Should we call this the law of physics of metal music? Sometimes it appears that good Melodic Death Metal can only originate from the Finnish cold plains. The reason is probably buried somewhere in the wastes of the North up yonder. Mixed with the dark, icy weather breeding melancholy and a language that nobody understands but themselves. All this invokes an atmosphere that many bands know to exploit only too well. Just think about Insomnium or Wolfheart.
But when it comes to doomish Melodeath with a beastly streak, the somewhat unknown band Noumena shines prettily on this lonely mound in the endless Finnish wilderness. Their flirt with metal started sometime back in ’98. They unchained a number of releases in pretty rapid succession, culminating in the remarkable Anatomy of Life in 2006. And then, the void – nothing else, nada. The band pretty much fell off then face of earth until the Year of the Lord 2013. This year saw the arrival of the juicy Death Walks With Me.
Myrrys, their 5th full length album, indeed loses some crunch over their excellent and highly acclaimed aforementioned 4th album. Yet again, this here new record remedies itself. With a marked change to a sober, yet elegant and refined Melodeath beat rolling down this road of dark, doomish metal from the Scandinavian lands. All this floats on a river of melancholy that would put Doom Metal nerds like My Dying Bride on the defensive. That said, typical Northern Melodic Death Metal influences straight from Insomnium, interwoven with some of the shaman-esque antics of Korpiklaani nicely spice this hot-pot of metal soundbites. Once they garnish this metal heap with their very own interpretation of Folk Metal injections, this whole concoctions starts to look pretty good.
And let us not forget Suvi Uura. Her much extended role nicely counterweighs Antti Haapanen‘s bearlike growls all across the album. Even if her level of contribution increased to a point where the record quite frankly reaches saturation. It is sometimes not clear anymore who’s leading and who’s not, the female vocals being present on almost every track. Yet again, it is her contribution only that saves Myrrys from damnation in the Gehenna of never-ending repetition. And the band supposedly understood this straight.
The artwork fits perfectly with the growly, dark style displayed on Myrrys. The angry bearlike creature really speaks volumes towards the contents of the album. And indeed: Once you get beyond the intro, Metsän Viha dashes out of the portal with chest-beating, dark growls on a bed of a relatively speedy Melodeath tune. Also, the album is finally solidly ensconced in the far Finnish North with all lyrics delivered in this same language.
To top it, all tracks were mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö and his Unisound Studios. And the album shows the quality one expects coming from this corner of the world. But of course, mixing and mastering can only take it so far. First and foremost it is the musicianship of the band that will carry the flag and this is no different with this record.
I much enjoyed the excellent guitar work, be it now on the steadfast riffing or the pretty cool solos scattered about the track list. I’d also like to mention the outstanding work on the percussion interpreted by Ilkka Unnbom. Never pretentious, always straight with the style and atmosphere at hand. Unless other bands’ records where huge bricks surround you in their very own cell of hell.
In conclusion, Myrrys presents a different allure than its predecessor. Noumena expertly project strong, yet solemn Melodic Death Metal onto a doomish soundscape, adorned with somewhat discreetly injected folk elements. To balance things out, they expertly use the Beauty and the Beast concept. This gets you a spicy dish of doom-laden Melodeath that will please the newbie as well as the metal connoisseur.
And to top it, the record made it onto the Intermittent Digest – Tome VI. Sweet.
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