Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review: Tyhjä – Valtakunta

Label: Void Wanderer Productions / Humanity’s Plague Productions

Date: January 14th, 2022

And a year later, I’m back together with Tyhjä! As far as I’m concerned, they have become a newcomer to look out for, on a somewhat dormant Finnish black metal scene. Looking away from the ever-present giants of the ninety nineties, of course. They could still be construed as a young formation, with just five years of age. However, this is already their fourth outing and the second full length album within this time frame. At this point, it should all be cleared up and the band set out to work its magic. Right?

Right! Confirmed at the very beginning, with the opening track. A dynamic combo of fierce, relentless black metal and slightly doomy finish, destroys all opposition. I swear, I thought I heard a cello in there, but it seems to be a work of pure majesty on bass guitar.

But there’s definitely a subtle keyboard on occasion. Am I right? Or is the fact that I need a hearing aid for these rotten ears?

Anyway, that’s what you get throughout “Valtakunta”. It is a record as dynamic as possible, swerving left and right, but always hitting the target. Like a machinegun ricocheting all over the place but without hitting the proper mark. And, like every machinegun, it does need a fresh barrel from time to time. And the support of marching infantry. There’s every bit of that on “Valtakunta”.

Interchanging rhythms make this album extremely exciting and keep the tension high throughout. But that’s just a piece of the puzzle that’s called Tyhjä and “Valtakunta”.

In essence, what these guys are performing is black metal. You cannot quite avoid simplistic genre determination, wherever black metal has gone in the past three decades. The Finnish quartet obeys the rules of Scandinavian pioneers. Still, at this point in their career, they know how to work with these rules. Make them work for the band.

Hence, what “Valtakunta” presents is somewhere between the epic and melodic approach of Dark Funeral and sheer brutality of Marduk or early Infernal War. Spiced up with the distinctive atmospheric approach of Finland’s finest.

Now, I’ve already mentioned the doom metal elements which appear at times, but are carefully placed and have their use. There’s also a raw side to Tyhjä, streamlined from the greats of Norway, but properly measured, so as not to disturb the overall flow or “Valtakunta”.

Regarding these overly primitive segments of Tyhjä’s creation, there’s an ever-so-slight crust punk input in a couple of tracks, mixed in with the minimalistic black metal. And that’s just another flavour this album offers to the listener, exploding in a blast of unrestrained energy and power.

When you put it all together like this, next to one another, there’s really a whole lot going on here. Something for everybody to enjoy. From a black metal fan’s perspective, of course.

The somewhat straightened up production of this album, as compared with the demo from 2020, also does a lot to provide the mentioned energy. Far be it from any sort of crystal clear plastic work, but it is clean enough for every aspect of the album to have its equal and resounding voice. Filthy though it must remain, to a certain degree.

Basically, “Valtakunta” stands out. Very much so! I dare say, it is the first big blow on the black metal scene in 2022. Tyhjä is back on track and with the backing of two labels and the digital release at hand, there should be no escaping them. If you live and breathe black metal, you mustn’t miss this!