Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

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

Privacy Policy

Seeking meaning in eternity. - 75%

Diamhea, January 28th, 2018

Three years back, Bloodred Hourglass came out of nowhere and became one of Finland's standout melodic death metal bands with Where the Oceans Burn. Despite the more straightforward, modern gait of the group's debut Lifebound (although potential was evident), they suddenly took a soft left turn and began integrating the elastic, epic atmosphere that bands like Omnium Gatherum and Noumena are known for. So it isn't all bog-standard melodeath riffage we've heard a million times, there is a wider breadth of variation here along with an overall preference for epic note progressions glued together by tasteful synth usage. These guys won't change the world, but tunes like "There Will Be Blood" have been in my rotation ever since I discovered them.

This brings us to 2017's Heal, an album with expansive shoes to fill, and well... it certainly makes a decent showing throughout. The band wastes little time with the headfirst, crunchy "Quiet Complaint," hinged on stolid grooves and the fine musicianship Bloodred Hourglass have displayed in the past. As usual, the chorus contains a more uplifting, fists-in-the-air aesthetic. These guys remind me of Germany's Nothgard at times - another band that has risen to the top of my expansive melodeath list. Nothgard is a bit more modern, but both bands rarely eschew sticky melodies for plain genre posturing without sounding trite or cornball.

My personal favourite here is of course "Six Feet Saviour," wherein the band softens up a hair and lets the synths drive the main melody. Naturally, some of the verse riffs throughout the record suffer from monochrome "been there" feelings, and that always seems to be the toughest aspect to nail for melodic death as a whole. And overall, Heal simply feels a tad more samey than Where the Oceans Burn. Expansive, progressive closer "Requiem of Our Last Days" is appreciated in form, but function is another matter altogether. Some cool bits thrown in there, but not enough to warrant the playing time.

That said, Heal is still close to top-notch Finnish melodeath, at least for the current time period. Koukonen's vocals are hardly embarrassing, and the band shows that they can still maintain most of the momentum that brought them to this point. I'd say check out the singles first, then go from there. Melodic and with just enough crunch to make me sweat, Heal gets a thumbs-up from me.