Whispered - Metsutan - Songs of the Void
Inverse Records
Melodic Death / Thrash with Japanese Folk influences
10 songs (55'31")
Release year: 2016
Inverse Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

And now to the only truly metal review of this week … What a good album it is too …

Finnish Whispered may be a well-known commodity to some, Metsutan – Songs of the Void being their third full-length, but for me they were both a surprise and a discovery. Melodic death thrash may become stale real fast, if it lacks a spark, but Whispered possess creativity in abundance, combining the aforementioned melodic death thrash with obvious Japanese influences, crafting a truly unique sound in the process.

From the first sounds of Chi No Odori, from the word go, the sound of Japanese three-string instrument shamisen and the gang vocals of the fighters behind the fray creates mood and mystery. When Strike! then thrashes forward, and plays Japanese melodies over the top of hungry riffs, the anticipation of the unusual, epic and forceful music is quite palpable. Imagine early Children of Bodom combined with Sigh sense of melody minus Alexi Laiho hysterical squeals, but more manly growls instead, and that is what Strike! sounds like. Expansive melodic music, drum/bass interplaying solo reminding me of Japanese Taiko drums, Strike! sets the expectations sky high … and luckily Whispered meets them throughout Metsutan.

If I were to group the album’s songs in two roughly delineated categories, Strike!, Exile of the Floating World, Kensei and Victory Ground Nothing fall into the class I would call “locked and loaded”, blending aggression and atmosphere almost perfectly, Kensei beginning with a playful gallop and Victory Grounds Nothing providing buoyant uplifting melody, both so folk and so genuine at the same time. Then there is a more complicated and epic Whispered. Sakura Omen and the orchestral closer Bloodred Shores of Enoshima are perfect representatives. Bloodred Shores of Enoshima throws everything and a kitchen sink at the listener, including sweeping melodies and narration a la Bruce Dickinson Chemical Wedding. Sakura Omen starts with the fantastic intro and builds to epic heights throughout.

Whatever the song type, however, Whispered have a tender side to them as well. Almost orchestral in parts, but grounded with its guitar sound, if you listen carefully to Tsukiakari, there is more pain in its main theme than even in the intro to Sakura Omen. Instrumental Warriors of Yama is so authentic, and means a lot in the album flow, it is not a passing piece. Just like in Kurosawa movies, there is sun, rising over a Japanese remote village, bringing promises of the new fighting day. Our Voice Shall Be Heard is the fight itself then, the embodiment of the Seven Samurai movie, heroic struggles first followed by tired dreaminess later, the samurai’s fight and poor farmers struggle for survival.

Whether my interpretations of Whispered songs on Metsutan were correct or not, I don’t know. What is totally perceptible and absolutely undeniable, that with Metsutan Whispered have managed to combine two cultural strands located geographically as far away from each other as possible. On the same music sheet, however, and in the hands of capable musicians, the combination could not have been more organic. If you are tired of the same old overproduced melodeath, I strongly recommend Metsutan – Songs of the Void to tell the world this genre has not been fully tapped out.

Killing Songs :
Strike!, Kensei, Our Voice Shall Be Heard, Tsukiakari, Victory Grounds Nothing
Alex quoted 90 / 100
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