Album Review – The Hypothesis / Origin (2016)

A complete lineup change and almost four years to conclude an album? In the case of these Finnish metallers, it was definitely worth the wait.

Rating4

The_Hypothesis_cover_2400After what happened with Guns N’ Roses and their controversial album Chinese Democracy (2008), whenever a band suffers significant lineup changes and takes a good amount of time to release an album, people get really skeptical about the final result. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Finnish Modern Melodic Metal band The Hypothesis, who after a complete change in their lineup and four years locked in the middle of a dark forest of Viitasaari, in Central Finland, are finally releasing their debut full-length album, entitled Origin, an excellent display of modern and melodic heavy music.

Formed in the city of Kouvola, Finland in 2009, but currently based about 130km to the southwest of that, in the capital Helsinki, The Hypothesis have already built a solid reputation in Melodic Death Metal, playing in renowned festivals such as Nummirock and Qstock, and sharing the stage with names like Swallow The Sun, Scar Symmetry, Wolfheart and Before The Dawn. And that’s after having released only one EP, named Nightshade, back in 2010. And now, without further ado, it’s time to hit play and start moshing with those Finnish metallers.

Right from the first few notes in Shades to Escape, you’ll notice how much they love futuristic keyboard noises, providing a sound that’s very harmonious and polished as usual, but always as violent as this type of music demands. In addition, frontman Antti Seppälä offers sharp and harsh growls nicely complemented by some clean vocals to give more balance to the song, with the powerful riffs and solos by both guitarists Juuso Turkki and Asko Sartanen filling all the spaces left. Leak, an old school Melodic Death Metal with hints of Metalcore, sounds less experimental and a lot heavier and more vicious, with the precise drumming by Waltteri Väyrynen enhancing the electricity found in the music; while End of Your Days somehow “takes off” from where the opening track stopped, with Antti going on with his furious screams and both guitars blasting some awesome riffs, all supported by the song’s background keyboards and the intricate bass lines by Markku “Neissu” Ruuskanen.

The_Hypothesis_promopic_largeOnce again exhibiting a futuristic and metallic aura, Scarface is a decent composition that unfortunately doesn’t live up to the energy found throughout the rest of the album, with its rhythm sounding a bit confusing (or maybe too progressive compared to what the other songs offer). Exit puts the band back on track with its high level of violence and nonstop action, boosted by an amazing guitar solo by guest musician Daniel Freyberg. Moreover, Markku can’t stop pounding his thunderous strings in this modern and melodic Death Metal chant tailored for fans of the genre, and almost immediately they connect it to Atonement, another song presenting potent riffs and high-end solos by Juuso and Asko where Antti showcases some clean vocals before going back to his demonic mode.

In Eye for an Eye, the rhythmic beats by Waltteri craft the perfect sonic tornado for Antti to fire desperate and harsh vocal lines in the best song of the album. This is how a Melodic Death Metal band should always add progressive elements to their musicality, not to mention its yet again flawless keyboard notes. On the other hand, Weak Story, despite its instrumental pieces being as good as the rest of the album (in special its guitar solos), brings forward out-of-place clean vocals that sound taken from a generic Metalcore song. And closing the album we have the interesting instrumental song Second Chance, where the modern elements added to its polished production turn it into a nice experimental voyage in Melodic Death Metal. Besides, you can pretend to be Antti and add your own lyrics and vocals to it, how about that? Or you can simply relax and relish the beautiful guitar riffs and rumbling bass lines offered by the band during the whole song as well.

This up-and-coming band from Finland can be found on Facebook and on YouTube, and you can purchase Origin at the Inverse Records’ webshop, on iTunes or on Amazon. It might have taken almost four years for The Hypothesis to conclude their first full-length record, but after listening to it you’ll realize it was definitely worth the wait thanks to all the energy and passion those guys put into the making of the album.

Best moments of the album: Leak, Exit and Eye for an Eye.

Worst moments of the album: Scarface and Weak Story.

Released in 2016 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Shades to Escape 4:20
2. Leak 4:25
3. End of Your Days 4:47
4. Scarface 3:51
5. Exit 3:34
6. Atonement 3:28
7. Eye for an Eye 4:46
8. Weak Story 4:03
9. Second Chance (Instrumental) 4:43

Band members
Antti Seppälä – vocals
Juuso Turkki – guitar
Asko Sartanen – guitar
Markku “Neissu” Ruuskanen – bass
Waltteri Väyrynen – drums

Guest musician
Daniel Freyberg – guitar solo on “Exit”

Album Review – Among The Prey / Only For The Blinded Eyes (2016)

A solid and energetic album highly recommended for fans of Melodic Death Metal, crafted by a Finnish band that has all it takes to become a future reference in Scandinavian heavy music.

