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Finist > Awakening > Reviews
Finist - Awakening

National Socialist Power Metal? - 10%

Slater922, June 16th, 2022

This is more or less a continuation to my previous review for Aryan Terrorism's "War", which is now my new least favorite black metal album of all time. However, one of the guys behind it is named Olexiy Horbov, who's in Nokturnal Mortum. However, in 2002, he decided to form a new band called Finist, a power metal band with themes of national socialism. No, hell did not froze over (or maybe it has?). There actually exist a power metal band that has national socialism as part of its themes. This basically makes Finist a one of a kind band, and not in a good way, and a good example of this is with their second album "Awakening".

To see how this album stacks up, we'll need to check out the first track "For Mankind". The guitar riffs play a melodic riff that does have a high emphasis on power, but also has a composition that leans a bit to folk, which gives it a more ancient edge. The guitars are easily the best element on all tracks, as I'll admit that the riffs are unique and does play some genuinely good stuff. As for everything else? Not so much. The drums do beat intensely and even includes some blastbeats, but it feels a bit excessive, and feels more fitting to a more extreme album. There's also some keyboards and other folk sound effects, but they sound very cheesy and have not aged well within time. Strangely enough, this album also does have a cover for Gamma Ray's "Land of the Free", which feels off. The original version sounded heavy, but also mixed it with some melody, which made it all feel like you were in an intense land of the free. With this cover, the cheesy synths and melodic riffing ends up destroying the edge, and basically disgraces the original version by making it one big cheese-fest. In fact, I think that's where much of the instrumental problems stem. The guitars might have some catchy riffs, but when you include some mediocre drumming and poorly aged synths and effects, it ends up feeling less powerful and more happy-go-lucky, which doesn't exactly enhance this album.

But then we get to the vocals. You know how power metal mainly uses some melodic singing with some powerful chants and screams? Well, Olexiy Horbo still thinks he's in Nokturnal Mortum, and he decides to utilize shrieks like he's recording a black metal. This vocals might sound decent if it was in a black metal album, except that it's in a melodic power metal album with some folk elements thrown in. The happy synths and the melodic riffs don't match with the shrieking well, and it ends up destroying the flow and atmosphere. And don't even get me started on his "chants". I mean, in tracks like "New Generation", the chants sound terrible, as they go for a yelping style, which sounds cringy and even worse than the shrieks. The shrieking itself is okay, but combining that with the melodic instrumentals is possibly the worst decision you could do with the vocals, and those cringy chants only sinks the vocal performance down further.

And then there's the vocals. Guys, I am not kidding about the national socialist crap on here. Like, if the themes had just been some generic journey about fighting a dragon, then it would've been passable. But no, the lyrics just make it even worse. To see what I mean, let's check out this verse from "Don't Wait for a Sign":

The government is poisoned
By fucking jewish bane
These bastards unleash wars
And they wanna win again

We have to stop them before it is too late
We shall show them how the Aryans can hate

So basically, they want to show off their Aryan pride against some government "poisoned" by Jews. Similar to Aryan Terrorism, the lyrics are basically Anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi crap that are written horribly and do not benefit the album. Not to mention that it doesn't match the vocals and instrumentals at all. Maybe the vocals further forces the hatred the Aryans feel against the Jews, but even if that were the case, the melodic instrumentals just neuters that hatred. And going back to that Gamma Ray cover, I have a feeling that the cover was done in some bad-faith attempt to turn the powerful lyrics about being free into whites being free from minorities. I know that's a stretch, but really, the national socialist themes in the lyrics really do tank this album even further with its horrible songwriting.

When you look at it on a technical level, it is better than Aryan Terrorism, as the guitar riffs are a bit unique with its composition and sound. However, that's really about the only good thing I can say about this album. Even without the offensive lyrics, the cheesy keyboards and sound effects feel dated and cheesy, and the shrieks do not fit well with these melodic instrumentals. I guess you can check the craziness out for yourself, but if you're looking for some good power metal, just skip this one. And please check out the original version of Gamma Ray's "Land of the Free" while you're at it, as there was hell of a lot more effort put into that song than this entire band's discography!

Are you fucking serious?! - 55%

natrix, February 26th, 2022

Holy shit, did Borat make a power metal album? Or is this a joke from Family Guy? "You think that's bad? Remember that one racist power metal band?"

