Publishing new music in December is certainly a venture – unfortunately, these releases tend to be overlooked because of all the end-of-year activities. Finnish modern metal band EXTERNAL picked December 30th, 2020, for their EP “Stillness” (released via Inverse Records), but in this case it seems to round up a project that started in the uncertainty of spring 2020. While the band were originally supposed to work on their second album back then, the sudden lockdown time brought five songs to life that are quite different from what the quartet had done before. Four tracks have been released as singles since September, each with an own beautiful painting by Teemu Mikaél, and the final song, “Motion in Stillness,” pieces together the entire puzzle, so the EP unites them all at the end of the year.
The music on “Stillness” sometimes reminds me of Australian prog act VOYAGER because of the soundscapes. There’s a certain melancholy in the songs, with the warm vocals of Aleksi Haukkaluoma leading through them. Even tough EXTERNAL is a modern metal band, this is not a metal release (and doesn’t want to be), drifting more into a experimental prog direction. The use of different instruments and sounds brings it a nice diversity, but nevertheless, you can find some heavy guitar work on it as well, in songs like “Hunting Butterflies.”
“Motion in Stillness” is the thematic centerpiece and the strongest song here. It comes with an accompanying video, representing the core and soul of the music that was created in isolation. The song embraces people’s ability to find beauty in smaller things and sources of light in the darkness, even (and especially) during weird times like these.
All-together, EXTERNAL’s EP catches the emotions between emptiness and hope in an interesting way, and the video for “Motion in Stillness” makes this even more obvious. What I like most are the beautiful piano parts and the varied rhythms. The electronic additions are too squeaky sometimes, though the modern beats fit well to the music. As the music on “Stillness” is different in style from their usual output, I’m curious whether EXTERNAL will bring in these elements into their next effort too.
Written by Katha
- Feet Don’t Fail
2. Against the Wind
3. Motion in Stillness
4. Hunting Butterflies
Julius Lehtonen – drums, programming, FX guitar
Samuel Järvinen – bass guitar, synth bass, ukulele bass, programming
Roger Lundberg – guitar, sound design