Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ikuinen Kaamos: Fall of Icons (2010) Review

Ikuinen Kaamos is a progressive death metal band from Finland. I picked up their 2010 release Fall of Icons not too long ago.

Their name translates roughly as "never-ending uncanny," and while some people would think their epic song lengths (7:46 to 16:43) are never-ending, the sound is not all that uncanny. That is, unless "uncanny" is meant to say that they sound uncannily like Opeth. The resemblance is not just in their vocal style and guitar tones, but even in their riffs and solos. They're not complete ripoffs, though, as the clean vocals are different and they also include some black metal style vocals. Well, that's really the only way they distinguished themselves from the Swedish greats.

They don't live up to the standard set by Opeth, as you might expect. Many people deride progressive metal because, they claim, it puts the progressive elements before compelling songwriting. If you've ever thought that yourself, this album is probably not for you. A side-by-side comparison to any Opeth album will obviously show that those Swedes can do both, but these Finns suffer in the songwriting category.

The songwriting problem is not so much in the riffs themselves, but in the progression of the songs. Any given riff is interesting enough, but the way they get from that riff to the next one is forgettable, and there are no overarching themes to unify the song into a cohesive whole.

The Verdict: Like I said, it sounds mostly like an Opeth ripoff. That might not be such a bad thing. But because they constantly make you think about that similarity, it constantly reminds you of how it doesn't live up to the excellence of that band. Just the same, even a bad version of Opeth isn't all that bad. I give the album 2 out of 5 stars.

You'll probably want to check out their 2008 EP Closure before you decide to buy this one--it's FREE on their web site.

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