Company: Century Media Release: 2014 Genre: Melodic death Reviewer: T. Ray Verteramo
The buck stopped in the studio
The concept of "melodic death metal," is a romantic one – "my sweet death," so to speak. So, naturally, this genre would be attractive to the musicians who like a little thoughtfulness with their brutality. However, that being said, it's not an easy balance to maintain in order to keep it from sounding awkward and these guys nearly have it down.
There's no question of the musicianship. Hirvonen (drums) drives the tank with versatility and solidity, shaking things up a bit with some nice pattern changes, particularly on "Sun's" 3rd track, "Revelation". He makes his presence perfectly clear that he is definitely comfortable with his craft. Axemen Friman and Vanhala work well as a team, though no particular chord progressions or riffs stand out anywhere, either between them or from each. Sevanen (lead vocals / bass) may be the real victim of production infection, however. He could have a very strong voice, I couldn't tell because his tracks were bussed so below the guitar line, he sounded like he was singing from another room. There were times when I thought I could distinguish "purring" from "growling" but, I found myself wondering if it was him or maybe Till Hindemann from Rammstein decided to make a cameo...
It is a real shame. I have no idea what effect they were trying to achieve with such brazen neglect of talent. Maybe they were trying to illustrate his voice as a blended instrument rather than a frontman. Who knows? All I know is that it was very hard to appreciate the compositions and the songwriting – which they are fairly able with – when you can't connect with it, especially for this hybrid style of metal because it kills the romance. There's no "melodic" death metal when there's no "melody".
Thundering drums surrounded by searing guitars would probably work for something else. Unfortunately, not this. It really is a shame. Vision's there, talent's there, but the buck stopped in the studio and didn't leave.
About this Writer: T. Ray Verteramo // T. Ray is a product of New York Mediterranean upbringing, discovering Alice Cooper before puberty, and Iron Maiden after. Taken underwing by the former managing editor of Hit Parader magazine in 1985, she took to freelancing, writing up the local and national circuit for 7 years. A new millennium, a published dystopic thriller, and a CNN article on life in metal in the 80's later, she's been thrown back to the wolves, into a much darker and deeper part of the forest.
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