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Farmakon
Robin

Company: Candlelight
Release: 2008
Genre: Progressive Death
Reviewer: Brad Caplan

  • If you are an Opeth fan, this is worth checking out



  • Opeth influenced or wannabes?

    Farmakon first formed in Finland in 2001. They released their debut album "A Warm Glimpse" in 2003. Their follow-up album is titled "Robin" which has been my first exposure to this Progressive Death Metal band.

    From the opening riffs of the first track "Time Tables", it is immediately clear that this band must be huge fans of Opeth. I realize that Opeth are a love or hate band, so some readers may pass on this review (and this album) just at the mere reference. On the other hand, Opeth has gained a huge following over the past 5 years and for those music fans, this may be a band and an album worth checking out.

    The death metal growls of Marko Eskola are very similar to Mikael Akerfeld (Opeth), though the clean vocals are not present on the first track. "Time Tables" may not grab you immediately, but it does at least make the listener curious as to what this band is capable of.

    The first two tracks clock in at 5:17 and 4:48 which makes getting to know these songs a bit easier than some other prog/metal bands that are fond of the 11 minute epics. Nothing wrong with long songs, but you can really get a feel for this band fairly quickly as a result.

    Alternating between death metal growls and clean vocals is very common these days, but I do enjoy the break to clean vocals that comes on the 2nd track "Coma September". Fans of Rush will also recognize and probably enjoy the syncopated guitar rhythms on this track - very reminiscent of earlier Rush songs.

    The third track ("Sixty Nine") starts off as a complete (slower) change of pace and shows a jazz influence side of the band. That approach to this track evaporates after a minute when it transitions to a straight ahead prog metal tune.

    "Recondite" is another track that demonstrates the jazz influences in this band. While this track also morphs into prog death metal, there is a strange jazz trumpet solo in the middle of the song (yes, trumpet). I am not sure how metal that is, but it's different so I will give them some points for effort.

    Another thing about this band that gives them some credibility with me is that they are from Finland. It may be all in my head, but I am a fan of bands like Children of Bodom and Sonata Arctica who hail from Finland so that is a plus for some reason (though Farmakon's style in no way resembles either of these two bands). As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, the comparisons to Opeth are endless on this album. The style is so similar at times that it makes me wonder if they are influenced or actually trying to emulate them. If you are an Opeth fan, this is worth checking out since there are not too many bands in this genre that are any good.

    If you have not listened to much Opeth, this might be a good place to start and could lead you down a great musical path. Farmakon are off to a good start and I hope they continue to experiment and improve. Overall, a solid effort


    About this Writer:
    Brad Caplan // Brad Caplan lives in Charlotte, NC after spending many years in Dallas, TX (originally from Pittsburgh, PA). Brad has spent most of his life accumulating albums, seeing live shows and talking about music to anyone who would listen. He played trumpet for 10 years and has become very proficent at air guitar. Brad has written album reviews and year end lists for MaximumMetal.com and his social network.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: FARMAKON
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    RobinFarmakon
    2008
    Brad Caplan5/30/2009


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