Vorna Ajastaika

Though Vorna have been active since 2008, they've spent that time refining their aesthetic, releasing a total of three demos, each demonstrating an evolution in their blackened folk metal sound. Ajastaika is their first full-length release and it keenly demonstrates the positive effects of that care, time and refinement. A deep investment in Finnish folklore and song structures forms the backbone of the album, which possess a grandness and scope gesturing towards Amorphis's debut, The Karelian Isthmus. There are choral, orchestral moments that evoke symphonic black metal, but never fully commit to that genre, allowing for enough space to incorporate clean vocals and layered synth, though not so much as to obscure the black metal core. The production is rich and sumptuous, without being too showy, letting the scope and depth of "Kaitavun uni" shine while still allowing moments of raw aggression in "Hiiden taival." Ajastaika represents a fluid and powerful unity between melodic and acerbic black metal tendencies, and is a polished, intelligent debut from Vorna. (Inverse)