When I first heard the description of Finland’s WHISPERED I was beyond intrigued. “Samurai Metal?” Hmmm…”a blend of Northern Melodic Metal with nuances from Japanese Folk.” I’m paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea. This combining of two music styles and cultures that I love had me racing to my stereo to pop in the new album, their third, Metsatun – Songs of the Void (May 20 via Redhouse FMP/Inverse Records) right away. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed, not one bit. Founding member and vocalist/guitarist Jouni has a deep love for Japan and its culture and even utilizes Japanese instruments like shamisen, shakuhachi, and koto within these metal tracks, making this arguably the most unique release you or I will hear all year.
The band already had me 20 seconds into “Strike!”, but the deal was totally sealed with “Exile of the Floating World” one of the best songs on this record. Heavy riffs, ferocious drums, and melodeath vocals? Yes, please! The guitar lines in “Kensei” meshed with the aforementioned Japanese instruments add a whole new depth and layer of crust to the overall sound and this is another strong cut. There are a few epics, too. You all know how much I love those. “Sakura Omen” is 7:31 of simply fantastic writing and playing. Starting out quietly it then rips the roof off of your house King Kong-style, while “Tsukiakari” had me in a heavy metal trance for 8:05. This group knows when to strike hard, and when to pull back, like on this one.
“Victory Grounds Nothing” has some vicious blast beats going on and then it turns into one of the speedier numbers, complete with some vigorous dual leads. “Our Voice Shall Be Heard” was another instant favorite, both in the car and in my headphones. The whole band means business and it shows. And amidst all this carnage comes “Warriors of Yama”, an absolutely beautiful and serene piece of music I could listen to again and again. This is something that should be used in some broad, sweeping landscape scene in a movie; it’s quite breathtaking.
Closing things out is the eleven minute opus “Bloodred Shores of Enoshima”. If you aren’t sitting down by the time this comes on, you probably should. A choir, orchestration, and then all-out war will knock you on your ass, which is why I suggested you take a seat before you no longer have the option. All in all, Metsatun – Songs of the Void is a fantastic listen from start to finish and you can go ahead and add WHISPERED to my list of new favorite bands. Furthermore, I don’t see this album leaving my car or phone anytime soon as it’s become a daily ritual to fire this one up. Get your copy and it will most likely become yours too.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM