Inthraced - The New Awakening (EP) (2013)


When a band bills themselves as being the next big thing, chances are they are far from it. If they are doing something outside of the box, and feel the need to advertise it, there is a good chance they aren't good enough to make an impression. The great bands, new and old, let their music do the talking for them. So not knowing the name Inthraced isn't a bad thing, or even an indication you are disconnected from the metal underground; you just haven't heard them yet. This melodic death metal, black metal hybrid from Finland are not going to redefine what extreme metal means to you. At least not on their first EP. But what they can do is bend your perception of what makes music like this "extreme" in its own right. On three songs, with each track standing just over five minutes, this four piece gives you a lot more than you money's worth, both in music and thought. As a result, "The New Awakening" might be the start of a beautiful relationship between you, and a very extreme friend.

There is no room for expansive, airy intros here. While that might work for other bands, Inthraced jump directly into the fray on "Starlight." With a backing instrumental that seamlessly combines black, thrash and death metal tenets, this is a full speed ahead sort of opening. Lead guitarist and vocalist Tommi Takkunen is as dynamic a frontman as you'll find in extreme metal, laying down layers of heavy distortion and chilling growls. But with an attack this forward and relentless, they push the limits of even the most skilled engineer. Luckily, the mix is up to the task, roping in all of the elements and keeping them in impeccable order. Even "Origin Of Life," which boasts some of the most insane percussion work of the year, sounds crisp in every facet. The melodic leads, which are sometimes positioned further back in the mix, are so intricately detailed that they might not be dissected easily on first listen. The rhythm section of bassist Veikko Eronen and drummer Antti Ikonen do so much of the heavy lifting, allowing for the riffs to stay far ahead of the main mix. Takkunen vocal prowess is easily detected, as he moves back and forth between bone chilling growls and blood curdling screams. By no means would you expect a light piano outro to take you by the hand into the title track, "The New Awakening." But defying expectation is what this band does best, bludgeoning you with brutal riffage and yet somehow fostering memorable leads at the same time. The way the thirty second piano interlude flows back into the body of the piece is incredible, and shows the great creative control the band has over their sound.

In the world of extreme metal, there are an awful lot of pretenders, trying to pass themselves off as the new wave of visionaries. More often than not, though, they are merely one dimensional acts, doing the same old thing in hopes of hitting the big time. Inthraced have distanced themselves from the masses with this EP, showing that they can not only roll over anything that stands in their way, but they can color outside the lines when the time is right. The carefully placed piano segments, when sandwiched between heavier elements, stand out an shine so brightly, that it seems natural for them. The latter part is the key; it wasn't a contrived afterthought. The placement and execution are all the evidence you need to see that this isn't a one off offering before they join the pack of sheep. They've got too much talent, too much forward thinking ability, and too much to lose by just following. Inthraced are destined to be leaders. Maybe that's what they meant with "The New Awakening."

9/10

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Inthraced
Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/inthraced