Very few things impress me more than a band that knows how to incorporate ideas from their native land or language into their music. Take Orphaned Land‘s beautiful incorporation of Middle-Eastern motifs in their message of unity, for example. I’m a sucker for this kind of sound. Chile’s Siaskel utilizes a mix of Spanish and Ona, a language of the indigenous Selk’nam people of the Patagonian region of Argentina and Chile, as a lyrical addition to their vicious blend of black and death metal. On their second album, Haruwen Airen, Siaskel goes for the throat and refuses to let go.
Indigenous chanting and tribal drums open up “Hechuknhaiyin Yecna Shuaken Chima,” and those chants are the only moment of respite found on Haruwen Airen, as it’s a tremolo-laden blast-fest from that point forward. If you love Dissection but wish that they not only did away with the classical guitar lines but also tried to outrun Morbid Angel in the fast-and-crazy department, you will get a kick out of this album. Drummer Sinn Hayek blasts like a man possessed by a combination of demons, spirits, rage, and the strongest of black coffee. His drumming has a range of “Fast” to “What?!” as his ridiculous blasts and fills turn songs like “Só’ón Hás-Kan” and “Mai-ich” into windmill-inducing homages to the gods. Gorrge’s guttural howls and venomous rasps match Hayek’s intensity, roaring and shrieking with murderous intent.
But the clear focal point goes to the riffing and melodic runs of guitarists Ma’hai Jippen and Oblimink. Album highlight “Hais” features an impressive tremolo melody by Jippen, with her channeling the late Jon Nödveidt, but adding a bizarre, almost spacey twist to it. Oblimink himself adds a rhythmic harmony to it, creating a spiritual transcendence to the insanity. Their command of harmony, even amidst the chaos, transforms an old sound into something strange, savage, and unique.
Haruwen Airen does possess some strikes against it. The production mushes everything together, with the drums mixed too high for my liking, and K’hmal Jauke’s bass buried deep. Also, with the album constantly at a high clip tempo-wise, the feeling of deja vu does set in after a while. But if you’re hungering for something brutal and unrelenting, yet different enough to set itself apart from the corpse-painted masses, hunt Haruwen Airen down.
Tracks to Check Out: “Hechuknhaiyin Yecna Shuaken Chima,” “Só’ón Hás-Kan,” and “Hais” and “Mai-ich”