Rating4

AmongThePrey2400pixFeaturing high skilled musicians previously known from groups such as Thunderstone, Agonizer and Before The Dawn, here comes Finnish Melodic Death Metal band Among The Prey directly from the city of Jyväskylä, the largest city in the region of Central Finland and on the Finnish Lakeland, firing a pugnacious fusion of traditional and modern Melodic Death Metal in their debut full-length album Only For The Blinded Eyes. And before I even begin the detailed review of this 9-track album, I might say this is undoubtedly an excellent choice for fans of a genre that became a synonym to heavy music from all over Scandinavia.

The reason for that is quite simple as Among The Prey deliver exactly what Melodic Death Metal demands to be truly entertaining, including enraged screams, melodic guitar lines and vigorous beats. Formed in 2013 and having released a demo entitled My Demons in 2014, it’s time for the band to reach higher grounds and send their special message to the world with Only For The Blinded Eyes. “The whole point of the album was to make music as it always should be done. If the artist has something to say, he puts himself truly in the line of fire and pours it all out. So that every played note and every vocal line would transfer those raw emotions to the listener. I hope we succeeded in that, so it can be heard why this album just had to be done”, said the band’s founder and frontman Iiro Kuntsi.

In the opening track, directly named Smile, the band offers us all huge doses of violence but with that characteristic polished sounding of Melodic Death Metal, and you’ll quickly notice how each band member masters their respective instruments. As expected, Iiro leads the attack with his sick growls and piercing riffs, making an excellent duo with the other guitarist for Among The Prey, Joni Laine. The following tune, Beyond Repair, is a modernized sonic devastation highly influenced by Groove Metal, where its nonstop beats are enhanced by its excellent guitar lines, turning this into a song tailored for igniting a fun circle pit with your friends during the band’s live performances; whereas the title-track Only For The Blinded Eyes gets darker than its predecessors, exhibiting lots of elements from the Gothenburg Sound but with the band’s own touch. For instance, especially during the song’s chorus the band seems to be paying a “tribute” to iconic bands such as In Flames and Soilwork.

Among_The_Prey_promopicDrinking from a similar music fountain of bands such as Arch Enemy, Among The Prey bring forward the very melodic and thrilling Burning Down In Hell, certainly one of the best tracks of the whole album (if not the best) mainly due to Iiro’s raging vocals, in special during the song’s catchy chorus about sorrow and regret (“Why did I do this to myself / Why can’t I make it go away / Over and over again / I’m burning down in hell”). Following that awesome chant, we have Pieces, which despite being a more introspective tune it still contains the unique fury crafted by the band. In addition, the precision by drummer Atte Palokangas is outstanding throughout the entire album, which can be witnessed in detail in his excellent performance during this song.

In Wake Up the band keeps blasting pure Melodic Death Metal, with the groovy and rumbling lines by bassist Toni Keskinen and the riffs by both Iiro and Joni elevating the overall quality of this neck-breaking chant. However, in order to avoid getting stale, the second half of the song presents a different approach from its first “act”, which in the end is a welcome breathe of fresh air and only makes things even better. In Your Face is another good display of the highly-developed skills of all band members, a solid fusion of Melodic Death Metal and Groove Metal that should sound very powerful during their live  concerts, while in Two Worlds Colliding, a song about  violence and betrayal (“Left behind, forgotten / Bout to walk this path / Blinded by all your / Darkened words / Violence has left me numb”), there’s a lot of hatred flowing from Iiro’s screams, with the only problem being that the song gets a bit tiring after a while. And finally, Dancing On Our Graves comes crushing with its four minutes of blazing riffs in perfect sync with the rhythmic drumming by Atte. This is perhaps the song with the highest amount of elements from different types of heavy music other than Melodic Death Metal, which makes me wonder the level of complexity the band could have reached with a couple of extra minutes if it was slightly longer than the final result (which is already really good, anyway).

In a nutshell, as I mentioned before Only For The Blinded Eyes is a solid and energetic album highly recommended for fans of Melodic Death Metal, crafted by a band that has all it takes to become a future reference in this type of heavy music. You can get more details on Among The Prey, their music, their tour dates and their future plans at their Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud and ReverbNation, and grab your copy of Only For The Blinded Eyes at the Inverse Records webstore or at the Record Shop X webstore.

Best moments of the album: Smile, Burning Down In Hell and Wake Up.

Worst moments of the album: Two Worlds Colliding.

Released in 2016 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Smile 3:49
2. Beyond Repair 3:51
3. Only For The Blinded Eyes 3:53
4. Burning Down In Hell 3:44
5. Pieces 4:45
6. Wake Up 4:15
7. In Your Face 3:04
8. Two Worlds Colliding 4:02
9. Dancing On Our Graves 4:16

Band members
Iiro Kuntsi – vocals, guitar
Joni Laine – guitar
Toni Keskinen – bass
Atte Palokangas – drums