Pressure Points - _Remorses to Remember_
(Firebox, 2010)
by: Mark Dolson (6 out of 10)
Here we have another release from Firebox Records of Finland. I really like some of the bands signed to this label, such as Ablaze in Hatred, Fall of the Leafe, and the first few Swallow the Sun releases, but I'm having a little trouble getting into Pressure Points' _Remorses to Remember_. Perhaps it's because they are a very young band, and they still need time to mature and find -- if they're so lucky -- their own unique sound. As such, after many spins of the CD, I can only say that this is a pretty sophomoric release; so let me take a moment to tell you why.

I would label this band as progressive death metal with rock influences from the '70s and '80s. Actually, Pressure Points sound very similar to early Disillusion (_Back to Times of Splendor_), later Insomnium (_Across the Dark_), Opeth (all albums), and mid-era Novembre (_Classica_). As such, Pressure Points employ that fairly formulaic approach to musical arrangement used, for the most part, by the aforementioned bands: we've got everything from fast, brutal parts, buttressed by a fairly one-dimensional sounding, low growl. These sections then cede their seemingly forced fury to much calmer, more anodyne fluxes -- assisted as they are by clean, mellow vocals. Then we come full circle again when the these aforesaid parts lead into groovy, more technical arrangements (with synth / Hammond organ interplay); which then segue into brutal parts again. I think you're probably familiar with the formula.

I think this particular approach to death metal is really hit or miss, and thus there are only a few bands who can really pull it off. I loved what Opeth did on their first three albums (inasmuch as I got too used to their formula, and so, call me crazy, but I really don't like anything after _Still Life_); and I really enjoy listening to pretty much all of Novembre's albums (save their last two efforts).

Now with Pressure Points, I feel that they are a very capable band indeed, displaying some excellent musicianship, and some fairly interesting ideas; however, there's just something missing here. Maybe it's just plain feeling or emotion? The first song, "Atonement", has its moments: right around the 5:00 mark, it sounds fairly reminiscent of "My Starving Bambina" by Novembre (not the vocals at all, but something about the guitar). Unfortunately, the rest of the album -- across its fairly long 53 minutes -- falls rather flat.

Perhaps the biggest letdown about this CD is the clean vocals. After a few spins I kept thinking that they sounded very similar to another Finnish band, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then, last night it hit me: Lars Eikind, especially on Dawn of Solace's _The Darkness_ album. Insofar as I thought Mr. Eikind's vocal style was pretty original (this fellow also sings for Winds, Age of Silence, Before the Dawn, among others), it was strange to hear Pressure Points' vocalist, Kari Olli, employing almost the same style -- mind you, in somewhat of a more ersatz form, as Kari's croon needs a little more maturity and development (the pitch seems off in a few parts).

For a debut, _Remorses to Remember_ is a nice effort, but sadly it's just average. Perhaps with some time, they'll grow to develop into something more original and unique. If you are a fan of bands like Opeth, Disillusion, Insomnium, Novembre, Dawn of Solace, and maybe Black Sun Aeon and Before the Dawn, too, then definitely give Pressure Points a chance.


(article published 27/1/2010)

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