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

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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

Mutiny Within – Origins (Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore)

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Many of the readers will probably recognize this one. Mutiny Within started off as simply being called Mutiny in 2002 and before settling with the name Mutiny Within in 2008 the band would go through a number of lineup changes (funny enough if you think of the band name). The band has also been signed by the well known metal label Roadrunner Records in the past but left 2011 due to Warner Brothers Music Group buying the majority of the label. Since then the band has been independent, releasing Synchronicity in 2013 and now the time has come for the bands 3rd full-length Origins.

Mutiny Within has a lot in common with the second wave of Swedish melodic death metal sound that made bands such as Soilwork, Scar Symmetry and The Haunted have made famous. The combination of synthesizers, clean singing and growling, if well done, is something most metalheads can appreciate. It’s also a genre that often manages to capture audience who usually doesn’t travel within the metal realm. Love it or hate it I think that’s a good thing and personally melodic death metal (together with metalcore/nu metal) was a gateway for me into death, black, brutal and other kinds of metal.

Something you will notice fast with Mutiny Within is that they are masters at combining clean singing with growl and changing the styles. Internal Dissension is a perfect example of great solos, clean singing, growling, temp changes, synth and symphonic parts being in harmony. A feat I don’t hear many bands pull off well these days.

I had a great time with Origins. This reminds me a lot of my teenage years when melodeath/metalcore was in its prime and on everyone’s lips. It’s well produced and got some of the best Mutiny Within tracks ever made.

Origins is an independent release out now!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MutinyWithin
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MutinyWithin
For fans of: Soilwork and Scar Symmetry
Favorite song: Internal Dissension

Theory In Practice – Crescendo Dezign (Technical Death Metal)

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Swedens very own techdeath veterans Theory In Practice are back to start the new year with an EP called Crescendo Dezign. The EP is actually the bands comeback after being on a hiatus since 2002, so it’s been a long ass wait! Since then the band have lost drummer Henrik Ohlsson, who went and helped form Scar Symmetry, bass/keyboardist Mattias Engstrand and guitarist/vocalist Johan Ekman who were all original members. Joining them we have vocalist Andreas Lyngmo with Peter Lake now having both guitar and bass duty and his brother Patrik Sjöberg on drums to switch it up a little after losing some members.

Even with this long hiatus and loss of members Theory In Practice have made a solid EP. The songs are very complex and technical, changing tempo every so often which will leave techdeath fans drooling. Tracks like Abstract Entities could very well be the work of techdeath legends The Faceless and to top it of you have the almighty Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder) featuring on Cyrobiological Expansion, and he does a superb job.

Technical death metal had a great year in 2016 and it’s already off to a good start for 2017!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pg/theoryinpracticeband
For fans of: Obscura and Martyr
Favorite song: Cyrobiological Expansion