Wolfheart – Tyhjyys

Self-proclaimed purveyors of “Winter Metal”, Finland’s Wolfheart were formed in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist and producer Tuomas Saukkonen. Taking the decision to disband his many other ongoing musical interests, acts like Before The Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, and RoutaSielu were all laid to rest so that Wolfheart could live.

Beginning as another solo project, Saukkonen played all the instruments himself on 2013’s independently distributed début album, Winterborn, with guitarist Mika Lammassaari being brought in for some additional lead work. Lammassaari was soon hired officially, with Saukkonen also recruiting bassist Lauri Silvonen and drummer Joonas Kauppinen to complete the band’s line-up, going on to release second album Shadow World (Spinefarm) in 2015.

Apart from having the downside of sounding like an aborted sneeze, or the worst possible selection of leftover Scrabble tiles, Wolfheart’s third album Tyhjyys (Spinefarm) is nothing short of exceptional. Instrumental opener ‘Shores of the Lake Simpele’ has echoes of Hammerheart (Noise) era Bathory, while first track proper, ‘Boneyard’ contains savage yet melodic Black Metal rhythms, a quiet acoustic passage, and a powerful chuggy outro, with Saukkonen’s harsh vocals bringing things together perfectly.

‘World on Fire’ adds some gentle piano into the mix, and ‘The Flood’ builds dramatically before eventually unleashing itself and finally subsiding like a calming storm. ‘The Rift’, ‘Call of the Winter’ and ‘Dead White’ all feature towering riffs backed by bewitchingly infectious melodies, and album closer ‘Tyhjyys’ (which roughly translates to “emptiness”) is simply magnificent.

Through these eight perfectly weighted, and superbly produced tracks recorded at Petrax and Deep Noise studios, Wolfheart do their best to convey both the cruelty and the spectacle of nature. Or, putting that into more appropriately flowery terms, listening to Tyhjyys can feel oppressive and harsh like an icy wind whipping savagely against your face one moment, but then suddenly transform into something more positive, like the comforting warmth of newly lit firewood the next. Yeah, sorry about that.

8.5/10

GARY ALCOCK