Yes, you read that right: this is racist power metal. They've got a ridiculous clean singer, Sartorius, that never fails to crack me up, whether it's his slightly inept delivery, heavy accent, or genuine pop hooks. Sometimes he even sounds like Jello Biafra or a spasmatic Billy Joe of Green Day. He also does the black metal vocals, but those make about as much sense on here as Hershey's Chocolate Syrup on sauerkraut. The saccharine residue left on my eardrums after enduring this horrible, horrible masterpiece suggests that the vast majority of the music is major key--a bit of a faux pas for most legit metal. If you can find a cassette of this have a look at the band pictures, where one of the dudes is smiling wide as he strums his guitar in what appears to be his crappy bedroom apartment...that's pretty much the atmosphere of this release. (Sartorius, on the other hand, looks as though his mom shaved his head as punishment for playing naughty Satanic music with Nokturnal Mortum.)

What a pity, because there is some really solid material on here. Sartorius is a damn good musician, and able to craft some amazing pop hooks on here. The instrumentation is almost exclusively top notch (hey, is that opening riff on for mankind all fucked up?), really tight and well rehersed. The songs themselves are catchy as hell, rather uplifting and poppy, with some slightly folk-y sections to remind you that these guys come from a beautiful Eastern European nation filled with beautiful women and beautiful nature. The lead guitars are beautiful, wonderfully played, and I believe played by another former member of Nokturnal Mortum who played on their first two demos (which are Nokturnal Mortum's best work). Part of me wants to believe this was some old incarnation of Nokturnal Mortum from the 80's that played racist glam metal, such are the similarities in sound to early Nokturnal Mortum.

These skinhead bastards really sound optimistic and jolly, because opener "For Mankind" might not inspire one to goosestep through a wall and conquer the world, but rather enlist in some aerobic dance class at your local YMCA. Killer guitar solo here, and I love the little chord change in the final chorus--a nice songwriting touch of the power pop world. "Don't Wait For a Sign" starts with a folk-y riff, then follows it up with a menacing heavy riff. When I say menacing, it's got the same heaviness of your dad chiding you for not taking the trash out. But wow, is that chorus uplifting..."stand up for your freedom." Hell yeah, just like "don't stop believing," "fight for your right to party," or "we're not gonna take it," as long as you ignore the other racist lyrics on here. And that totally out of place folk break in the middle of the song is pure gold; a jarring, tourette's style transition in the proud tradition of Tiamat's "Evilized."

"Time Has Come" is a racist power ballad...I'm not making this up, though as I type these words I just can't stop laughing from the absurdity of this all. Thank Odin, we don't have those black metal vocals ruining, instead we've got the clean dude singing kind of in tune. Imagine if you're local Motley Crue cover band's singer was a closeted white supremacist and got pissed up at the local skinhead bar one Saturday night, and decided to sing a racist version of something off Savatage's Streets on the karaoke machine. What a ballad, though.

"Battlefield" has some really killer riffs that really make you want to go out in the fields of battle and have a picnic with your special lady of choice, and another very uplifting chorus. "New Generation" follows it up with almost sounds like a wedding march, no, it's actually Pachobel's "Canon!" It's some heartwarming shit for real, especially when the chorus goes something like "white boys, white girls," and it feels like he's going to sing something romantic after it, but no, some off the wall horseshit about "white power." It's pure pop gold, with the catchiness and tenderness of Radio Disney augmented by the best heavy guitars the former Soviet Union could afford. The little vocal trade off on that last chorus lets you know Sartorius was paying close attention to those old Hall and Oates and Tina Turner LPs. Only ABBA and Queen have ever tugged heart strings so with such melodic sensibilities, and dare I say that Ghost face stiff competition from Finist.

"We'll Change the World"--yeah, buddy, of course you will--has some blast beats, two different types actually. Those are a really nice touch, and the actually go with the joyous power metal gallop.

"Cranes Fly Away" is a nifty number with an intriguing main riff, which whisks me off to a sexy sunset in that beautiful nature with a beautiful woman, but with a touch of melancholy to remind me that night is setting in and I will soon have to walk her back to the bus stop so she can catch the last marshrutka home and I shall be left with blueballs. The mid-section here really amps up the folk stuff with flutes and some uncomfortable chord changes and descends into genuine folk tomfoolery. The folk chanting is hilarious...who, or what are they cheering on? Chivalry is fucking dead. Then it swings back to heaviness, with elements of folklore. This is the antithesis of the smooth transitions in the power metal sections: it transitions of all the grace of drunk skinheads at a medival renaissance fair, throwing up everywhere and fighting with bystanders.

