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Finnish Aluminum - 84%

ghastlylugosi, September 5th, 2008

This barely qualifies as "metal", hence the aluminum reference. This is airy, jangly H.I.M.-esque material, though less lush (and less riveting) than their fellow Finns.

Have no doubt, this is certainly a gloomy album, but I hesitate to call it "doom" because of the lack of any crushing, heavy riffs. Oddly, not many songs on here can be called ballads; they are mostly mid-tempo, gloomy rock. The guitars don't have very much distortion on them, perhaps matching part of Katatonia's sound from the "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" era. None of the musicians are stand-outs, the songs themselves seem to be what they are interested in perfecting, rather than their demonstrations of technical prowess.

So, on to the songs. Really, the comparison to the afore-mentioned Katatonia era is dead on, although Fragile Hollow could never really be mistaken for Blackheim and company. One gets the feeling of a simplicity that works, an 'organic' feeling (without stooping into hippie-sounding crap!) to the songs that are mostly built around simple little melodies. There isn't too much action in these songs, but many parts will stick in your head after just one listen.

This band seems capable of putting out a real killer of an album; unfortunately, "Effete Mind" has too many awkward-sounding parts, and some very brief downright stupid-sounding parts! But on the tangent of 'stupid-sounding', I was actually quite angry to learn that they repeated the last song's main riff ad infinitum, as 'hidden tracks', adding up to about 20 minutes of the same goddam riff! THAT is pretentious and inexcusably stupid-sounding.

You may be wondering about the vocals. The sound is quite akin to Renske's more reedy vocalwork with Katatonia, and there are also a few hints of countryman Ville Valo (H.I.M) as far as more baritone crooning goes, but only slightly. Mostly, it is a plaintive, depressed singing and sometimes just plain speaking.

This is a worthy addition to your gothic rock collection (there aren't any abominable "dance" beats to be found, if that's what you fear about 'gothic'), or perhaps your sub-doom collection, if you have one! It is a bunch of pretty good, gloomy songs, with nothing heavy to break up your morose introspection.