Usually I know something about the band whose album I’m reviewing, but if I don’t, the internet comes to the rescue.
But with Endless Chain’s “Forthcoming Past”, the internet shrugged its shoulders and cracked open a beer.
So, here’s many nice informations from the release notes:
“Finnish songwriter Timo Mölsä has released his studio project Endless Chain’s debut album “Forthcoming Past”.
A late bloomer to being a musician, Endless Chain’s Timo Mölsä had his musical awakening in 2016, however, he has been listening and influenced by various genres of metal music for over 30 years. It took re-introducing himself to guitar with long-time friend Ari Hokkanen as a fun pastime that drove Mölsä to create his own songs. What would soon follow is a new project with contributions from Hokkanen for writing and lyrics. Soon after, Mölsä shared his demos with drummer Samuli Mikkonen (Korpiklaani), who, after listening, joined the project and performed all the drums on the debut record.”
Mölsä also described himself as a perfectionist, taking some time to trim the 20msongs that he had written down to the 10 on this album.
Right. Let’s see what’s forthcoming.
Opening with an ominous, gothic tone, a sudden bass boom then lent an air of expectation. When the full noise came, it was like The White Wall in The Game of Thrones – massive, unmistakable and awe inspiring. The sound immediately provoked uncontrollable head nodding on my part – not head banging – but a slow, appreciate surrendering to the sound. Samples were used to add a dystopic air and the sound was expansive in nature.
The vocals were at the higher end of the scale, but were metal appropriate. However, these soon took on a much more menacing air – Mölsä proved that he has a range of vocal weapons in his arsenal. The vocals were unhurried in nature and clear as fine crystal (that could stab you).
This track had a progression of sound that was well concocted and it thumped all the way to the end.
“They’re the Ones to Fall”
An alternating use of balance with the opening guitar was somewhat unsettling, but in a good way. This was soon followed by another chugging riff and some clever guitars layered underneath. The track soon calmed again and the vocals reminded me of Richard from Rammstein’s vocal tones and signatures.
A robust bass line was used before things fell away again. But, this lulled me into a false sense of security, because a demonic shift in vocal quality thundered in. Even more unsettling, the clean vocals and the demon joined in harmony! Excellent!
“Hold Out Hope”
Twin acoustic guitars held out with evocative and emotional counterpoints. But, I was holding out for the explosion. 45 seconds in, the acoustics remained, but against a stronger backdrop. It was compelling in nature, but it had a folk feel.
Clever writing was used and I particularly appreciated the lyric of, “The fire still burns in my heart, even though life will tear us apart.”
The calmness continued throughout the track, even though it got louder and got more intense. Mölsä’s vocals again showed impressive range, soaring rapturously. Inevitably, the guitars arrived to flex their muscles. A fast and tasty solo followed, before the track exited to the sounds of the acoustic guitars.
“All of the Above”
This track returned to the furious pace of some of those above. The vocals took on a whole new sound and I assume that this was a female vocalist. Paired with a wickedly fuzzy bass line, the effect was superb. Later in the track the bass line again featured, reverberating though the guitars and percussion – a welcome shift in sound.
But then, growling vocals crept in, along with monk-like wailing, allowing for some amazing harmonies.
Resonating acoustic guitars were delivered from the beginning. This track was simple in nature, but deep in meaning. The themes included death and decay and the intense percussive elements were subtly tribal.
It then shifted to a plaintive tone, both in the newly introduced electric guitar and vocals. It was quite stunning, particularly as its restrained intensity further developed.
This track had plenty to give, with its stripped back, syncopated vocals and insect-like instrumental opening. I sensed a change coming…
One minute in a double kick drumming bonanza kicked in, accompanied by harsh vocals and rollicking guitars. It then kicked back a little, with the instrumental break having a calmer character, before things kicked back up to the intense nature showcased earlier in the track.
I felt as if a heartbeat opened this track, joined by an acoustic guitar, to give another feeling again.
Another female voice joined the mischief. It was soulful and beautiful, before Mölsä appeared, the vocals nicely matched. Their voices danced as Torvill and Dean ice danced. Yes, I’m that old…
This track was soulful and sad, filled with uncertainty and regret, listless and reflective in nature. Considered use of echoing percussion added to the power of this track.
“The Wild One”
I was expecting this one to be wild! Nup.
Twin acoustic guitars opened with a pretty interplay of sound. But, where’d the metal go…?
It was clear and clever, with simple elements that worked well together. Strings strengthened the emotional impact of the reflective nature of this track. This was further augmented by some odd instruments and tempos in the middle.
It was as is if someone had been in love with The Wild One and was looking back on this relationship, still in love, but somewhat torn.
“Scars on Me”
This track punched open with extremely catchy riffs and the distortion was occasionally let ring out, adding much to the flavour. Metal made a welcome return.
But… a sinister theme lurked just below the surface… like in the lyric, “I chose my scars for you…”
Some off-putting vocal mixing was followed by a dramatic tempo change, if case you didn’t already have whiplash… Not likely!
Memories? Remember the theme song from the Flash Gordon movie? “Flash! Aaa-aah!” The opening of this track was like that – retro keyboard, pulsating and resonating.
The vocals were again unhurried and tidy in nature. Choir-like accompaniments added to the auditory texture. A clever aspect was the way that the vocals aligned with the syncopated rhythm. Intricate acoustic guitars further enriched the poignant tones, which was the way that this track brought the album to an end.
So, what’s the verdict?
As a listening experience, there was much to like about this record. The engineering was quite simply brilliant, with the balancing, mixing and dynamics near faultless. The writing was very clever, with the rhythm and cadence often belying heavier subject matter. The lyrics were also exceedingly well done, with eloquent turns of phrase effortlessly inspiring a range of emotions – like love, regret, loneliness, and being haunted. The musicianship was also excellent, with the guitar work driving one moment and soulful the next. Mölsä’s vocals, as stated above, had a broad spectrum and were delivered with passion.
So, why don’t I LOVE it?
The metal sections are fabulous. The slower and emotional tracks are brilliant. But, it’s like this record is bipolar – the two styles are too far apart. A bit more coherence and consistency, whilst still retaining points of difference, would have made this album easier for me to digest.
That said, it’s good. I’ll spin it again.