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“Iätön” Breaks Nearly a Decade of Häive’s Silence


It has been an inordinate amount of time since the world has heard from J. “Varjosielu” Väätäinen. To clarify, it has been a long time since nature has heard from him. After a brief instrumental EP in 2010 (a 2014 compilation appearance notwithstanding), following Häive landmark Mieli maassa in 2007, it was almost assumed that Väätäinen had all but abandoned his romantic, nature-inspired solo project in favor of a thrashier future.

It’s hard to blame him for letting things stagnate so long; after spending years as this transcendental solo artist who worships nature, death, and isolation, it’s easy to move on to happier pastures… and yet, who would take Häive’s place? Surely no one, and so this idiosyncratic, kantele-fueled black metal celebration of the Finnish forests lay dormant.

That being said, seven years is a vast amount of time. A lot can happen — inner change, shifting in inspiration, artistic dysphoria — and so, in its dormancy, Häive transformed. Now more bestial and furious, stripped of its softer dynamic qualities, this folk-inspired black metal project emerges from its cave and embraces the end of its second decade resolute with its fur ruffled and teeth bared.

Entirely a different animal on its surface, Iätön, Häive’s long-awaited sophomore album, transmutes Varjosielu’s more romantic, outwardly folkish approach found in past works into voluminous animalism. This will come off as unexpected to tenured fans, and yet, even without its deeper concentration on atmosphere and beauty, the spirit held within feeds from the same well of creativity.

Though not written on acoustic instruments like its predecessor (those of you who held the kantele’s presence on Mieli maassa will find yourselves disappointed), Varjosielu’s carefully crafted melodies draw from the same inspiration which crafted his entire black metal tenure, from Solgrav, to Auringon Hauta, and to Häive. The mammoth melodies and fist-raising pride found within redefine Häive.

No longer sorrowful and nostalgic, Häive’s majesty is steadfast, powerful, an ancient being shaking off centuries of moss and rot to reclaim the forest as its own.

Iätön will be released this Friday, November 24th, on Eisenwald Tonschmiede, but you can listen to the album in its entirety below now. Bask in the sounds of ancient Finnish forests.

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