Finist really tries to redeem their metal masculinity by throwing the heavy closer, "The Awakening," which sounds like Emperor drunk off their asses trying to play a power metal song. Don't worry, though, because they bring back that folk shit that now sounds like a posh Victorian tea party. "Oh, Sartorius dear, could you please pass me crumpet?" This song actually sounds out of place on the album, whether its the general black metal feel or the weird quasi tech-thrash post chorus riffs. At least the Gamma Ray cover is way cool. Sartorius does some great guitar harmonies on here, as well as some theatrical vocals a la King Diamond...well, more like Jay and Silent Bob singing like King Diamond, but they're amusing.

In the end it's the racism and black metal vocals that linger like a fart over everything. But maybe they make Awakening such a perverse guilty pleasure; a trainwreck of epic proportions that is so absurd in design it never fails to entertain. I just wish Sartorius could have written every song about the beautiful women of his country (it is with absolute conviction from personal experience that Kyiv and Ukraine as a whole has the most beautiful women and the greatest ratio of them of any country in the world), as it would have maybe inspired a more focused, more passionate performance from his vocals.

And that's a bitching logo and really beautiful piece of cover art, by the way.

Power metal from a blinded mind - 70%

Forever Underground, November 24th, 2021

First of all, the question that many of us have when facing this work. Why it had to be power metal? I mean, the main reason why this band gets attention is because it is a project of the keyboardist of the black metal band Nokturnal Mortum. Anyone would think that it would be an extreme metal band, but this is a power/folk metal album. It is true that cataloging a genre by the topic of the lyrics is absurd, pop and traditional rock have had songs of all kinds and even in black metal we have seen works with positive lyrics such as the recent "Empire of Love" by Violet Cold. However it is true that each musical genre has a pattern that makes it sound the way it does, and it is impossible to deny that depending on the emotional charge and style of music a genre will lean more towards a more specific set of lyrical themes, usually when my friends who don't listen to metal ask me why the vocalists of the generic death or black metal band I'm listening to at that moment sing like that my answer is always "they are singing about death/violence/satanism/patriotism etc, you can't expect them to sing in a happy way that kind of themes". So because the mentality that we ourselves have of classifying things by a series of patterns that we recognize, many people are surprised when they find a band like Finist, that without leaving behind the more cheerful tone of power metal, sings about such crude things as white supremacy, patriotism or anti-semitism. But actually this has an answer, even if it is quite macabre if you think about it seriously, and that is that Satorius' lyrics have a distinctly positive tone, far from the hate-filled lyrics that we are shown regarding these topics, Satorius' mind sees his fight as already lost, he does not believe that the Jews are going to take his land, it is already taken by them, so the only thing he can do is sing about how victory will come. A truly blind mind.

So we have a multi-instrumentalist (although there are several instruments that are played by session/guest musicians) who has spent most of his career doing black metal, how does he perform in such a different genre? Well, you have to admit that Satorius has serious problems to not drag elements of the field he knows, not because of the use of harsh vocals per se, there are quite a few power/folk bands that use them from time to time like on this album, but this time you feel that Satorius really wants to use clean vocals but is unable to do it, mainly because they are not good, and there are moments when he needs to find comfort in an inhospitable land, also shown in an inability to abandon the folk elements that have always been present in his career, and this again could be seen as a part of the musical goal of the album but personally I don't get the intention of adding that sound when your goal is to be a complete duplicate of classic european power metal.

And speaking of duplicating, have I already commented how well Satorius builds this classic power metal? This is the greatest virtue of the album, the amount of anthemic songs that work with the typical structure of this genre, the fast rhythms, the melodic tonality, a whole pastiche of sounds that we already know but that works really well, and it really doesn't surprise me that the compositional qualities of Satorius are good even if it's something generic. If it wasn't for the lyrics I wouldn't be ashamed to admit that I have had for several days a few songs of this album stuck in my head because of their cheesy and catchy chorus, if we add that the more distinctive elements, although artificial, give it a more unique personality, we end up with an album where almost all the songs shine by their own light reaching the final apogee in the epic "The Awakening" that shows all the virtues shown in the album as a closing.

