Parading an enterprising expanse of melodic metal with an undeniably infectious essence of pop to its body, Season Of Withering the new album from Finnish metallers Dead End Finland is a deceptively addictive slice of work. Equally ripe with symphonic and carnivorous traits, the release makes an appealing and satisfying encounter but all the time works away at breeding an addiction which lingers and makes both band and album a very easy to return to proposition. The ten track release could not be classed as ground-breaking and at times offers songs which arguably should be bigger than they are, but all the time its charm and craft makes a rich persuasion which convinces and holds attention throughout.
The Helsinki band follows up their self-released debut album Stain of Disgrace, with a release which takes the power and qualities of its predecessor into a more vibrant, rounded, and certainly rapacious confrontation. The Inverse Records released Season Of Withering engages the ears with a sound which is like a blend of Dommin and The Kovenant with a spillage of Livarkahil and Die En Grey to it. It is an intriguing and constantly provocative challenge which awakens a very healthy appetite for its dramatic textures and soaring melodic voice even if at occasional moments it borders on sappy.
The release opens with the title track, a blaze of industrial coaxed metal explored by keys which soar through the air whilst beneath riffs and rhythms cage the senses in a predacious and spiteful caustic temptation. The vocals of Mikko Virtanen equally offer a raw scowling delivery at first but as the intensity and melodic flames of the track grow and consume, their presence takes on a more harmonic and generously rewarding suasion which accelerates along with the sounds into an infectious lure which especially grips during the chorus. Dramatic and potently alluring, the track is a powerful introduction which may not forge new avenues but triggers a keen hunger for what is on offer with Season Of Withering.
The following An Unfair Order opens similarly to its predecessor, Jarno Hänninen’s keys making an initial pleasing beckoning before a clean vocal delivery opens up the narrative. With snatches of intensity and vocal growling adding their shadows, the song is a melodic canvas of evocative craft and accomplished enterprise which makes a convincing palate of sound and endeavour to work with, if falling below the heights of the excellent opener. Its successor Paranoia launches its attempt to emulate the early pinnacle with a snarling near on malicious start which is soon sharing space with further magnetic melodic suasion. It also fails to reach its target but with impressive vocals and a savage bass tone prowling its flank, the track is certainly another contagious hook for the album.
Zero Hour creates a web of industrial and death coated metal which is soon wrapped in an excellent melodic and pop caress, the warmer element making a keen and tempering companion to the exhaustive corrosive heart of the track. With the drums of Miska Rajasuo framing the intense mix with commanding skill and the bass/guitar invention of Santtu Rosén sculpting expressive textures beneath the vast tapestry of synth imagination, another pinnacle of the album is crafted and enjoyed. Season Of Withering is a release which definitely needs numerous entries to explore its depths and nuances, and this song is a prime example as below the at times overbearing presence of the keys there is a wealth of imagination and thrilling adventure being played out by Rosén.
Through the likes of the antagonistically consuming Hypocrite Declaim and the intensive Silent Passage with its tempestuous rhythmic assault and fiery sonic ravaging, Dead End Finland continue to recruit attention and emotional engagement with ease whilst Sinister Dream unloads an aggressive and voracious rage of metallic fury which has the appetite licking its lips. As in all songs, the merger of savagery and melodic elegance is impressively crafted and brought to bear on the imagination, the track ensuring that it’s and the album’s company is thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed.
The album closes with firstly the excellent Shape Of The Mind, its opening orchestral seeded welcome a sultry beckon into the jaws of the track, its aural lips in a constant snarl and waiting to pounce even when the deep melodic hues and the melancholic piano led haunting ambience has centre stage. It is followed by Dreamlike Silence, a final expansive and chilling yet poetic fire of imaginative and thought provoking emotive excellence. It is an impressive closure to a release which makes a stirring job at igniting an enthusiasm and hunger for its tantalising sounds. Season Of Withering does not bring anything truly new to the table but undoubtedly leaves a lasting and predominantly satisfying impression which is well worth exploring.
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