Sci-fi symphonic metal…
Released on 26 January 2018 through Inverse Records and reviewed by Angie K
Full length concept albums are the kind of projects that make history. The Wall and Operation Mindcrime are what comes to mind whenever I happen to listen to exemplars of this genre, although comparing new releases to those masterpieces is not necessarily fair, as the bar could be raised a bit too high. Which doesn’t stop young bands from trying. This kind of music is a huge challenge that either reaps rewards or brings disappointments. This is what Finish band Vinide have decided to try their third CD, Reveal.
To call this album a success would be an overstatement. I would say it’s more a good effort. It has taken the musicians three years to create while also having to deal with line-up changes. This in itself is worth respect, as well as the music they have created. This is good quality progressive, melodic metal, with the signature sound for the genre: multi-layered tracks, great instrumentation, sudden changes in melody and pace, excellent vocals. As an example of a symphonic metal album, I give it a thumbs up.
Where they fall short is the implementation of their idea to create a concept album. They clearly designed it to be theatrical, with an intriguing storyline and intention to make it interesting and original. This is a sci-fi story about a big company’s project to take over the world and transform all humans into robots. Apparently, there are twists and turns in the plot. My problem was finding it pretty much impossible to understand what actually goes on here. There is a lot of dramatism and interesting twists and turns, but I can only find them in the music compositions and arrangements, rather than as underlining canvas of the bigger picture.
It’s an unwritten rule that in a concept album, listeners should be able to clearly hear the lyrics, to understand what is going on. I find this hard. The loud and passionate music overpowers the voice of the otherwise clearly talented Elmeri Kinnunen to the point of making it a constant effort to try and catch the lyrics. Hearing random words and phrases is not enough to enable you to follow the plot. I did try hard to listen to the album “properly”, and eventually gave up and just enjoyed the music.
The actual music is good, although a bit too busy. It is not as well structured, as you would expect from this type of metal productions (or from a concept project, for that matter), but this is not necessarily a flaw. As we know, loud, elaborate and complicated music is characteristic of many progressive metal bands, including the biggest ones. On this occasion, however, this is intended to make you follow a plot, to create a full experience.
I find that, somehow, Vinide do not manage to bring it all together. They have tried to add a theatrical/stage element to the album, but the only episode that manages to achieve this is a conversation between the main character and a female character. This is the only occasion when you can hear the silence and get to find out what the story is about. I’m not a prude, but the use of foul language on a couple of occasions doesn’t sit well within the whole very serious concept. As there are no more “talking” scenes, I, sadly, did not manage to find out what happened after all. This album may appeal to fans of complicated progressive and symphonic metal but I found it wanting. You may disagree. Let us know (politely please) in the comments below…
- The Beginning Scene
- The Rat
- The Truth
- The Plan
- The Bombs
- Another Dimension
- The Great Voyage
- Save The Earth