a flying fuck about writing reviews which focus on 'blast beats', 'production values' or 'scene merits'.

Then again, there's most certainly more to the Songless Shores than just being a catalyst for one man's storytelling exercise.

While most of the contemporary black metal allows itself to be used as a vehicle for the 'second religiosity' - usually in a fully unsconscious manner - by accepting an universal and multiculturalist paradigm of the twilight civilization, Jumalhämärä seems to steer in the opposite direction by choosing particular over universal and cultural over cultureless. This provides them an opportunity to dig deep into the soul of Finnish man, which lies dormant under a foreign morass. This - a distinct Finnishness, that is - is a major factor in the Songless Shores, just as it was in their anterior opus Resitaali (2013). Genetically coded black metal, anyone? Well, at least my genetic programming responded in the affirmative.

The previous version of this review - lost once and for all thanks to Google fuckup - had some name-dropping used as a way to provide pointers for those who might be interested in the Songless Shores. Here they are again; Yrjö von Grönhagen, Clandestine Blaze, Hildegard von Bingen and Throbbing Gristle. Use your imagination to figure out how they connect - or if they, actually, connect at all.

Jumalhämärä on Encyclopedia Metallum: here.
Their respective record label: here.

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