Album Review – Rioghan / Blackened Sky EP (2021)

An up-and-coming Finnish poet and lyricist translates her work into music in her debut EP, deeply rooted in Progressive, Gothic and Progressive Metal.

Formed in 2019 by Finnish singer Rioghan Darcy, Lapua, Finland-based Alternative/Gothic Metal entity Rioghan is deeply rooted in Progressive, Gothic and Progressive Metal, translating into fresh and captivating music Rioghan’s work as both a poet and a lyricist. Now in 2021 our dauntless artist teamed up with Jonne Soidinaho, Eemeli Bodde and Atte Pohjonen, all skilled musicians from the Finnish music scene, to come up with a four-song EP entitled Blackened Sky, her debut installment as a vocalist. With all instruments being recorded and programming done by Eemeli and Jonne in various locations while vocals were recorded with Ville Hautaluoma in his studio in Seinäjoki, Finland, Blackened Sky brings something new to the table, being recommended for fans of rock and metal music who are not afraid of exploring newer, more alternative lands that are at the same time heavy, obscure, whimsical and fascinating.

Atmospheric and ethereal form the very first second, the opening track Hollowness already presents Rioghan’s delicate, enfolding vocals boosted by the song’s gentle background keys in a stylish fusion of Progressive and Alternative Rock and Metal, whereas sick Groove Metal riffs and bass punches together with tribalistic beats generate the perfect ambience for Rioghan’s piercing voice in Enough, where she showcases her more aggressive side and, therefore, turning this song into a must-listen for fans of the music by bands like Tesseract and Jinjer. Then investing in a much more alternative sound Rioghan brings forth the stylish Wither, where you won’t find the heaviness of the guitars from the previous song but instead electronic and atmospheric elements like what’s seen in the music by Lorde; and lastly, it’s time for an embracing, orchestral ambience in Corrupt, with Rioghan being supported by classic acoustic guitars while the music flows smoothly until everything fades to the sound of her comforting vocals.

I guess there’ll be a lot of discussion among fans of alternative music if Rioghan is rock, metal or something else, and that’s in my humble opinion the beauty of her music, avoiding any labels while at the same time bringing forth stunning elements from an array of musical styles, with Blackened Sky perfectly representing the first step in her promising career. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Rioghan by following her on Facebook and on Instagram, by streaming her music on Spotify, and of course, by purchasing Blackened Sky from her own BandCamp page (or by pre-saving it to your desired music library by clicking HERE). I truly hope she doesn’t take too long to mesmerize us all once again with another EP or, even better, with her first full-length album, but until then let’s close our eyes and relax to the sound of the unique creations found in Blackened Sky, a short and sweet display of what this talented musician from the land of ice snow is capable of doing.

Best moments of the album: Enough.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Hollowness 3:25
2. Enough 4:46
3. Wither 3:18
4. Corrupt 3:26

Band members
Rioghan Darcy – vocals

Guest musicians
Eemeli Bodde & Jonne Soidinaho – all instruments, programming

Album Review – Mors Subita / Into the Pitch Black (2018)

Exploring a darker-than-usual path in their brand new album, this Finnish squad has all it takes to become a reference in modern and aggressive Melodic Death Metal.

Formed in 2000 in Oulu, a city located in central Finland, Mors Subita (Latin for “sudden death”) play what can be called “Aggressive Modern Melodic Death Metal”, having released since their inception two demos, two EP’s and two critically acclaimed full-length albums, the first titled Human Waste Compression, in 2011, and the second titled Degeneration, in 2015, which peaked at number 26 on the official Finnish album charts. Now after three years of touring and recording, the band comprised of Eemeli Bodde on vocals, Mika Lammassaari (Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Wolfheart) on guitars and backing vocals, Mika Junttila on bass, and Ville Miinala (Thyrane, Darker Grounds) on drums returns with a blistering new 11-track album titled Into the Pitch Black.

