Have you seen the true Sakura omen? Whispered did and they're back with their new album "Metsutan - Songs of the Void"! Once again they’ve managed to make a great and solid album, that I'm sure will satisfy all fans.
One can immediately tell that every element of this album and their place have been very well thought about. The songs go very smoothly one after the other, it is almost like the album is one continuous song, or should I say story? Metsutan makes me think of a Kabuki play, with different stages and scenes, with different paces and faces and all of this in the same atmosphere, dark and mysterious.
Chi No Odori sets the scene and its story: one can clearly hear that this album is going to be very intricate and powerful. This introduction works perfectly as a transition from our world to the world and vision of Whispered. The curtain then falls and the play starts with Strike!. The title is very well chosen. This song is a punch in the face, a wake up call to tell that Whispered is back and means business. Exile Of The Floating World is even faster and heavier, filled with insanity and darkness. Its little instrumental pauses are a nice way to intensify the heaviness of other parts.
The stage revolves and a whole new decor is set for Sakura Omen. The variety of riffs, instruments and speeds in this song is incredible. It is heavy yet the image one can get by listening to this song is very poetic: the cherry trees blossoming and the serenity of a samurai. On this more melodic vibe follows Kensei: it greatly mixes more symphonic parts and heavier parts. Its guitar melody is amazing and the addition of keyboards makes this song very rich.
What I would call Act 2 of this album opens with Our Voice Shall Be Heard. Kind of similar to Strike! only here the vocals and use of synthetic instruments take the song to a new level, both in power and again, insanity. The progressive aspect and epicness of Tsukiakari makes it one of the best songs of the album. You can hear the song building up in intensity as instruments and riffs are thrown in and the final chorus is amazing.
The stage changes again as Warriors Of Yama plays. With this instrumental I imagine our favorite samuraïs on their way to adventure and a great destiny. It would be pretty amazing as a soundtrack. This idea of greatness is to be found in Victory Grounds Nothing. This song sounds less dark than the previous ones. The gang vocals, the choir and keyboards truly add something epic to it. I think I have found my favorite!
Bloodred Shores Of Enoshima ends the album in an explosion of epicness, a mix of very soft sections, choirs, heavy riffs and powerful vocals. A short narrative part tells us about the mythology that inspired this song: The sea used to hide a dragon that would eat little children playing on the shores and thanks to the goddess named Benten, Enoshima island was born from the dragon's hideaway and the dragon found in her a bride. It is a true grand finale for a great album.
Without a single weak track, this new album shows that Whispered leveled up and will once again impose themselves in the metal field. I invite you all to listen to it and let yourself imagine this samuraï kabuki, like I did.
"Metsutan - Songs of the Void" will be out on May 20th 2016!
Facebook : www.facebook.com/whisperedband/
(Review by Elodie)
Allow me to introduce you to the most Japanese of Finnish bands. We've seen bands taking their inspiration in the viking folklore, in various themes and concepts but who would have imagined a Finnish band with katanas and samurai outfits? Well, Whispered is a reality and what a great example of how two different styles and cultures can be mixed and turned into something truly unique.
Jouni Valjakka - vocals / guitars
Mikko Mattila - guitars
Kai Palo - vocals / bass
Jussi Kallava - drums
Purists would classify Whispered's music into the melodic death metal genre, connoisseurs would suggest power metal with the influence of eastern folklore. I do think the term "samurai metal" suits this band perfectly. Active since 2001, first as "Zealot" then as "Whispered", the band have released two albums to this day, Thousand Swords (2010) followed by Shogunate Macabre (2014) and a single, Sakura Omen (2015).
Whispered's songs and imagery are infused with the Japanese folklore. They do not appear to come from Tampere but from the 14th century Japan: Samurai attire, katanas and face paint... They are warriors! In addition of the heavy riffs, agressive drums and growling vocals that make the basics of death metal, the band have thrown in several traditional Japanese instruments like the Koto and the Shamisen. The mix might seem a bit strange but Whispered have managed to compose epic songs in which these instruments are all well balanced, between the soft melodies of a traditional Japanese instrumental and the powerful tones of the heavy metal subgenre.
Let's take a closer look at their lyrics: very well written with, as you may have guessed, a bit of Japanese. They are heavily inspired by the legends and the past of Japan. Multiple references to the Bushido, the way of the warrior, can be found: mentions to the honor of the samurai, loyalty and martials arts just to say a few. The song Thousand Swords for example, tells about a warrior monk named Oniwaka (Benkei), who's an example of loyalty and strength and also a popular character in the Japanese folklore. Some lyrics are more arranged around spirituality and myths: Kappa and Jikininki depict the fear these evil deity and spirit inspire to the population and Fallen Amaterasu tells the story of Amaterasu O mi Kami, an important deity of the Shinto faith, who caused the world to fall into chaos after the offenses committed by her sibling.
With their passion for music and for the Japanese folklore, Whispered deliver impressive and epic songs and leave us blown away. Even if they come from Finland, they show and honour the Japanese culture wonderfully. Whispered is a delight for the eyes and the ears. Stay tuned for their third album, coming soon!
Facebook : www.facebook.com/whisperedband/
(Review by Elodie)