Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A turn up for the books - 86%

PorcupineOfDoom, December 7th, 2014

If you've checked out the two releases that came before this one then you'll probably know what's coming: I'll praise the musicianship in terms of Daniel's drumming and Chris and Michael's skill on the guitars and then I'll slag off Johan Liiva. Then I'll probably bang on about the sound being unclean and then go back to bitch a bit more about Johan and how he sucks eggs. Maybe throw in a comment or two about how I'm glad they changed their direction after this album and then top it off with something about Angela being better than Johan. That's pretty much how it tends to go.

The opening twenty or so seconds of The Immortal were actually an interesting experience for me, and it continued on throughout that song: the guitars sounded weird and out of tune in the parts that I'd normally consider the highlights of the tracks. Admittedly the solo section is a fine one (what else do we expect of one of the best guitar pairings in the business?), but for the most part they fail to sound appealing to me. Normally I'd just gloss over it, but there is another unexpected entity in this song: Johan Liiva actually sounds decent. It sounds as if he's actually trying to do something interesting here rather than just randomly speak over the top of epic guitar hooks, and suddenly I find that it's bearable. More than that, it's kind of enjoyable. Weird, I never thought I'd say that about Johan.

It's not a trend that continues for the entire album (the next song goes back to something more reminiscent of the last two albums), but as a whole Johan sounds much more engaging and like he actually cares about what he's doing. It does make me wonder why he suddenly found himself sacked after his first performance that was somewhat okay, but I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that his replacement still outclasses him by a long margin. Still, well done Johan. I'm pleased to see that you did something that could be seen as good while in AE.

For the most part the sound on this album is cleaner, and thankfully for the rest of the album the guitars are in tune. I do enjoy most of this album a lot more than the past two Liiva albums thanks to that, along with the vocals being much improved. It's strange how much one thing can impact the rest of the band, but this shows it.

The music on this album is also more catchy than that of Stigmata and most of Black Earth. That helps me to engage with it that little bit more than the past two albums as well, and I really find myself getting lost in the stuff that's being played. Maybe this points towards the style that they shifted their focus to after the end of this (albeit in a slightly different way than this), but I enjoy most of this album to a great extent.

Sadly there is an exception to the great progress they've made that isn't The Immortal, which happens to be the title track. It's more like a doom/death mix, more specifically something along the lines of sludge. While it's interesting to hear them try something different, I've never managed to enjoy doom metal to the same extent that many other metalheads do, and I do find it very boring at the extremely slow pace they're playing at. The atmosphere is admittedly very good (not many times that I pick up on that), but I enjoy the tracks along the lines of Seeds of Hate to a much better degree.

All in all though this is a nice record and I'm left to ponder exactly why it took this long for Liiva to leave any kind of impression on me. It came at last though, and he has (to some degree) saved his reputation, but I'll always look back and think of him as the guy that came before Angela who was terrible at his job thanks to the two previous albums. Maybe he should have tried doing his job sooner.