This new album from Mors Subita showcases just how far the band’s songwriting and musicianship has developed since the debut of their sophomore album, with these 11 new tracks being a testament to the work ethic employed within the band. With searing vocals, gut twisting melodies, fierce drumming and the fast yet always tasteful riffing the band has come to be known for, Into the Pitch Black builds on the identity Mors Subita has forged for themselves with their previous albums, and promises to not disappoint even the most hardened melodeath fan. These new compositions present a new dimension to the ever-evolving sound of the band, with even more emphasis being given to the melodies while also incorporating the use of industrial samples not heard on previous releases. The result has manifested in some of the heaviest and crushing tracks the band has ever written, while still encapsulating their signature sound which has set them apart from all others in the melodeath scene.

The short, futuristic intro Path to the Abyss revs up the engines for the melodic and aggressive As Humanity Weeps, with its lyrics about how vile the human soul can be (“How much more blood is there to shed before you realize, / That no one has the right to take another’s life. / Feed them pain, feed them fear. / Reduce yourself to human filth.”) and all the sonic devastation going on matching perfectly with the proposed theme. After such great start, the band fires another potent tune titled Dead Sun, where the guitar by Mika couldn’t sound more metallic and vibrant, while Eemeli delivers sheer rage through his screams in a solid display of modern Scandinavian Metal. And in Defeat we face contemporary sounds and tones in a very melodic and exciting atmosphere, again bringing Mika’s lancinating riffs and endless violence.

In the title-track Into the Pitch Black, they engage in their most Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal mode, with Mika doing a great job with his riffs while Ville keeps the rhythm at a nice headbanging pace with his beats. Then in Alas Ville puts the pedal to the metal with his accelerated beats and double bass, accompanied by the metallic bass by the band’s other Mika (Mika Junttila), generating a thrilling vibe for Eemeli and his visceral growls, therefore keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline and fury. And Mors Subita managed to get even more ferocious and angry in the belligerent tune I, God, with all band member being on fire (in special Ville with his Black Metal-inspired beats), resulting in a top-notch Melodic Death Metal extravaganza for our total delight.

Never slowing down or selling off, they keep blasting anti-mainstream compositions like Vultures, showcasing very melodic guitar lines by Mika while Ville increases the intricacy of his beats; followed by Fear is Just the Beginning, presenting three minutes of demolishing riffs and beats, with the screams by Eemeli getting to a truly rabid stage. Hence, this song will certainly incinerate the crowd and incite them to slam their skulls into the circle pit. Despite its promising beginning and the solid work done on guitars during the entire song, the music in Shadows falls flat after a while, proving Mors Subita should stick to their most furious sounding to thrive. Fortunately, those Finnish metallers get back on track for one final blast of enraged Melodic Death Metal titled The Void, ending the album on a high note with highlights to the bestial job done by Ville on drums and Eemeli’s demented vociferations.

If you want to feel all the rage and violence flowing from the music by Mors Subita in more detail, I suggest you check their official Facebook page for news and tour dates, their YouTube channel and Spotify for more of their incendiary Melodic Death Metal, and obviously purchase Into the Pitch Black from the Inverse Records webstore, from Record Shop X, or from other physical and online retailers such as metalmailorder.com. The name Into the Pitch Black not only gives a sense of obscurity to the entire album, but it also points to a heavier (and consequently more interesting) future for Mors Subita, a band I’m sure will have a lot of fun exploring this new darker path in their future releases, which in the end will be extremely beneficial for themselves and, above all, for fans of their more austere form of melodeath music.

Best moments of the album: As Humanity Weeps, Into the Pitch Black and I, God.

Worst moments of the album: Shadows.

Released in 2018 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Path to the Abyss 0:35
2. As Humanity Weeps 4:08
3. Dead Sun 3:49
4. Defeat 4:41
5. Into the Pitch Black 4:22
6. Alas 4:42
7. I, God 4:01
8. Vultures 3:01
9. Fear is Just the Beginning 3:20
10. Shadows 5:06
11. The Void 7:03

Band members
Eemeli Bodde – vocals
Mika Lammassaari – guitars, backing vocals
Mika Junttila – bass
Ville Miinala – drums