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Whispered - Thousand Swords

Published February 20 2010

=Staff's pick

Hajimari (Intro)
Thousand Swords
Of Honor
Dead Cold Inside
Fear Never Within*
Wrath Of Heaven*
Blade In The Snow*

Genre Powered Death Metal
Jouni Valjakka
Tracks 9
Jouni Valjakka
Runningtime 62 Min.
Pyrypekka Ruponen
Label Redhouse FMP
Valtteri Arvaja
Release 10 February 2010
Toni Pöllänen
Country Finland
Mika Karjalainen
Similar artists Children Of Bodom, Kalmah, Norther

I was introduced to the little-known Finnish band Whispered by way of their polished demo, Wrath of Heaven. Describing themselves as "Samurai metal" (a genre name as asinine and sophomoric-sounding as "Viking metal" and "ice metal"), I was impressed by their brand of oriental-themed melodic death metal. Whispered practice the now-familiar style of keyboard-driven, Finnish melodic death metal that has been popularized by their fellow countrymen, Children of Bodom.

Though the entire aforementioned demo is included as part of the long-playingThousand Swords, I wasn't sure what to expect with the album. Would the feudal Japan theme be as prevalent on the full-length as it was on the demo? I was skeptical of the sound being able to be maintained for the entire duration of a record, with a playing time of over an hour, no less. The theme ends up being abundant, but restrained enough to not tread quite into the realm of gimmickry.

There are a few sections utilizing actual traditional Asian instruments, but the style is relegated mostly to the leads, solos, and keys being played in eastern scales and modes. However, I can't see the band being able to pull this theme off for an entire follow-up album, though I could be wrong -- fellow melo-deathers Amon Amarth have been able to successfully achieve theirs for every release (though in their case, it is mostly lyrical rather than musical).

Ultimately, Whispered play a well-executed, if typical brand of powered death metal, despite their Samurai motif. There isn't really a lot going on here that you haven't heard before from other bands of the style, though the melodic keyboards and delicious lead-work are admittedly very well pulled off and worth at least a listen for that reason alone. Though the album contains a few longer, epic tracks, the band sounds best when not trying to overcomplicate things by firing on all cylinders with straight-up, aggressive metal tunes. Here's hoping that the band is able to tap their considerable potential and step out of the shadow of their thematic, overly dramatic elements to craft a truly great follow up.








8 chalices of 10 - Dux

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