Kaunis Kuolematon – Vapaus (Melodic Doom/Death Metal)

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Ending my days with pure Finnish music we slow it down a notch and go for a doom twist in Finlands melodic death metal heaven. Kaunis Kuolematon is Finnish for “Beautiful Immortal” and in many ways I think this shows in their music. Singing purely in Finnish it’s a band that doesn’t get much attention outside Finland but here is me hoping that is soon to change. Vapaus is Kaunis Kuolematon’s second release after their 2014 debut Kylmä kaunis maailma received quite a bit of praise for being one of the better death/doom debuts these past years. Being compared to Swallow the Sun in the process, which proves these rockers got a lot of talent. Vapaus hopefully continues that road and elevates the bands sound even more.

Eloton is a sweet introduction to Kaunis Kuolematon where the harsh and clean vocals works in great symphony and this is the type of death/doom combination I’ve come to love from the Nordic countries. Hurskas continue that right up until 2:20 in where it takes a turn and all of a sudden becomes a beautiful acoustic medley building up for fantastic guitar plays and riffs. Yksin is, in my humble opinion, the song that gets to me the most. It’s a beautiful ballad with lyrics that saddens you but also gives you hope, it’s simply stunning. What’s more is that the song smoothly transition to Tuhottu elämä which initially ups the tempo and brings you more of that headbang worthy riffing. The way Kaunis Kuolematon changes the tempo during the album really does makes me think of Swallow the Sun, one of the best death/doom bands out there. Ikuinen ikävä is the heaviest song on Vapaus and if it wasn’t for Yksin being one of the best songs I’ve heard all year it would be my favorite song on the album. It definitely got the best instrumental elements in my ears. Ikaros is yet another good slow paced song but it’s the next two tracks that grabs my attention the most. Arvet, one more track with very powerful lyrics along with great music, quickly becoming another favorite of mine. Sanat jotka jäivär sanomatta ends the album in a great way, a magnificent ballad where the use of clean and harsh vocals really shines. Ending this sad journey of war, life and death with memories of your loved ones being there forever.

Last year I had October Tide’s Winged Waltz as my favorite doom album release. This year I can sense Vapus grabbing that spot. Kaunis Kuolematon uses a formula that works and melodic doom/death doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion. Vapaus is out now through Haminian Sounds. Knowing Finnish or not I still suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KaunisKuolematon
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pahankasvot
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Barren Earth
Favorite song: Yksin

Damnation Plan – Reality Illusion (Melodic Death Metal)

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Continuing my Finnish journey and looking for new releases from upcoming bands we next have Damnation Plan. For some this might not be a new act as the band was actually formed back in 2004. Featuring members from MyGrain and Wintersun they are not a band to take lightly though. Their debut didn’t show its light until 2013 with The Wakening (fitting name since they took their time), an album that received a lot of praise. To follow the groundwork laid down by their debut the band has worked hard for four years to release an even better album in Reality Illusion. Now the question is, have Damnation Plan taken a step further or not?

The intro and Beyond These Walls works as a good introduction to the album, greeting its listeners with a flurry of riffs, great combination of harsh and clean vocals which gives you that classic Gothenburg melodic death metal feeling a la Soilwork, Scar Symmetry or Disarmonia Mundi. Tommy Tuovinen (ex-MyGrain) and Asim Searah (Wintersun) stands out throughout this whole album. This is a duo that can pull of a wide range of vocals together and it makes Damnation Plan have an edge on some other upcoming acts. Coming into Rise of the Messenger their teamwork is extra notable and it’s a great example on what they can pull off together. Add to the fact that Antti Lauri, Jarkko Lunnas, Kalle Niininen and Jukka Vehkamaa does some great musical performances then you got yourself a band truly on the rise. On Blinded Faith I think the band really comes into sync with both the song, riffs and melodies making it quickly becomes one of my favorite songs on the album. The Empowerment works as a great intermission and purely instrumental track that showcase the talent within the band.