And I say almost all the songs because it would be impossible not to mention the sperpentic "Time Has Come", this was the first song I listened to from Finist and I did it only because of the incredibly idiotic lyrics I saw it had, luckily this song is not a representation of the rest of the album but you can't avoid seeing it as a big negative spot to value the overall album. For those who haven't heard it, I'm not exaggerating if I say that it could perfectly pass for a crappy song that you would hear in a Eurovision contest (if you change the lyrics of course) that piano sound so worn out trying to be melodic, that power ballad rhythm that makes a crecendo towards the chorus, but the worst is the terrible terrible almost comical voice of Satorius trying to be melodic and sweet and the only thing he gets is that people asking themselves if this song and the whole album in general is a parody, absolute absurdity at all levels. And the worst of all is the reason of its existence, in his attempt to imitate to the fullest a power metal album Satorius found himself in the situation of having to include by obligation a ballad that he was simply incapable of doing, but due to his lack of creativity in this section he preferred to do this terrorist act called "Time Has Come" than to do something of his own and with it losing quality and seriousness.

Moral of the story: If you don't know how to do something better don't do it or you can almost ruin your whole album for that nonsense.

What should not be. - 0%

Empyreal, May 29th, 2008

This is an interesting album, not for any particular songwriting nuance or innovation, but merely for the fact that it is the side project of the guy from Nokturnal Mortum, and it is also the only racist Power Metal band I can think of off the top of my head. While I'm not one to condemn a band for their lyrical stance alone, Finist are just a shitty band in general.

There isn't a whole lot to be said about this album on the musical front. Finist play badly produced Power Metal that recalls Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian, except with shitty vocals and lyrics that will turn away most people who usually listen to this genre. All of the usual staples of the Power Metal album are here, from the speedy, melodic cookers, the lone ballad, the long-winded, midpaced epic, and the catchy-as-AIDS choruses, and then there are some folksy influences (fortunately not just keyboards; these are actual folk instruments, for a change). The production is thin and hollow, and Saturious's vocals completely rob the music of any emotion it might otherwise convey, veering between an atrocious flat, off-key warble and a boring, toned-down Black Metal rasp. The lyrics are awful too. Overall, I'd be hard pressed to find music more derivative and cliched, at least in this genre. There are riffs and solos that are pretty cool, but you can find ones that are equally good or better by bands who have a better production job and vocal work, and thus Finist is useless. The only reason people even care about this crap is because of the people who were behind it, and I guarantee that if this wasn't made by Nokturnal Mortum members, nobody would be praising it. Were it not for those helping hands, Finist would be thrown to the wolves.

This sounds like Power Metal that wants to be Power Metal but doesn't quite have the genre down pat yet. Given the pedigree of the man behind the wheel and his comrades, this whole thing just comes off as an awkward textbook-learned imitation of the genre, like the band, having just listened to a Gamma Ray song or two (likely the one they covered at the end of this album), took the basic elements of their usual Black Metal leanings (harsh vocals, folk leanings, etc.), slapped some double bass and clean vocals into the mix, and called it a Power Metal album. The musical intentions of Saturious and company, however ludicrous their lyrics, may not be that bad, but this isn't a very good attempt at a quite over-populated style, not stepping outside of its painfully small influence box near enough for the music to remain interesting - leading me to believe that Saturious just isn't that knowledgeable about the style of music he's playing here. In a lot of ways this is just a Black Metal band dressed up in a different set of clothes. Convincingly, yes, but a mere disguise all the same.

The Awakening is overall a misguided and misinformed effort. Power Metal, like any other genre, has its requirements for a quality sound, and usually these include a powerful, full production that accentuates the music and makes it sound, well, powerful, and a vocalist who, while not always the focal point of the band, can carry the music with style and class - every well known, quality Power Metal band I can think of has these things, no exceptions. Finist does not have either of these things, and thus they should crack out the books and study harder next time they want to experiment in a genre that isn't their usual field. Seriously, this is like if Stratovarius started a Death Metal side project with shiny, polished production and synth-drenched, sugar-coated melodies wrapped around the growling. With added lyrics about "finding your true self" and all of that, too.

I can't award this album any points, because I don't like anything about it, plain and simple. This is abrasive, unappealing music (with the lyrics not helping at all), and not in the cool, fun way that some 80s extreme Metal bands were. No, Finist is just disgusting and sleazy in the manner of a shit stain on the underbelly of a toilet, and not much better in the way of musical value, either.

Originally written for

The Awakening - 69%

Basilisk, July 8th, 2007

Finist is the name of a falcon in Russian folklore. This Ukrainian band proudly takes up the name to represent its nationalist Slavic values that clutch their rare genre of music. Combining elements of black metal, power metal, and folk metal, Nokturnal Mortum’s keyboardist, Saturious, leads the band on a eulogy of Aryan pride that is epic, concerning, strange, and funny.

