This CD was labeled as one of the best newcomers in the genre of Finnish gothic atmospheric metal. Gothic, yes, there are elements. Atmospheric, there is no doubt about it. Finnish, over the years I have come up with a self-derived definition of “Finnish sound” and this one certainly fits the bill. Best newcomer, this statement is highly questionable and therein lays the problem.
In truth, Fall of the Leafe technically is not a newcomer being around for something like 8 years or so. Unfortunate deals with less known, now defunct, labels is what kept them in total obscurity. Rage of Achilles offered a chance to really put up or shut up, and the band seized the opportunity and delivered an album strongly rooted in their beliefs on how heavy music should be played, but also the one that will not make an immediate huge splash. Count me towards the crowd who will not be spinning Volvere non-stop.
The credit should certainly be given to Fall of the Leafe for not multiplying (again) a radio friendly gothic rock style of so many Finnish bands of today. No face paint, elongated eye lashes, colored hair, sweet as nougat melodies and lyrics full of self-wallowing pity. See To/Die/For and Entwine for that. Instead, Fall of the Leafe marry heavier sounds with atmospheric pop of the 80s and in the end turn out sounding like … a few album Amorphis made in the past. I would live with that, but Volvere is not as memorable and does not captivate as much as Elegy or Tuonela.
You get the Amorphis feeling from the first minutes of the opening track, best one on the album, A Waiting Room Snap. Heavy guitars, Tuomas Tuominen singing very much like Pasi Koskinen, nice atmospheric feeling. However, for my taste, melodies lack the hypnotic feeling and guitar sound is not the one that makes Elegy one of the best Amorphis albums (when they stopped being death metal that is, otherwise Tales from the Thousand Lakes is unmatched). Most of the tracks on Volvere center around long layered guitar meanderings which are anything but infectious (Big Ol’ Fat Rain Inside). Tuomas switching to semi-rough vocal style (If Mirrors Leave Men in Crumbs) or coming up with some anguished screams (Enemy Simulator) does not spice things up. And, certainly, the inclusion of nu-metallish riffs and screams on Song from the Second Floor mixes with subsequent atmospherics as oil with water.
More interesting songs include up-tempo Pillar of the Sun and Security Locks Are Good, both featuring some heaviness in Jussi Hanninen riffs and speed picking guitar. I also like palm-muted technique, bass overlap and melodic weaving in More Like a Situation and the unusual acoustic opener in Hell’s Silence. Guilt Threat is a darker tune with Sentenced like guitar hooks and the closer Cut the Smoke has some progressive leanings with choppy rhythms, prominent bass parts and solo along with the all-permeating atmospherics. The trouble is, even for the songs I liked, not one of them had me captivated from start to finish.
To me, listening to Fall of the Leafe was like going to an unusual restaurant, ordering some interesting looking food which ended up tasting bland thus ruining the whole experience. I feel the same way about the “new” Amorphis (long live the “old” one), so Fall of the Leafe are not alone. If you do pick up Volvere I hope you have a more enjoyable experience. It definitely is not bad, just failed to net me as a listener.
Killing Songs :
A Waiting Room Snap, Pillar of the Sun, Guilt Threat
|Alex quoted 55 / 100|
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