Second half of the album starts with Maze of Despair, the albums ballad and where Asim Searah shines extra bright (might be because of his past as a singer in power metal band Kiuas). It’s almost like coming to the second act of a play, when listening to it I get Edguy vibes from that song. Interesting song choice on the album actually, might feel out of place to some but I thought it was a cool touch that makes you see Damnation Plan from another side. To be fair there are some power metal elements here and there so I am not that surprised with a ballad of that caliber. Next song Iron Curtain Falls is back to the melodic death metal sound with some sweet added synth to it that then turns into the best solo on the album at 3:40. Reality Illusion, The Final Destination and Don’t Talk to Strangers (another song where I get a lot of power metal vibes from) finishes off the album on a high note. All three being of quite high quality, keeps on giving great riffs, sweet sounding vocals and headbanging material. With The Final Destination being by far the longest song on the album, clocking in at 8:26, it features just about a barrage of everything. That being said it isn’t actually my favorite song (still great though) it’s instead a tie between Blinded Faith and Iron Curtain Falls. The two songs where I think Damnation Plan shows their full potential.

I enjoyed this album, it’s better than their debut and Damnation Plan really feels like a band that can become a new big melodeath export from Finland. Their melodic death metal sound sticks out from most out there, especially with the power metal elements and ballads that are smoothly inserted into the mix. Reality Illusion is out now from Inverse Records!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/damnationplan
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DamnationPlan
For fans of: MyGrain and Soilwork
Favorite song: Blinded Faith

Drearyym – Precursions (Melodic Death Metal)

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I’ve reviewed some of the more seasoned bands from Finland so far with Noumena, Mors Principium Est and Wolfheart already granting us sweet melodic death metal releases. Now it’s time to go tapping into the talent pool of new and upcoming acts starting with Drearyym. Drearyym were formed in 2014 and has since then already been able to produce two EP’s and the full-length debut I am about to review Precursions. Precursions features the two songs from the bands second EP Precursions Part I as well as four new tracks. It’s actually quite astonishing that Drearyym are still alive and kicking after the rocky road the band has had with members coming and going during these three years, having had an especially hard time to find a stable drummer in the lineup. Not many bands that find the motivation to keep on going when the start hasn’t been what you might have thought it would be.

To start off these 45 minutes of Nordic tales and great wars is the 3 minute intro Draugr March. It works as a soft introduction to the album that fills it’s role with fantasy like sounding music that tells of the battles that are to come. It’s with In Obsidian we really hear what Drearyym are all about. The growling technique Leevi Kuunila does and battle-fuelled melodic death metal music you hear is influenced by the type of music you’ve heard the Finnish bands Brymir, Turisas and Frosttide perform. Bands I enjoy listening to so that isn’t a bad thing. 1.50 into In Obsidian the song takes a rather interesting turn, carnival music starts playing and it’s actually a smooth transition that doesn’t feel forced in and eventually fades out. A cool touch in my opinion. Nine Divines acoustic intro is a beautiful start that later turns into a brutal symphonic warzone just to five minutes in get some nice piano music together with a sweet guitar solo. These elements makes this song my favorite ones on the album and shows some of the bands diverse style in epic melodic death metal.

Hunter’sTale and Old Barn are also good songs and once Precursions is over I am feeling quite satisfied with Drearyym’s debut. It may not be perfect but for a debut from a band that’s already had some lineup struggles this is solid. Precursions is out now as an independent digital release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Drearyym
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Drearyym1
For fans of: Frosttide and Brymir
Favorite song: Nine Divines

Wolfheart – Tyhjyys (Melodic Death Metal)

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Next up in my melodic death metal spree from Finland we have Wolfheart. A band that features one of my favorite musicians Tuomas Saukkonen due to his work with Before the Dawn, one of the greatest melodic death metal bands to come out from Finland in my opinion. Wolfheart were formed in 2013 as a solo project by Toumas (just like his other bands began) but in 2014 he decided to disband all his other bands in order to fully focus on Wolfheart. I may have labeled Noumena, Mors Principium Est and now Wolfheart with the melodic death metal genre but they all sound very different. Wolfheart is definitely the more brutal sounding of the trio with it’s fast blast beats, Tuomas harsh growling style and overall more heavy sound. Calling it winter metal it’s no surprise it is heavy and brutal, while keeping it melodic and even featuring soothing flute play on The Flood, Wolfheart are great at capturing the essence of winter with it’s melancholy harsh style.

