Finland ain’t a nice country in the winter. At least not for non-Finns. Winters are brutally long–from early November through late April–and are bitterly cold, ranging from 32F to -58F. It’s no place to posit beachy prose or to espouse tropical tunes. There’s a reason funeral doom was born in Finland. As for other extreme artforms, such as depressive black metal, the country of 1,000 lakes is also the perfect home. According to the Washington Post, Finland has a suicide rate of 16.9 (per 100,000 people). Grim on the surface, this statistic is real. The whys are uncertain, but it paints a suitable setting for depressive black metal leaders Totalselfhatred.
Across three full-lengths–Totalselfhatred (2008), Apocalypse in Your Heart (2011), and new album, Solitude (2018)–the Finns, featuring members of funeral doom outfit Night Must Fall, have bridged the brutality of black metal, the melancholy of February in Finland, and professional production values–no Striborg here–to form an expression that’s intense, plaintive, and personal. As they’ve said throughout their tenure, the influences have been and always will be “life.” So, ponder, if you haven’t been there in person, the worst winter of your life set to the most bone-chilling cold of your life. That’s what informs and motivates Totalselfhatred. Even on new album, Solitude.
Spring may’ve sprung, but winter will always have the last laugh. Die in snow and ice with Totalselfhatred. Fans of Shining, Shape of Despair, Dråpsnatt, and Lifelover take heed!
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