Bathoven is (or was?) a Finnish quartet of young lands. This four-track tape is their first recording. It was recorded live in early 2012, and released later as a limited tape-pressing with home-printed covers and a separate lyrics sheet.

As you might've guessed from the cover artwork and song titles, the band plays traditional oldschool heavy metal. The three- to four-minute compositions are heavily influenced by older Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and the harsher guitar sound occasionally bows towards hard rock and even speed metal.

The songs range from the usual mid-tempo riffing of the opener to the slower and more atmospheric guitar lead-driven moods of "Dark Fantasies." "Midas Touch Too Much" is a way faster and harsher tune, whereas the fourth song is again in the vein of the opener's traditional mid-paces. The lyrics are as traditional as it gets with their descriptions of mystical places and forces, women and darker impulses, and the clean vocals aren't bad either.

The songs are very, very traditional, but also very enjoyable. They just have one major flaw that makes this demo more of a curiosity-item than a cultists' priced possession: the soundscape. The demo was recorded live, and although the band plays well together, for most of the time the instrumentation sounds damp, unbalanced, and the vocals tend to drown amidst the muddy blur of the low-end sounds. The songs clearly can't achieve their full potential through these sounds.

I can only say that I would definitely like to hear a more proper and stronger recording of these songs. It might be a slim chance, but I'm still hoping it'll happen in the future.

3- / 5