One could argue that Finnish metalcore band, BALANCE BREACH, have kicked off their career in style by winning the band competition at the biggest Nordic festival, Tuska Open Air, in 2019. After such an acknowledgment, the band had more wind in their collective sails to work on their debut album, “Dead End Diaries,” which will be out on 3 July, via Out Of Line Music.
Following in the footsteps of such acts like ARCHITECTS, “Dead End Diaries” offers ten tracks of well-crafted, full-fledged metalcore delight for the listeners to enjoy during its 40 minute run time. In fact, the album has great playability as the melodies flow so beautifully together that it actually feels shorter than that. The major strength of the album lies in how varied the songs are, as some are more melodic and anthemic (“Aurora”) while others are just straight-up angry and in-your-face (“Most of This”). One thing that is intriguing here is the guitar/vocals interplay, meaning that when the guitars are heavy, the vocals are melodic and clean and vice-versa – when there’s a considerable amount of aggression coming from the vocal delivery, the guitars add melody to the music. In this sense, there is always a balance in the sound and tracks such as “The Wolves Are Out” highlight this aspect perfectly. The sparse keyboard/electronic overlays add atmosphere to the music and makes it more complex and textured, as in the intros to “November” and “Dead End Diaries.”
The album starts off on an energetic note with “Most of This,” a fast-paced, angry, but also quite melodic track, which sets not only a great mood to the album but also a nice momentum. The riffs are catchy and the melodies are ideal for headbanging. “Double Down” continues on the same path, but with some industrial vibes to it, which add an extra layer of darkness to the track and make it even more menacing. Antti Halonen’s drumming coupled with Aleksi Paasonen’s screams and harsh vocals bring so much energy to the song. As pointed earlier, “The Wolves Are Out” is more on the melodic side as Terho Korhonen and Saku Heimonen‘s guitar attack adds more melody to the music, while the chorus is simple but effective. The title track benefits from some electronic soundscapes and a chorus section that is equal parts heavy and melodic, while still pretty grounded in the Finnish metal aesthetic. Otherwise, the track glides between harsh moments and some more stripped-down sections, with massive drums and rough guitar riffs. “Aurora” feels like the ballad of the album, being sung with mostly clean vocals and again having some interesting keyboard harmonies that give it more depth.
Acting as an interlude, “Mandate” gets things back on track with a wall of sound coming from the combined forces of the drums and guitars, while Aleksi Paasonen’s deep growls are resonant and chilling. “November” is a gloomier piece of music, not just musically, but also lyrically. Released as a promo single, it highlights all the best BALANCE BREACH has to offer to the metal scene – gut-wrenching screams, nifty guitar lines, pounding drums, and above all, a superb sense of melody. Both “Show You the Sun” and “Bad Blood” feature more of Aleksi Paasonen’s beautiful clean vocals, which counterbalance his gritty screams and growls, while the chugging guitars and syncopated drums make the tracks feel more robust and heavy. Rounding things off in style is “Here and Gone,” another number that dances between heavy and mellow passages, leaving the listener with the desire to hear more, and hit the replay button.
The impressive “Dead End Diaries” presents an updated take on metalcore, as BALANCE BREACH has added more sonic layers to the core of the genre and has spiced the songs with technical solos and complex breakdowns, thus creating its own sound. It’s not even funny how fucking talented these guys are, as this is one of the absolute best debut albums I have heard in a long while. Fans of such acts as AVIANA, ADEPT, or ARCHITECTS, but also metalheads worldwide had better get their hands on this album.
Written by Andrea Crow
- Most of This
- Double Down
- The Wolves Are Out
- Dead End Diaries
- Show You the Sun
- Bad Blood
- Here and Gone
Aleksi Paasonen – Vocals
Terho Korhonen – Guitar
Saku Heimonen – Guitar
Antti Halonen – Drums
Joni Härkönen – Bass
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