Melodic death metal has been one of the most quickly evolving subgenres of metal in recent years, with the sound ranging from brutal and fast such as THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER to, of course, the Göteborg scene in which the bands each found ways to reinvent the sound, and the edgy Finnish scene represented by bands such as CHILDREN OF BODOM and NORTHER. With their new album, “Ignis Aeternum,” the southern Finns RE-ARMED present their take on the sound with the release that came out via Black Lion Records on 29 May 2020.
The band will be celebrating their 20th anniversary next year, yet they’ve only released four albums in that time, with the previous “The Era of Precarity” coming out in 2016. RE-ARMED has already shown a tendency to move from their thrashy death metal roots to a melodeath sound, which they’ve taken to the next level with “Ignis Aeternum.” The release focuses on cinematic symphonic parts that complement the fairly classic Finnish melodeath sound.
The sound on the album is rather linear and doesn’t stray much from the strong guitar-driven tempo it sets out on from the first second. However, the first song, “Dive Within,” has a very lovely ending in the form of a stanza taken from Eino Leino‘s poem, “Hymni Tulelle.” “Ignis Aeternum” is very much a modern melodeath album and manages to incorporate many symphonic elements into what could otherwise be a record that would risk sounding very similar from song to song.
The vocals are one of the better components of the album and are very varied, which ensures that they never get boring. The band’s main vocalist, Jouni Matilainen, provides harsh vocals, which are expertly delivered and give the songs strong energy. The style is reminiscent of other Finnish melodeath bands as the growls are not especially deep, but also not edgy and high like in some earlier CHILDREN OF BODOM work. The band sprinkles in clean vocals as well, another clear indicator of their new musical style and the direction in which they’re taking their.
Symphonically, the album offers quite a few very interesting bits, such as at the start of “Words Left Unsaid.” I do wish, however, that they would elongate such parts and provide more of an intro or perhaps an interlude in their songs and make it overall more progressive. While the album is fairly strong throughout, it lacks certain catchy hooks, thus making it quite unmemorable. It’s something to enjoy while it’s playing, but I imagine many listeners will find it seldom comes back into their minds.
RE-ARMED definitely shows promise with this release and would it have come a decade prior, they might have been a big name in the scene by now. Although the album’s sound doesn’t differ much from one song to another, the band manages to keep it fresh and enjoyable and I hope they continue to develop their sound in this manner, as I believe there’s just a step or two missing from this being a really great release – namely the lack of stand-out tracks. “Ignis Aeternum” is therefore a pleasant surprise from the very saturated Finnish metal scene from a band that likely has a fruitful future ahead of them.
Written by Didrik Mešiček
1. Dive Within
2. Beyond The Horizon
3. Ode to Life
4. Eager to Collapse
6. The Hollow Lights
7. Remain Unbounded
8. Words Left Unsaid
10. Built to Last
Iiro Karjalainen – drums
Oskari Niekka – guitars, vocals (backing)
Juhana Heinonen – bass, vocals (backing)
Jouni Matilainen – vocals
Allan Välimaa – guitars
Black Lion records