Vihamieli: Of Omens and Requiems

It’s not easy to weave a consistent narrative without the story growing tiresome to its reader. How do you craft a work that maintains a certain mood without the reader begging for the spell to break? Likewise, it takes a talented group of musicians to compose an album that dashes a consistent palette of sonic color into the air while still keeping the listener interested. Not everyone is a back-to-front album person in the first place. But if you can put the notes in the right place, make the drums stir the listener’s imagination in the correct manner, and scream the screams that stay with you – you’ll have a record that demands attention.

So now Finland’s Vihamieli demands your attention. The band is relatively new, having put out their second album, Hymns of Deity, back in June. The record is a gigantic leap forward compared to their debut. To my ears, the band’s style is comprised of the heroic sound of Windir, the mournful cries of classic Ulver, the stirring melodies of Nachthymnen-era Abigor, and the dark brooding of Norway’s Gehenna. Impressively, they use synths and chanting in a way that fits with the raw distortion, without slipping too far into cheese. Not a lot of bands can perform such a balancing act.

There’s little known about the band or its members. I recently watched a documentary on Finnish black metal, which featured one of its members in a hooded costume, plenty of makeup and a pair of white contact lenses. Despite all of that, he actually came across as the most normal person in the whole film. Go figure.

Anyway, Hymns of Deity is an engaging and immersive listen, making the band one to watch in the future. With that in mind, I came into contact with the band, who were willing to answer a few questions:

Like many black metal bands try to do, you’ve chosen to keep your identities secret. Why is that?
Like for any occult circle, it is important to separate ceremonial acts from normal life. One might say our message and agenda are unique, therefore its messengers probably wouldn’t fit in public too well. Hence, we channel energy in the shadows. A wise man once said: “One who cannot do deeds of dark in secrecy, shouldn’t be doing deeds of dark.” Though depending on future events, it might not be necessary to do so forever.

At first glance, your sound bears a strong resemblance to classic bands like Ulver, Windir, Gehenna, and perhaps some of the Prophecy records bands. Do you count these bands as influences?
Sound-wise, those three Norwegian outfits have influenced us for sure, like some Swedish ones like Sacramentum as well. We are, however, mainly influenced by phenomena outside of black metal and even outside of music, like nature or history. Many occult subjects like Satanism fascinate us.

What inspires your lyrical content? What moved you to express yourself in this manner?
Vihamieli is literally an abstract symbol for inner wrath. A voice from different dimensions to vindicate wrongdoing. A vanquishing force to strike down the cause with vengeance. Changes of season reflect our lyrical and composition output. The idea is to coexist with darkness instead of hysterically fearing it. At times it is necessary for someone to step up from masses and make things right.

Do you have any live performances planned, including any in North America?
Currently there are no live shows booked. We are actively seeking chances to play abroad. We look forward to gigs especially now that our second full-length, Hymns of Deity, is being released as CD by Ewiges Eis Records. Corde Raide Productions from Canada already released it via cassette and they did fantastic job just like on our debut. The cassette release, along with many other reasons, sets North America high on our gig wish list.