Review: Vermilia – Kätkyt (self-released, Jun 29)

Kätkyt, the debut album of Finnish black metal artist Vermilia, is an enthralling mix of infectious melodies, epic and dramatic Pagan songwriting, and amazing atmosphere. Vermilia’s vocal performance is nothing short of spellbinding; her delivery of folk lyricism in her native Finnish varies from clean, impassioned chants to dark, aggressive growls. As someone who doesn’t speak a lick of Finnish, it’s unclear to me what she’s actually singing about, but her voice itself is an absolutely essential element in the well-polished maelstrom, injecting both textural color and invigorating triumph. It’s not stated on the Bandcamp page whether or not Vermilia also plays all the instruments on the album, but I wouldn’t be even a bit surprised if she was talented enough to do so. These compositions are impeccable showcases of impactful black metal, and form succinct, contained songs that still invoke immersive ambiance. Songs like closing track “Mustan Taivaan Morsian” display Vermilia’s staggering versatility yet still handily retain remarkable cohesion; the track progresses from an almost poppy hook to a reserved section of strings to a thrashy atmospheric section and back again, all under one roof. It’s this diversity amidst stunning consistency that brings me back to Kätkyt again and again.