Hukkunud Hinged - Hukkunud Hinged

Hukkunud Hinged which means in English "Perished Souls" was formed in May 2007 after the demise of Tige Vile which played a kind of thrashy punk metal. Two of its band members, Martin and Madis had a burning desire to play the kind of music that had been in their hearts for a long time, slow and heavy Doom-Metal. After a couple of line-up changes, the band's membership was finally settled in 2009 but that was after a demo, a single and a 3-way split with "Wainas and S.o.M released in December of 2008. That split titled "Doom in Native Language" had sown the seed of doom for the band, they would continue for the time-being at least as a doom-band singing in their native Estonian language. As with bands singing in a different language apart from English, it is impossible to get a grip on what the lyrics mean or the concepts they are trying to project through the songs so we have to rely on the music and the atmosphere and in the case of Hukkuned Hinged it works beautifully. The band is influenced by Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Reverend Bizarre but they have firmly placed their own mark on the style especially in the gritty and sometimes emotive vocal style of Janek and Katrina.

Album opener "Loojangu Laulu" comes rolling out of the speakers in classic Candlemass style, brutally heavy but interesting twists like a bass solo section followed by a wailing lead guitar solo, not too often you hear that combination within a doom track. It's all about the riffs in this band and there is no shortage of killer riffing in this track, it is a pure-Sabbath kind of guitar work on show here so it is hardly re-inventing the wheel but it is also solid and infectious so nodding the head to this beast is compulsory. The vocals are a male / female combination that sounds like no one else, the male vocals are gritty, blackened and menacing while the female counterpart is equally as menacing in a slight operatic style. "Surmasuudlus" is the first of the six epics on the album and it is a very atmospheric and haunting especially in the female vocal take which has a poetic edge to it even though I have no clue what she is singing about. Heavy riffing nicely builds in dynamic atmospherics that ensures that the song is constantly going somewhere and the chilling lead solo 8 minutes in is mesmerizing. The menacing male vocal which has a Laibach commanding vibe to it reminds me of an army leader dictating to his troops and the effect is threatening and malevolent. "Ootuste Kõrb" is an even longer more sinister piece of epic-doom glorious metal, starting with a gentle acoustic, that soon gives way to a haunting vocal from Katrina, and it is made even more gloomy by the use of howling-wind effects. This track seemed to me to be the most disjointed song from the album with various passages coming and going destroying the flow of the track somewhat but overall is it still a highly listenable piece of melodic, atmospheric doom-metal.

"Mulla Äng" is another extended track pushing past the nine minute mark, it has one of the albums most Sabbathian riffs in the opening section of the tune. The effect is again mesmerizing and haunting as it moves with a sparsely, plodding tempo. There is another classically driven lead break that serves as a chilling interlude to the already overwhelming bleakness of the track. The drums and bass must be mentioned also as they are kept fairly simple but that just makes everything sound powerful and crushing, they play very much from the point of view of serving the guitar riffs, providing a perfect, solid back-line for the band's songs. "Juurte Nukrus" follows the doom blueprint to the letter, starting with a throbbing bass-line of sheer despondency and apprehension. This song takes some time to build but once it does some five minutes into it, the song turns into one of the most enchanting doom tracks I have heard all year. Like with all of their songs, the lead work comes in at just the right moment and like most of their songs, it flows remarkably well. You can tell they have put a lot of time into the arrangement of the songs on this album as nothing much is overdone or over-played.....Great track.

After four really long tracks you need a shorter one to break the album up a bit and that is where "Kahe Katku Vahel" comes in. Not only shorter and more direct, it also has a slightly different vibe about it especially in the bluesy opening section that comes complete with mouth-organ. You don't hear doom-blues too often and I guess that is the best way to describe "Kahe Katku Vahel," it still has the heavy, sinister atmosphere however and is a great churning, slow grinding track up to the last couple of minutes where it launches into one of the highlights of the album, a mid-tempo chugging riff that sends the tune into overdrive, a few more passages like this one and this album would have been perfect. "Tulesorg" is up next and is the longest track on the album at well over 11 minutes and this is where the album faces its greatest flaw, it just too long for the material that mostly follows the same formula over and over again. Luckily that formula is a good one for "Hukkunud Hinged" and "Tulesorg" is one of the best tracks on offer here. It starts with an acoustic guitar by a camp-fire vibe before hitting the doom-pedal and catapulting itself into one hell of a gloomy, foreboding song.

There is more fine interchanging of male / female vocals, killer riffing and engaging lead work and the whole piece bubbles along like a witches cauldron. The last track "Unetus" sees the band pulling out all the stops in terms of fuzz-laden bass and depressing atmospheric doom-metal. This is 10 minutes plus of ugly, oppressive dirge and it is very repetitive with no variation at all for its entire duration but it is a hypnotic journey you are faced with that only the most hardened doom-fan will be able to survive. At 73 minutes, this album is indeed a bit on the long side and I think some trimming of the fat would have been successful at making this a little more digestible. However despite its long-playing time, this début album has much to admire. The riffs are mesmerizing and extremely thick, the vocals wont be for everyone but I find them to be very captivating while the production is excellent. The language barrier might be an issue for some but I think "Hukkunud Hinged" are one of the few non-english bands that can be easily enjoyed by a western audience. For fans of Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre and Saint Vitus this is one of the surprise albums of 2010....Don't miss out on hearing this disc.

1. Loojangu Laulu
2. Surmasuudlus
3. Ootuste Kõrb
4. Mulla Äng
5. Juute Nukrus
6. Kahe Katku Vahel
7. Tulesorg
8. Unetus
Self released
Reviewer: Ed
Nov 17, 2010
Next review: Acid Witch - Stoned

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