A reason to go to Finland?

-- Dead End Finland --

David Hardy

Album genres:
Melodic Metal
Electro melodic metal
Album artists:
Mikko Virtanen Vocals
Santtu Rosén Guitars & Bass
Miska Rajasuo Drums
Jarno Hänninen Keys

Review written by David Hardy.

My first impression...

...was to say to myself " Oh my! It's Rammstein without the fat!" You know the difference in impression you have between eating a good big stuffed sauerkraut covered sausage at an Oberbayern party and eating the same sausage at an IKEA restaurant, thinner, smaller, less raw and less alcoholic. And that's kind of the difference between Rammstein & Dead End Finland in terms of how they present their music.

So, let's not be mistaken, we must not take this statement only negatively so let's put some distance between this first impression and what Dead End Finland is actually bringing to the table. First off because not everyone sounds like Till Lindemann and, in my opinion, Rammstein without Till would be like a caramel custard without caramel: good, but clearly tasteless.

This is not the case here. Let's just say that Dead End Finlands starts from a industrial metal base that at first sounds like a slimmed-down Rammstein but which does allow them to easily stand out by putting forward other qualities. For one, we can clearly feel the Nordic side of the band as well as the 15 years of experience that Dead End Finland has already accumulated along with the fact that this is already their fifth studio album since debuting with "Stain Of Disgrace" in 2011! But let's find out more together below.

Inspection in the rules

"Northern winds": puts us directly in the mood, a little energetic but dark electro beats around the song's edges, powerful clean and harsh vocals that do the job some welcome tempo and melodic changes at the right times. It's an opening song that doesn't bore me, on the contrary, it makes more interested to check out the rest of the album and thus this makes it the right tune to kickoff this full-length. The synth sounds are... what they are (quite 80/90 for some but it matches quite well) What strikes me the most is that I've got the impression that I think I've heard d the voice of Mikko elsewhere while ... not.

The second track "Wounded & bleeding" throws us a big and direct orchestral blast to then leave on more martial feelings. The percussions are really well chosen and provide the necessary glue to this track, well done until the end.
"Heavy Rain" gives me more trouble to properly emvaluate, as it is a track that oscillates between 90's pop, symphonic metal and a growl quite typical of more traditional metal. You add some annoying choirs that don't fit well with the big guitars and you understand my embarrassment.

"Beyond the distance" gives us a little taste of Metallica, but it does have a little too many layers, but this typically the kind of song that can be played on the radio. Not too fat, not too violent, not too quiet,.. which can be listened again without difficulty, of a correct length ... no, frankly, it passes easy !
"In the dark" starts well, ... but is for the moment too radio-friendly for me.
"Kaamos", is the small break instrumentation of the album, well seen and very fashionable, it smells the midi of quality, and remains an instrumentation, inspiring, this, but an instrumentation of two minutes.

My favorite track "Up so high, down so low" the "ballad" of the album. Inspiring, almost Eurovision viable given the theme and the quality of the vocals and orchestration. A success of the genre!
"Dellusion of grandeur", starts with the good old sound of obsolete Synth, ok, but what else does it propose ? Well a bpm around 53 to 106 then 212 (I'm not a specialist), a tone very in the air of time, ... some passage (violins + chorus + ...) a little heavy on the mixings but well, ... it passes. We will note that it is in spite of everything super radiophonic too.

"Born To be reborn" ... directly we feel the Synth sounds of the 90s ... to believe that the guys were marked by that! (A trauma?) The voice of Mikko which starts almost in mode "simple minds" ... (a trauma in the childhood it is on!) ... Here it is the guitars which for me are a little too much in front at certain moments, but nothing of redhibitory. Then, I don't know if it's the sounds or the construction, but, I find that it slips a little too much towards the pop of the years 90-2000, the spoken voice, the synth sounds, the beats, the tone of the sung voice, the sound of the drums at certain moments ... it makes a lot ... but it's not unpleasant, let's just say very disorienting !

"Wrath of god" comes back to a more "normal" tempo in the 126 allowing to have a more human feeling (close to the heart rate) even if the feeling is heavier and deeper, we feel the strength and the testosterone that lack (to my taste) a little in the other tracks. To listen to thoroughly for pleasure to the ears! 

What to think

First of all, as said above, we feel that they have the experience, that the staff around is competent and that they put the means to achieve it. It's a fact and it allows to add, if it was still needed, a brick to reach this little touch that makes you say "Oh yes, ... it's professional!"

So, clearly, yes, we are in the presence of a rather clean band, despite a bit of growl in the background (which tries to add this little bit of testosterone that could be missing) we remain in the mainstream radio as we could play a Metallica (it's good on some radio to play metal to say that they are not too hasbeen)

What I like about them is a bit what I don't like either. 
1: It's airy and quite light and clean, compared to what I was expecting, no heavy stuff and taking in the guts, BUT, on the contrary, it gives more joy, spirit of motivation, will and does not fall into the heavy and repetitive. Personally, I still miss a little bit of testosterone, a little bit of fat. Maybe a more present and inspired bass guitar playing.
2 : It is complex, sometimes too much! We feel the musicians behind who are probably a little too perfectionist and who complexify sometimes a little too much, which must give a lot of trouble to the sound engineer behind as on "Delusion of grandeur" where the Synthé fights to exist because it wants to say things all the time but that the title and the layers do not leave him any place so many interesting things to place. It shows a real desire and participation of all in the same direction, but ... it puts a little confusion in the subject sometimes.
3 : The accents between Metallica and Ramstein are quite varied, which makes it hard to get out of this box and compare. It's a pity because they bear comparison but in their own style which is neither one nor the other! 
4 : A (too) well done production ! I know, I often bitch about the production and, for once, you'll call me names, I complain (again) about a production but this time I find it great! How can you complain about something well done? Simply, by being this type of asshole who also likes a little "controlled imperfection". You know that little bit of madness that often messes up everything but sometimes makes the difference! Here, it's just about top! Nothing to say, especially because I feel the band always wants to add more to make it even better ... In fact I applaud internally because with so many musicians tapping in a certain range of frequencies, it must have been super hot to please everyone and ... if I was honest, I should just say bravo and shut the fuck up! ... But I'm not here to be nice! :) 

In the end an album that deserves to be really played on the radio ! But REALLY ! Because, for once, it is really possible, and would change the great standards so much (too much) heard. 

For the radio programmers, I advise you : " Heavy Rain " ; " Beyond the distance " and " Dellusion of grandeur ".
For the others : " Dellusion of grandeur " " Wrath of god " and " Northern winds ".

Score: 8,2/10

PS: A little personal message to the band members, and as I can see they like to move flycases in the steppe, I have a huge flycase lying around in my dining room to put at the end of the garden, ... if they get bored it's with pleasure that I let them this enjoyment :D