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After three albums of basically the same power/neoclassical metal, band leader Thorbjörn Englund decided to make the next album the way he wanted it to be, and thus he recorded it himself, handling all instruments including vocal duties, only being assisted by Leif Eriksson on drums. The title suggests that this is metal, and so it is, heavier than any of these northerners previous efforts. It also mentions Technology. It reflects itself in some rather technical and memorable riff moments – if Yngwie is your biggest idol, it comes naturally. Also there are lots of keyboards, and a few drum loops.
Metal/Technology starts with its best song: The Hunter. Let me assure you – it’s a great start. The powerful heavy riffing gets you headbanging from second one. We’re talking much more distortion than you’d expect from a power metal band, or a heavy metal band. The vocals are somewhat unexpected as well. Thorbjörn’s forced falsetto-ish screams pierce the ears mercilessly. Either you like them, or you hate them. No matter which you choose, the vocals remain being the main annoyance. He keeps changing the type of them. When you go from this falsetto, to grunts, dark, clean vocals and back you’re bound to irritate someone.
The problem is, the songs following the Hunter are of lesser quality. They’re slower, they sound less unique and the guitarwork is less memorable. He’s tried to go for the melody, but it’s only partly working, being half suppressed beneath drums and synths. It sounds better when the guitar is raised in the mix, and he sings the chorus. Then there’s some stupid computer trigged stuff too, like the Go To Hell intro, taking this Technology focus a bit too far. My Nevermore sounds like recent Samael, only not quite as good. On Like Ships in the Night he drops the identity completely, ending up sounding like a marginally heavier Nightwish, both the music and the female vocalist appear to be stolen from the Finnish band. Of course she isn’t Tarja, but she sounds close enough.
The ball isn’t picked up until on Shouting Out the World where speed, rhythm, aggression and swearwords are rediscovered. On A Demon’s Night sounds like more traditional power metal, and is easily lost between the two heavier, better songs surrounding it. The Touch of Evil a great song, second only to The Hunter. We’re back with power, aggression, magnificent riffing and a falsetto screaming:
“Bend to your knees
Get down and please”
This album is not perfect at all, even if the opener comes close. It’s way too uneven, too inconsistent and there’s a little too much high-tech stuff to really work. The vocals, especially the falsetto, are bound to scare off some listeners, and the past in the power/neoclassical scene scares off a few more. Anyone interested in some heavy music and doesn’t puke on first sight of keyboards should check this out. It’s by far the most interesting piece of art I’ve seen since 2004 year’s Samael, Therion and Dio. And they’re only more interesting because the songwriting is better and more stable; none of them has the creativity of this beast.