Napalm Records nowadays is home to another gem in the Finnish metal machine: melodic death metal unit BRYMIR. Formed in 2006, the band has become a true staple of the Helsinki metal scene and now get to present their music to a bigger metal audience with their new album, “Voices in the Sky,” to be released on August 26th, 2022. The question is, whether the world is ready for their fourth album – let’s find out!
“Voices in the Sky” starts off with its title track, with a beautiful guitar intro that already showcases a perfect example of the many folky melodies that the band intersperses in their extremer sound; nothing is really off the table with BRYMIR. A few of their music’s key elements are all present in this song, from epic choirs to tasteful guitar solos, making this not only a good song to open the record, but also an excellent introduction for a new listener.
The record then takes a turn into the extreme with “Forged in War,” which showcases the insanity of drummer Patrik Fält – which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you find out he’s also behind the drum kit in FEASTEM. While this track is definitely intense, it does have some beautiful choirs in the chorus. The album then continues with “Fly With Me,” which was surprising in many ways because of the slight metalcore influences. Despite having some similarities with that subgenre, the track is still pretty much BRYMIR and offers some interesting diversity to the album. Breakdowns aside, this track definitely is an earworm and is also – for BRYMIR – the most radio-friendly track of them all. The ending is a perfect showcase of the brilliance behind this album’s production, as it smoothly transitions into the next track, “Herald of Aegir,” which coincidentally is perhaps my favorite track off this record and a mythology-adorned stance against the pollution of our oceans. Perhaps the most epic track in history about fish?
The band then moves on to “The Rift Between Us,” which starts off with mellow guitar melodies and continues into the mid-tempo realm – a fine breather between the many intense tracks. The verses are fairly minimal with synths, creating a dynamic atmosphere. Continuing with “Landfall,” the band introduces a grand track with a heroic guitar sound. Another definite highlight on this record is the epic “Borderland”; while working on this track, the war in Ukraine started and thus, the BRYMIR included the poem “My Testament” by renowned Ukrainian poet Taras Schevchenko. This somehow added an extra layer to the song that is so, so powerful and is perhaps one of the strongest moments on the entire record.
Those who have been following BRYMIR‘s journey for a while now, know that guitarist Joona Björkroth can’t always make it to every show, as he also plays in BATTLE BEAST. The band, therefore, have live guitarist Antti Nieminen (IA) filling in for him once in a while. While he has apparently appeared on albums in choirs mostly, he gets to really shine in “Far Away From Home,” with ethereal clean vocals. The ending of the record approaches with the heavy blasting “Seeds of Downfall,” one of the heavier tracks off the record, with epic blast-beasts. It works well in combination with the last track, “All As One,” which starts with a beautiful atmospheric intro with chill-inducing guitar melodies. It’s the longest track from the record and is by far the most epic. The album also includes a bonus track, a cover of DARK FUNERAL‘s “Diabolis Interium.” I can’t say much more than having BRYMIR cover such an evil-sounding song is nothing short of an impressive-yet-intense ending to the record.
Personally, my expectations for “Voices in the Sky” were almost immeasurable, as “Wings of Fire” was one of my favorite records of 2019. Whenever I enjoy an album that much, I always get a bit scared that its successor won’t be as good. Clearly, there was nothing to worry about. In essence, the biggest difference between both is that “Voices in the Sky” takes a step back from all the bombastic orchestrations and focuses foremost on the guitar sound. Its heaviest moments are fucking heavy, its folkiest moments are downright folky, yet it never strays too far away from their sound; a brilliant illustration of why this band deserves to conquer the world.
1. Voices in the Sky
2. Forged in War
3. Fly with Me
4. Herald of Aegir
5. Rift Between Us
8. Far from Home
9. Seeds of Downfall
10. All as One
11. Diabolis Interium (Bonus)
Viktor Gullichsen – Vocals
Joona Björkroth – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Sean Haslam – Guitars
Jarkko Niemi – Bass, Backing vocals
Patrik Fält – Drums