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Vermilia - Kätkyt (2018) - Review

Band: Vermilia
Album title: Kätkyt
Release date: 29 June 2018
Label: Self-Released

01. Äiti Maa
02. Vedestä Vieraantunut
03. Haudoille
04. Poissa
05. Saattaja
06. Maisema
07. Sanattomat Laulut
08. Mustan Taivaan Morsian

After the huge success of Denmarks Myrkur, who if we are honest triggered a proper wave of female black/pagan/folk metal bands, we got also this Finnish artist which is no less worth all of your attention. This rather mysterious female multiinstrumentalist started releasing singles in November last year and each one gained more and more attention from fans and media alike. A deliberate and good move which made Vermilia one of the most marketable acts right now. Her music which is a mix of epic pagan metal in the true Scandinavian vein with raw and melancholic vocals of course deserves such a recognition. All of the previously released singles are now gathered together with some previously unheard tunes on her debut full-length, Kätkyt, which is oddly enough released as a self-release, but I'm more than sure that this won't be like this for a long time, except if this is the conscious decision of artist.

On her debut album Vermilia offers us eight magnificent songs that are all coming with lyrics in her native language (a thing that certainly adds additional charm) and speak about the old gods, myths and nature of her homeland. Her music is of course pagan metal in the first place, but it comes often mixed with some ferocious black metal, a couple of times with folk music, as well we can find some symphonic elements, a bit of old-school thrash/speed and classic heavy metal. The album is dynamic enough and in those 45 minutes of playing time I'm sure that fans of the genre and those who like divergent female vocals will in these captivating compositions find their moment of enjoyment, while with every consequent listen you are on a path to discover more and more of its beauty.

I don't know if Vermilia did everything on her own here, the only known thing is that certain Somnia helped her with production, but if she did this on her own she certainly must be congratulated, because the album sounds and feels like if we are witnessing a full fledged band. Vermilia's vocals are absolutely great, meticulously elaborated, ranging from emotive and melancholic to raw blackened shrieks and everything in between. There's something mystical in her truly addictive voice and she perfectly knows how to make flowing transitions between cleans, which are in majority, and harsh ones, just listen to the amazing "Vedestä Vieraantunut", which musically has something that reminds to Bathory or Primordial in the first place, and you'll get my point.

There are plenty of catchy melodies and raw elements blending together in utter drive. Some thunderous and pounding drumming bring the heaviness and bombast, while gritty guitars with here and there ablazing tremolo picks makes everything even more dark, cold and bleak, like for example in the one of the most aggressive tracks here "Poissa". Speeding up the things like for example in before mentioned "Poissa" certainly makes a nice contrast with more ethereal parts, sometimes even in one single track, to hear this in all its glory you must listen to the absolutely fascinating "Saattaja", a track which blends folk, symphonic and black metal elements that reminds me to Satyricon into one heavy and coherent sonic flow. When for an instant I was beginning to think that things might get a bit too mellow, Vermilia impressed me by rather ethereal and celtic vibe of "Maisema", a track which starts with an impressive acoustic guitar and discerning voice, and in the end everything transforms into one almost danceable pagan metal madness. There are of course heard also some untypical folkish instruments, but the whole thing is paganish and metalic as hell from start to finish, yet with that feminine touch that makes it somehow seductive.

From the very start with the captivating "Äiti Maa" until the end with the impressive melancholic "Mustan Taivaan Morsian", Vermilia serves with music that gets under your skin pretty soon. I like that tracks don't lose the mystical charge, neither when it might get for an instant quite straight, nasty and fast. The album is pretty multilayered and thus there are still some elements that unveil to the devoted listener by every consequent spin of the album. The production is well balanced, it's strong and it has depth, it's intentionally raw but yet clean enough to allow the listener enjoying in each and every single tiny part. Sweetness, rawness, melody and aggression walk hand in hand here in an exceptional manner, there's no time for any silly too technical add ons, and I consider Vermilia's Kätkyt as an album that you wouldn't dare to miss, especially if you like any of the genres mentioned before.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10