Hautajaisyö – Ei hauta kysy lupaa Review

It’s always nice to get what you expect. Lately it’s been slim pickings in promo land—my vulture-esque colleagues have snatched up what little was there to begin with for the month of August, leaving me with naught but death metal and grindcore to choose from. Despite not having a ton of experience with the style—and yes, that is a disclaimer—I went with death metal. Finland’s Hautajaisyö, now releasing their fourth full-length album Ei hauta kysy lupaa, are promoted as death metal, used that cover over there for their album, and apparently believe “in raw and brutal music and dark themes.” And you know what? That’s exactly what Ei hauta kysy lupaa is all about.

In fact, by the thirtieth second of the album (opener “Kunnees Hajoan”), you have a really good idea of what you’re in for—a flurry of pounding drums, a simple but hard-hitting riff, and dry, throaty roars of Finnish savagery. The music of Hautajaisyö is simple, but by no means ineffective, employing a wide array of riffs, tempos, and unhappy ideas culminating in an enjoyable 35 minutes of death metal that includes the grinding, -influenced-by-traditional-metal “Lohduton” and the rapid-fire head-banger that is “Askel.” It’s refreshing for sure to experience an album that is, for the most part, exactly as advertised on the tin, so much so that I’m having a bit of trouble writing about it—this is death metal from Finland, plain and simple.

So it should come as no surprise to most of you that the parts of the album I like the best are the ones where Hautajaisyö steps off of the common road and injects little bits of melody into their music. “Kuuleeko Kukaan” is a great example—I love the repeating theme behind the song’s chorus, a driving riff just melodic enough to make you want to throw something at your enemies. “Kärsimys” takes things a step further, incorporating a brief piano section and choir, in stark contrast to the otherwise very aggressive track. Make no mistake, this is no work of melodeath—these are brief, rare moments of comparative respite amidst a sea of dry, angry riffs. They’re just nice while they last.

So if there’s something to dislike about Hautajaisyö and Ei hauta kysy lupaa, it might simply be that the album is a little too straightforward, and, on its own, that’s not even a bad thing. But there are no surprise punches, no reinventing the wheel, nothing major to write home about. Looking back on the album, there is a lot of solid, a lot of good, and a lot of “oh, cool,” but not a lot of genuine excitement. The production on the album is very dry and generally flat, with few emotional peaks or valleys. Again, all fine and pretty much par for the course when the discussion is death metal, but it makes the album a tough one to praise or criticize. It comes in, bashes some heads, shows some promise, and heads out—fun for 35 minutes, and then you move on.

If that sounds harsh, I certainly don’t mean it to. As what essentially amounts to a comparative death metal novice, I appreciate that Ei hauta kysy lupaa is straightforward without being boring, predictable without being repetitive, and effective without overstaying its welcome. I’m more than happy to recommend it to fans of the style, and to people who aren’t necessarily fans of the style too. There’s a lot to be said for death metal that works. Hopefully the next outing from Hautajaisyö will lean a little more towards their effective melodic ideas, but I’ll be looking forward to it either way. I like good death metal. This is good death metal.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Inverse Records
Websites: hautajaisyo.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Hautajaisyo
Releases Worldwide: August 5th, 2022

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