If you’ve heard Tuomas Saukkonen work before then you can know what to expect. It’s high quality music with a lot of catchy melodies to it. Shores of the Lake Simpele is a nice three minute intro, building up the atmosphere for Boneyard, the first single that came out from the album and in my opinion the high point of Tyhjyys. The orchestrations and acoustic passages that are common elements in an Wolfheart album are better than ever and it really helps setting the tone for this cold winter release. That or the beautiful tunes on The Flood, that’s both dark and sad but yet gorgeous. The lyrics are dark, from what I’ve read it’s partially due to Tuomas personal struggles over the years which makes sense, I think the more you can relate to the music you write the better you can show those emotions on the songs.

As a fan of Tuomas Saukkonen’s work I knew I would like this release. I think this is one of his best creations as of yet with Wolfheart and it’s a solid melodic death metal album. It might not be as good as some of his work with Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, but that’s insanly hard to top. Finland is having a superb 2017 already getting some pretty great albums out. Fans of the darker side of melodeath will love Tyhjyys. It’s Tuomas putting out one of his best releases in years with the atmosphere of winter metal being colder than ever before. Every single song is good by themself and they showcase quite different aspects of both nature and battles.

Tyhjyys is out now through the legendary Finnish label Spinefarm Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WolfheartRealm
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WolfheartFIN
For fans of: Insomnium and Before the Dawn
Favorite song: Boneyard

Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World (Melodic Death Metal)

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More melodic death metal from Finland! Now this is a band I think many of you guys have heard by now, Mors Principium Est. Formed in 1999 the band is now considered veterans in the Finnish melodeath scene. During the years the band has had its ups and downs, with numerous lineup changes and their latest release Dawn of the 5th Era was actually a bit weaker than their otherwise really great discography. That said it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t feel as great as their other albums, missing that extra piece which their first three releases had. Hence I’ve been looking forward to listen to this album (granted I am a bit late since it was out two months ago) in order to see if Mors Principium Est are on a decline or can get back in shape.

The intro Genesis is epic, feels like a trailer for a high budget action movie or something. I can see this being played right before the band go on stage and introduces themselves. It then kicks off with Reclaim the Sun, a fast melodic death metal song with orchestral and synth elements just like you remember Mors Principium Est. So here I am already telling myself MPE are back with one of their best albums to date yet it’s only two songs in. Thing is though it doesn’t get worse, instead it gets better. Masquerade’s guitar intro and midtempo plays to keep fitting in great solos here and there is a sweet headbanger. Into the Dark then quickly turn into a personal favorite of mine on the album, the solo three minutes in is top class (thanks Paul Wardingham). Adding the great lyrics with Mors Principium Est’s different classic elements makes it one of the better melodeath songs to come out this year. Death is the Beginning then features another great guest appearance where vocalist Christina Marie helps making this track an emotional melodeath ballad of high quality. This emotional journey doesn’t end there as to follow it up is The Ghost. Another really well written song full of sweet catchy riffs, synths and piano elements that are in beautiful harmony.

Mors Principium Est brings up the speed with the albums heaviest track In Torment, giving you more of that headbang friendly music. Agnus Dei works as an intermission to give the listener a breather for what is to be unleashed on the two last tracks, The Colours of the Cosmos and Apprentice of Death. Two hard hitting songs that’s a great way to end Mors Principium Est’s sixth release Embers of a Dying World. Making it yet another release I had a hard time choosing my favorite song on (I choose between Reclaim the Sun, Into the Dark, In Torment and Apprentice of Death). After listening to the album a few times I am almost ready to say this is their best work yet. Safe to say Mors Principium Est are back in great form and if you haven’t heard their epic melodic death metal with a lot of orchestral touches to it then now is the time. Here is me hoping they can finally be up there with Dark Tranquillity when people mention some of the greatest melodic death metal bands. In my opinion Mors Principium Est has always been a bit overlooked but with this release they show they are heavy hitter going for the knockout. The best melodic death metal album to come out so far this year.