The musicianship on the album ‘Awakening’ is quite good, featuring an array of instruments that include electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, a violin, a trumpet, a flute, clarinet-piccolo, and a sopika. While the music is usually fast-paced, epic, and fun, you may find the vocals/lyrics annoying, that is if you don’t laugh out loud at certain parts. The vocals are fine when done in the raspy black-metal style, but the clean vocals have an accent and kind of remind me of a Ukrainian cross between T.rex and Rhapsody, which isn’t too bad really, but it can spoil the magnificence of the music at times. I just wish the vocals were a bit stronger; they remind me somewhat of Borat. The lyrics are kind of funny, and can't be taken seriously by sensible people...

"White children go to school with black bastards
Daughters of monkeys share the bed with white guys
White fathers work for narrow-eyed masters
Jewish TV tells who’s fool and who’s wise"

That’s them at their worst (or funniest) from the song ‘Time has Come’ which is the only ballad on the album. If you can tolerate the lyrics, you might allow yourself to be entertained by this oddity. Some of the best songs are ‘For Mankind’, the opening track that is fast, catchy and tight; ‘Battlefield’ is a good song that sounds vaguely like Ensiferum; ‘Cranes Fly Away’ is probably my favourite song which has good music and the vocals/lyrics are actually decent. The title track is strong and diverse, and the last song ‘Land of the Free’ I believe, is a Gamma Ray cover that is fairly well done. “White power metal”, heh, well... it was entertaining. Not bad music. Vocals could be stronger. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re easily offended by silly antics.

Great NSPM - 91%

Pestbesmittad, October 28th, 2006

With “Awakening” Finist take a more pronounced power metal direction than on “Crosses Shall Burn”. Some black metal influences remain (in the vocal department mostly) but they’re definitely in the minority on this album. The production is more power metal like than on the debut and this production also fits these songs very well.

As for the music, “Awakening” is nothing short of amazing. Epic, catchy and well-written songs with strong hooks, great melodies and choruses that will stick to your mind like glue. Yes, this is a real sing-along album. Tracks like “For Mankind”, “Don’t Wait for a Sign”, “New Generation” and the title track all have the kind of choruses you might catch yourself humming on unexpectedly, e.g. in the street and you find it impossible to get them out your head. The material on this album is just as good as much of what the big and popular power metal bands come up with (and many times even better). The guitar work of Wortherax and Roman Philonenko is fabulous, they really know how to play with style. This goes for both the solos and the harmonies.

Everybody who has heard Finist knows that Saturious’ clean vocals aren’t exactly the best in the world but he delivers with conviction and I don’t have that much of a problem with the vocals. However, in the chorus of “Time has Come” also I have to admit that things get pretty horrible vocal wise. Saturious just doesn’t have enough range to sing this track properly and his pitch is more than a little off, lol. The aforementioned song is actually a syrupy ballad and the combination of NS oriented lyrics and crooning makes for a pretty unbelievable contrast. The arrangements in this song are almost as grand as those of Queen, just imagine Freddie Mercury at the mic instead of Saturious and there you have it.

“Awakening” also sports some nice folk influences in a couple of the songs. “Don’t Wait for a Sign” has a violin melody in the middle and the title track a sopilka melody (a sopilka is a kind of flute). “New Generation” and “We’ll Change the World” are positive and uplifting songs, just like something you could expect to hear on “Keeper of the Seven Keys pt.1”. To hear a chorus like “White boys/white girls/White Power over world/New order fixed by iron hand/There's no return/No cause to cry and mourn/This is the future of our land” (“New Generation”) sung in the happiest and most carefree manner imaginable (a’la “Keeper” era Helloween) always makes me smile.

Sometimes I just can’t help wondering whether the lyrics have been written somewhat tongue-in-cheek and just aim to offend politically correct people as much as possible. As far as I know Finist isn’t a joke band though and I also think that the music is too well written in order for it to be a joke. The last track is a cover of Gamma Ray’s “Land of the Free” (probably referring to Ukraine in this case) and the band pulls this song off well. I think that without the NS concept, with a better vocalist and a big label behind them Finist could become a really big band. They certainly have nothing to be ashamed of in the songwriting department. The only real complaint I have about this album is that there’s a drum machine instead of real drums.