Tag Archives: Finland

Amorphis – Circle (2013)

Amorphis - Circle (2013)

Finnish band Amorphis started out as a death metal band, but turned to prog and folk metal forms in more recent years.

While the overall thrust is metal, I think that Circle has a very “European” sound, I am reminded of long curly blonde hair on bedenimed German metallers. Other times, rather curiously, I can imagine Amorphis being one of the outsider Eurovision acts (just listen to the vocals of Hopeless Days). The folk melodies aren’t overplayed and add a lot without being too cheesy, guitars often taking the melodies rather than the more traditional instrumentation. And cheesy is a good word to describe this album; just listen to the folky melody on Mission, or the flute intro to Narrow Path. It is a lot of fun, but I find it difficult to take it perhaps as seriously as Amorphis do.

There are certainly elements of both death and prog, such as the intro to Hopeless Days, or the organ solo in Nightbird’s Song.

Amorphis live up to the homonym of their name; they are somewhat amorphous and, as such, are able to turn to and fit into any shape they fancy, a bit of folk, a bit of prog, a bit of melodic death metal.

A great deal of fun overall.

Favorite tracks: The Wanderer, Narrow Path, Nightbird’s Song.

Spotify link: Amorphis – Circle
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Rotten Sound – Species At War (2013)

Rotten Sound – Species At War (2013)

Rotten Sound - Species At War (2013)

Finland’s Rotten Sound are veterans of the grindcore scene and this release signifies 20 years of the band.

Grindcore for those to whom this is a new term is an extreme metal genre, typified by extremely fast blastbeats, fast tempos, short songs and, often, a socially progressive message. It grew out of hardcore punk, crust punk and metal.

Rotten Sound blast back two years after their last album, with this EP.

The sound is, as expected, extreme and typical grindcore; Cause and War are ferocious aural assaults, while The Game and Salvation, although still unrelenting, move into biff riff territory. The sound is crisp, with fantastic growled vocals, and pinpoint grind accuracy.

Will you like it? Well, if you are into extreme metal, I’m sure you will, it is a perfect grind remedy to any amount of mundane musak your ears might be subjected to during a day without full control over input, as radios and television give us the latest preened industry-molded doll. If extreme metal isn’t your thing; no, you won’t like this. Though, at only 8 minutes in total, it might be worth your time to try something new, totally out of your comfort zone and out on the extremes of this crazy thing we call music.

Me? I love it.

Favourite tracks: Salvation, The Solution, Cause

Spotify link: Rotten Sound – Species At War
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Riverside – Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013)

Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013)

If you know me, and we talk about music, and you know Riverside, then I am severely disappointed at you for not having told me about them before!

Riverside are a Polish progressive rock band, formed in 2001 in the light of mutual love of prog rock and metal, and Shrine Of New Generation Slaves is their fifth album, though I had never heard of them until today.

New Generation Slave opens the album, and it immediately takes you off guard, a lone voice over a sparse keyboard delivers the first line, then *boom, boom* massive guitar with Black Sabbath-esque riff, back to solo voice, then *boom, boom*, etc. Yes, it’s a bit pompous, but in a good way, the pre-storm tension builds, until it finally breaks. Clutch-style riffs take over and we are moving, groovy riffs moves us onwards to the next track. The Depth Of Self-Delusion reminds me a little of Tool, the kind of post-rock paced intensity combined with prog rock riffs, with a incessant building of tension throughout.

This mode persists throughout; big riffs and big building tension. The album is grandiose and sounds great.

Favourite tracks: Celebrity Touch, Feels Like Falling, New Generation Slave

Spotify link: Riverside – Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
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Finntroll – Blodsvept (2013)

Finntroll - Blodsvept (2013)

Finntroll are ostensibly a folk-metal band from Finland who formed in 1997 and have released five albums before this one.

Don’t expect any of the bleakness of Scandinavian black metal though. Instead, what we have is joyous  upbeat punky metal. In fact, with the horns which are used on a number of tracks, I am sometimes reminded of ska-punk, as unusual as that sounds. The folk influence comes thorough thick and fast, though, sometimes almost in a tongue-in-cheek way. I guess that could seem like a criticism, but it isn’t really. The ability to not take oneself too seriously is one I admire and I really enjoyed the album. It is great fun to listen to and I suspect it would be fantastic to dance to in a rowdy drunken bar!

När Jättar Marschera (“when giants march”) is a bouncy romp, with a really catchy melodic hook in the chorus; later on, the vocals are more sea-shanty in nature. Mordminnen (“memories of murder”) has the chuga-chuga guitar sound probably more associated with an act like Marilyn Manson than Scandinavian metal; again, the horns are uplifting and the track sounds more punky than metal. Rösets Kung (“king of the cairn”) has a great pirate-ship-esque call-and-response section (which reminded me somewhat of Pirate Jenny or Captain Bogg and Salty), and during the verse section of Skövlarens Död (“death of the waster“), I am reminded more of Tom Waits, his gravelly voice being more apparent than the erstwhile growl. Två Ormar (“two serpents”) also manages to remind me of Tom Waits as a more gypsy folk influenced track. The album closes with Midvinterdraken (“the midwinter dragon”), which begins almost as a tribute to Grieg (and regrettably also sounds a bit like the Inspector Gadget theme later on, which is what remains in my head when I finish listening to album).

Perhaps irreverent, but on the whole a great deal of fun. I feel it has more of a pop punk sound than metal, albeit with some blast beats and growly vocals. Overall, bawdy, rowdy, raucous, never taking itself seriously, though never parodying. I think a lot of different audiences could enjoy this; if you aren’t into metal, you might have to get over the vocals, but you will still likely have fun.

Favourite tracks: När Jättar Marschera, Rösets Kung, Två Ormar

Spotify link: Finntroll – Blodsvept
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