Dead End Finland – Season Of Withering


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 def_seasonofwithering_coverand 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.


RingMaster 24/10/2013

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Sarah Jezebel Deva – The Corruption Of Mercy

After the negativity for her decent debut solo album with even Sarah Jezebel Deva herself not over enamoured with the end results there has been a subdued anticipation for its follow up even with the impressive pedigree of artist.  For all of those holding back investigating The Corruption Of Mercy released via Listenable Records, the recommendation is easy just dive into its splendour and enjoy. The release may not quite touch album of the year standards but its generous and glowing sounds matched by eager intensity and emotive energy is a sure thing to pleasure the senses and feed all harmonious and adventurous taste buds.

It does seem strange that it had taken until 2008 for Sarah to take the step into the limelight with her own solo work. Fourteen years as a backing singer with Cradle of Filth, and work with bands like The Kovenant, The Gathering, Mystic Circle, Trigger The Bloodshed, Mensrea (GWAR side project), Graveworm, Tulus (Name later changed to Khold), and Creations Tears (Featuring ex Paradise Lost drummer Lee Morris) has sealed her place in metal even if it subdued her potential in many ways. 2005 did see her join forces with Tommy and Chris Rehn to form Angtoria whose album God Has A Plan For Us All gained strong acclaim. The band never toured with her COF duties always the pull away for her.  Three years later she did take the move to go solo releasing her debut album A Sign Of Sublime , featuring a host of guests including Dave Pybus (COF/Angtoria/Anathema) on bass, Chris Rehn (Angtoria) keys/programming, Martin Powell (Ex COF/My Dying Bride/Anathema) keys and Max Blunos (Trigger The Bloodshed) on drums.

For The Corruption Of Mercy which she started working on immediately after her debut, Sarah Jezebel Deva brought together a permanent and touring band under the umbrella of her name consisting of guitarists Dan Abela and Jonny Gray, bassist Ablaz and drummer Jamie Abela. The album also has the guest wizardry of Pzy-Clone from The Kovenant to contribute programming and orchestration. Recorded at Legacy London Studios, England the project’s official website states ‘Sarah feels “The Corruption Of Mercy” should have been the first album.’ With the major step forward in all aspects musically, lyrically and song craft it is understandable and the reason people should not think twice about checking the album out.  

The songs within the album are as firmly varied as Sarah’s vocals are impressive; her soaring and glorious tones matched by the diverse and large soundscapes conjured up, though at times the band unveils the simple and elegant sounds to equal effect. The release starts off with ‘No Paragon of Virtue’, a large dramatic song with soaring orchestral sounds fused against driven energetic heavy riffs and thrusting beats. The song sounds like an even more theatrical version of Stolen Babies but staying well within the bounds of pomposity. The song is immense and grows even deeper into the heart the more times one enters its charms.

The straight forward and satisfying direct rock flow of ‘The World Won’t Hold Your Hand’ comes next before passing over to the melodic majesty of ‘A Matter of Convenience’.  Though it is not exactly a ground breaking song its smoothness, expressive vocals and lyrics, and captivating allure makes it a highlight amongst many. The dark synth vein running through it brings a twinkling wickedness also adding to its power.

A great song that leads into the album’s finest moment in the glory of ‘Silence Please’, which like the opener it is another grand and sparkling theatrical flourish of sounds. Sarah’s vocals are as expansive and wonderfully soaring as the orchestral arrangements both swarming over the striking intense riffs and attack. One can imagine it framing any highly dramatic gothic movie scene or dark hearted animation, the sound larger than life and as powerful as one would wish.

The remaining tracks all bring bright creativity and impressive substance from the stunning piano and voice piece ‘Pretty with Effects’, the pulsating urgency and striking harmonies of ‘Sirens’, to the folk metal tinged immensity of ‘The Eyes That Lie’ a track that Arkona would eagerly grab, the songs ripple with engaging mesmerising beauty and beguiling energy, Even the cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, a track well bled dry by multiple versions is a mighty fine and different effort.

 The Corruption Of Mercy is a thoroughly impressive and enjoyable release and evidence that Sarah Jezebel Deva herself and the band are a more than formidable and important part of anyone’s playlist, and as this piece comes to a close whilst listening once more, the album is nearer that best of the year step than ever before.

RingMaster 09/11/2011 Registered & Protected


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