Mors Principium Est’s sixth full-length Embers of a Dying World is out now through AFM Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MPEofficial
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Kalmah
Favorite song: In Torment

Noumena – Myrrys (Melodic Death Metal)

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When thinking of melodic death metal from Finland I would guess bands such as Amorphis, Insomnium and Children of Bodom are the first ones that comes into your mind. However there is a band that was formed 1998, celebrating 20 years as a band this year, that I think a lot of people miss out on called Noumena. Having not had a single member leaving the lineup since the formation 20 years ago is quite rare and I respect that a lot from them. In 2009 Suvi Uura joined as a vocalist to add a female touch to the music which was first heard on their latest album Death Walks with Me. The album title “Myrrys” (old Finnish) refers to ruckus, tumult or uproar. Which is the emotions Noumena will give the listeners through melancholic Finnish mollie tunes, just like you love it from the Finnish melodeath scene.

What makes Myrrys stick out from the rest of Noumena’s discography is the use of Finnish throughout the album, this is the first time they do that. Reason for not using English on this album is due to the albums lyrical theme, including Finnish nature and cultural heritage, and intimate stories which required the use of Finnish to be expressed the way the band wanted it to. Every single member of Noumena has contributed to the songwriting as well, even the cover art is made by a Finnish artist by the name of Otto Lehtonen. Safe to say this made in Finland all the way through.

If you’re a fan of Finnish melodeath then you will love this. That melancholic feeling, sweet melodic riffs, tempo changes at just the right moments, Suvi’s clean vocals to add more depth to the album (I get Myrkur vibes listening to her) and Antti Haapanen’s growling together in a sweet package will make any melodeath fan happy. Sanansaattaja and Murhehuone are the perfect way to demonstrate the more melancholic side of Noumena where I think Suvi really shines, while tracks like Roihu and Metsän viha will hype you up with the fast riffs and overall tempo of the songs, bringing the more classical Noumena sound. The last two songs on the album is a great display of epic duets between Suvi and Antti. Pedon veri being the most epic song, if I can call it that, on the album. Ending this journey in Finland we have Syvällä vedessä, wrapping it up where Kohtu started. Clocking at almost ten minutes and being melancholic down-tempo this is a song that will bring fort all the emotions on Myrrys. A great way to end this tumult and emotional journey.

As my favorite song I had a really hard time choosing between Sanansaattaja, Murhehuone and Syvällä vedessä. All three portray Noumena of today in a great way and I am sure you will think the same.

Myrrys is released April 28th by Haunted Zoo Productions, an independent record label established by Noumena members. Distribution by Playground Music and Inverse Records. Released in Russia by FONO under the license from Haunted Zoo Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Noumenaband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/noumenaband
For fans of: Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum
Favorite song: Murhehuone

Fen – Winter (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Named after a region in England called The Fens, Fen have since their formation in 2006 made a big name for themselves in the atmospheric black metal scene. The band members grew up in this mysterious landscapes, with marshes and wetlands, and this is where they’ve found the inspiration for their music. Winter is the bands fifth full-length release and it’s been three years since their latest masterpiece Carrion Skies.

Fen are one of those bands that brings you epic songs which, more often than not, goes past the ten minute mark. I know this isn’t for everyone just due to the length and you’re probably afraid that you will lose interest halfway through the song. I urge you not to let time be a factor for giving this one a miss, you owe it to yourself to get embraced by this cold and bleak winter that Fen offers you. It’s an album that should be experienced as a whole, which fans of Fen (and quite a few other atmospheric black metal bands) should know by now. It might not be an album where you turn on a song on your way to work which takes 5-10 minutes but see it as an audiovisual journey instead.

The Winter starts somewhat warm and gently. It’s that time of the year where you’re not entirely sure what to wear as the climate hasn’t truly become cold. Then the snapping cold hits and all of a sudden it’s a harsh icy landscape. This is portrayed in the opening song I: (Pathway) as the beginning of Winter is upon us. The songs smoothly transitions on the album, making this an even greater experience to the listener who wants to not only hear but to feel the Winter breeze.

In many ways this is the perfect way to give tribute for the ten years Fen have existed. It brings an interesting concept, with an atmosphere that’s fitting Winter and a journey in mysterious landscapes of darkness and sorrow. This is Fen at it’s finest and you should allow yourself to be absorbed and fully embrace this journey you’re about to take in the cold Winter. It captures the season from start to finish, ending with VI (Sight) that makes you feel that spring might even be coming soon.

Fen’s fifth full-length release Winter is out now through Code666 Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fenofficial
For fans of: Agalloch and Alcest
Favorite song: V (Death)