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Finland's finest tech death band, De Lirium's Order has renewed it's lineup almost completely since 2007's Diagnosis. Only Juha Kupiainen, the mastermind also known as S.M. NekroC remains from previous installments. Since Kupiainen is responsible for the bands material DLO is still recognisable. Altough it should be pointed out that Veniversum doesn't sound like Victim No.52 or Diagnosis and those two albums also had a distinctive sound to them, so the necessary change could be predicted. DLO's brand of technical death and melodic thrash is still vivid and very distinctive.
Veniversum's altogether new tricks are the clean vocals on ".44" and "The Aftermath", these are handled by Lars Eikind, formerly of Before The Dawn. The clean vocals don't bother the songs, but one would hope that instead of Eikind someone with a darker voice would have performed them. These are minor flaunts however that don't derail the songs as Kari Olli's - the new vocalist - voice remains constantly low and becomes an instrument among others, more so than the vocals on either of the previous efforts. Not that one would pay much attention to the vocals, when there's Ukri Suvilehto's sovereign mastery of his drumkit and two guitars that weave skillful if short leads constantly into the riffs. One thing to notice is that the riffs are less choppy and more less thrashy, giving more room to the death metal side of the band. I would also say that this shows more prominently the technical side of the band.
The songs are once again very easily recognized as DLO and thoroughly strong. It may be because Kupiainen doesn't listen to much metal at all, but it is hard to find a band to compare with DLO amongst the ranks of metal. It's impossible to name a favorite from the album, but Autistic Savant comes close. The songs have plenty of hooks that catch the ear with first listen, but to really open themselves up the songs need plenty of listening.
So the band is technically top notch and so is the production. It sounds modern, but it really breaths instead of being stuffed full or suffocating. Even the bass is audible at times, even if it keeps doubling the guitars for most of the time. All in all, a great package of controlled but chaotic beating. With short breathers found in melodies and the acoustic intro to ".44".
Seriously recommended to everyone who wants to spice up their tech death and for those with a thing for death/thrash
De Lirium's Order is a five-piece technical death metal band hailing from Finland, and though I hadn't heard too much of them before recently, their latest record has attracted quite a bit of attention. Some like it for being heavier, others for the album's fairly high production values. My speculation? I think it's because Veniversum, the band's third full-length release and the subject of this review, is the most focused, dynamic, organised, and downright beautiful album that this band has released thus far. High praise, indeed, so let's share my reasoning!
While they are dubbed as a technical band, don't let that label confuse you; this Finnish metal outfit brings plenty of brilliant melodies, slow and dramatic pieces, and tasteful changes of pace that contribute much more to each track than one would initially expect. In the first song alone, you hear plenty of piano pieces that are more reminiscent of Martin O'Donnel's work with the HALO soundtracks than another band in the metal genre. Even if these short, melodious pieces carry as much gravity as they do brevity, it's almost immediately obvious that the atmosphere of the music has just as much attention put into it as the fantastic high-speed tech-death that De Lirium brings us with Veniversum. The most important part of including atmosphere is that it meshes well; in this case, it not only fits, but contributes so much.
This record isn't a neo-classical piece from a world beyond, however. As I hinted at above, there are plenty of really powerful moments on this record that aren't attributed to the atmosphere. Most of ".44" is a straight kick to the jaw, and the follow-up track "Maximum Sentence" is no bright fluffy unicorn from Judas' fickle stomach, either. The band's guitar-driven approach delivers some terrific riffs and backing in service to the vocals, and the drums build upon the technical wizardry even further by sending each individual riff, tap, and solo off with an appropriate bang. It all comes together with a very desirable finesse that distances the Finnish bastards from their would-be peers, and there's little to compare them to. Every now and then, I'll even hear a Death-inspired jazzy tune (though it sometimes reminds me more of Atheist), and damn, does it sound impeccable.
Judging by my spiel so far, Veniversum has a stellar instrumental aspect and a great attention to detail when it comes to the little things that make up the album's atmosphere. I glanced over the vocals a little bit when I was discussing how well everything meshes together, but they're by no means forgotten. One of the most integral pieces to this mix is De Lirium's vocals, and they're powerful enough to cut swaths through legions of angelic do-gooders; certainly befitting of their genre, and even more deserving of sharing music space with the incredible musicianship displayed within the instrumental work and the atmosphere. Another surprise this record had in store for me was the presence of clean vocals. Both kinds have amazing power and delivery, but the cleans stood out simply because they weren't made a big deal of. The production supports them but doesn't shatter the noise ceiling with them, which is exactly the way this record needed to handle clean vocals. They're great for what they are, and they don't try to be what they aren't - a refreshing change from the masses, just as the rest of the album was. Without a doubt, Veniversum is leagues beyond the band's back-catalogue and an amazingly-powerful record with fantastic structuring and songwriting. This is a must-have release from 2012. Get it. Get it now.
Or forever hold your pieces!
1. "Autistic Savant"
3. "Maximum Sentence"
7. "The Aftermath"