Enthrope - _Tomorrow's Dead Days_
(Supernova Records, 2010)
by: Mark Dolson (9.5 out of 10)
I'm really impressed with Finland's metal scene lately. Regardless of whether it's black metal, death metal, grindcore, or power metal, quite a few bands from the land of a thousand lakes are producing release after release of extremely high-quality material. All one has to do is turn to Omnium Gatherum's latest effort, _New World Shadows_, or Evemaster's _III_ to get an idea of what I mean. The aforesaid albums are some of the best I've heard in a long, long time; and this means quite a bit coming from a jaded 30-something dude like me who has "heard it all before". Well, luckily I haven't. And, with Enthrope's latest release, _Tomorrow's Dead Days_, comes yet another absolutely amazing progressive and atmospheric dark metal release from one of Finland's best kept secrets.

Coming from Espoo, in the far south of Finland, Enthrope have released two demos (_Universe Mute_ and _Silenced Earth_ in 2007 and 2008 respectively) and a single called _Moonchain's Decscent_, which included a song of the same named featured on their debut, _Tomorrow's Dead Days_. From what I gather from some of the band member's previous outfits, these guys have been playing metal in one form or another since the early '90s. So there's quite a bit of experience there, and it definitely shows in their composition skills and musicianship.

Here's what comes to mind each time I listen to _Tomorrow's Dead Days_: it's a cold winter night (say sometime in mid-January), and you're just driving around the city aimlessly. There are a few ice-crystals suspended in the still air, and no one is around to brave the cold -- except, maybe, for the odd blurred figure walking slowly to wherever it is they're going. All you see as you round each corner are the dark, dead structures of black and grey buildings, the muted pulses of flashing street-lights, and some steam rising reluctantly from sewer grates. The main point I'm trying to get across here is that _Tomorrow's Dead Days_ is laden with dark, cold and sophisticated atmosphere, which, to me, is strongly evocative of a cold, dark winter night -- it's just amazing.

So, in terms of specifics, what are we dealing with here? Quite simply, I would say that Enthrope play futuristic and atmospheric dark / death metal. _Tomrrow's Dead Days_ is full of catchy, emotive and engaging riffs, a solid rhythm section, occasional beautiful female vocals, and great, relaxed guitar solos -- all of which is set against the backdrop of sweeping, oneiric and subtle keys. The vocals are interesting, too, as they're quite varied throughout the album. They range from a deep, gruff grow, a strained shout, to really unique clean vocals. When listening to Partonen's growls, though, I'm really reminded of Tom from the profoundly underrated Polish band Sirrah. For those interested, just check out their album _Will Tomorrow Come?_ from 1997.

Enthrope sets the pace, generally, at a measured mid-paced stomp; however, they occasionally speed things a little bit up to get their point across -- although this is fairly rare. This is a good thing, though, as thrash or blast-beats wouldn't fit the band's approach to dark / death metal. Things really slow down occasionally with some amazingly dreamy passages marked by female vocals, clean guitars and Enthrope's highly characteristic use of keyboards. And it is the keys that I want to focus on for a moment as they are really subtle and unique in the way they're utilised. While sounding very modern and futuristic, they're not overpowering or in your face like some bands. Actually, to the contrary, they're really nuanced even though they're quite present in the music. And I have to say that each time I listen to this album, I hear something different in the complex way they play off all of the other instruments and vocals.

In terms of the production and mix, things couldn't be more perfect. And, while modern, it doesn't sound too clinical or sterile. Aside from the modern and futuristic approach to the music, there's definitely something "organic" (yeah, yeah, it's a hackneyed metaphor, I know) about the production and mix -- probably because, like many other aspects of the album, they're very subtle, almost calm. Just listen to see what I mean.

Well, to round out this review, all I can say is that if you're a fan of progressive, dark / death metal (maybe we could call this "adult-oriented" death metal, borrowing a phrase from the guitarist of Omnium Gatherum), then make sure to head to the band's website and order yourself a copy of _Tomorrow's Dead Days_. Honestly, Enthrope is up there with some of Finland's greats, and I hope they keep getting better. I cannot wait to hear what these guys have up their sleeves next. Keep up the amazing work, lads.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/enthrope

(article published 28/3/2011)


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