'All Life Erased'
Release date: 20th February 2015
Roger Berzerk Fauske
Finland for this one and a band called Gian who have their debut album out this month. It is their debut album although there have been five demos emanating from the Finnish Metallers over the years.
You will no doubt want to know all about the band and I will leave it to the bio to fill you in. Now I don't normally pay much attention to bios but this one is, well, in a word brilliant. In fact if you don't know much about the Nordic countries, this pretty well sums it up – humorous, a little crazy (sometimes downright nuts), passionate with a hint of reality (occasionally).
I am personally very happy to have deep Norwegian roots and it is a fine excuse for my sometimes insane behaviour, but back to the band:
Place of birth: Sumiainen, central Finland
Place of residence: Äänekoski, central Finland
Number of limbs: 5
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The first steps:
It all started in the summer of 2005. Lassi Pollari and Jasu Rossi caught a fever and the only prescription was more cowb... I mean Metal. The first line up was quickly formed, the aforementioned gentlemen handling the guitar duties with Juuso Raatikainen on drums, Juho Hakalax on bass and Jampe Honkonen on vocals. This bunch of idiots ventured through four years, four demos and a shitload of awesome live shows, almost without any injuries. Then in the spring of 2009 the axe of mutual agreement swung hard and cut loose Jasu, Juuso and Juho leaving Lassi and Jampe to continue the saga of this grotesque creature.
After a few months of recuperating and gathering new members stupid enough to join (Konsta Vehkala on drums, Henri Rahm on bass and some strange hippie on 2nd guitar) the band emerged with a clearer vision, more gigs and the Capital Punishment EP. But just guess were things that easy from that point forward? Fuck no! The band was plagued by difficulties to keep the other half of the guitar department occupied long enough to make any real progress as the years 2009-2013 saw three different axemen filling the spot. And at the end of 2013 they decided to put the band into hibernation mode for some time. But the story continues!
Full speed ahead:
"It's now or never" the dudes said and got to work. After a refreshing 6 month break the summer of 2014 saw Gian recruit a new guitarist, namely Tuomo Laulainen, and then engaging to furiously rehearse for a full-length album. The recording began in September and the sessions were completed in the final days of December. The due date for the firstborn is February the 20th and the five fathers couldn't be more proud of the mutated and demented nuclear freak the world is going to witness. This planet shall be left in ruins, all life erased.
So there you have it, the vision of the band and so to the music. Let's start with the compulsory music industry labelling – they are a melodic death / thrash band in essence so time to see how it all fits together.
It is very much an old school, traditional thrash sound and by that I mean that the progressive elements which have crept into the genre over the years are not too evident here. The sound is still a very modern one, call it updated tradition if you will, but the roots are firmly planted in the archives. The music is fast, aggressive (sometimes verging on the brutal) and that is just what you would expect, but it is done very well. The vocals on occasion drift to the cleaner sound, a sometimes subtle change but one worth its weight in gold to change the whole feel of a section. There are as you will see, and hear, twists on the tried and tested formula that only add to the sound.
'Traumm', the opener makes use of atmospheric effect and speech at the start to set the tone and together with the second track 'Bloodstorm', the thundering drums, galloping bass and fast but clean, crisp guitar give the album a life all of its own. The subtle vocal variance is evident right from the off as is the melodic part of their make up.
'All Life Erased' (probably a good thing as it would at least ensure Coldplay are no more) carries on in the same vein, but with some nifty guitar work thrown in, clean and groove crunching solo right up there with the best of them.
'Zombie Christ' has more aggressive intentions, but cleverly mixed with a very cool rhythm running through it and the twin overlaid guitars in the middle section add more than a touch of class.
'Self Immolation Party' gives you even more groove, not just in the rhythm this time but the guitars join the party as well with some almost funky guitar patterns, an intriguing and well written song indeed.
'Burn' is another aggressively melodic one, heavy, bone shaking riffs with varied vocals again taking it in a few directions away from the standard fayre on offer by so many bands, a theme prevalent in 'A Perfect Shot' as well, a fast and furious ditty with vocal patterns again exceling and there is some clever voice and six string interplay on this one as well.
'Pain And Pleasure' is another one that isn't your run of the mill thrash, highlighted by deliberate vocals, more coolio from the guitars and a great build up to the crescendo which features some more widdly superbity from the axes.
'Aggression Unleashed' is probably the closest to what may be called an epic on the album. Kicking off with more memorable riffs, drumming equal to it pounding its way, the vocals come in powerful as ever, raucous and showing intent and as they do the guitars change tack again, fitting in perfectly behind the growls, showing the way for the song to evolve and evolve it does very nicely until it ends as quickly as it all began.
'No Absolution' is faster and more in your face, that is until the mid-section that features some guitar that wouldn't be out of place in a more classic rock oriented album. It adds theatre and drama to the whole piece before some atmospherics bring the song to its conclusion. The clever part is actually what doesn't happen, ironically – accustomed to the aggressive approach that is the norm on this album, you are expecting it to rise back up for more of the same at the end of the track but it never does but it doesn't need to – a case of less being definitely more.
So to the closer 'Capital Punishment' and another well-built and multi layered song, growling vocals that you just know mean business and again with the groove laden guitar behind it. It does almost seem a way out there comment but foot tapping and thrash do go together if it is done well and this most definitely is.
So that is that – stand out tracks to my ears 'Aggression Unleashed' and the last one 'Capital Punishment' but the whole album is a well put together piece of work, well written, excellently played and, as the icing on the cake, well produced. As I mentioned at the beginning, it has its roots in the more traditional, but the use of melody throughout to such devastating effect is its crowning glory.
Keep an eye on them... and two ears.