When I pressed play to check out MEDICATED’s album, “Descension,” my initial impression was of pure power. From the first second, the five-piece band from Helsinki makes it clear that they won’t take any prisoners… and they don’t, for the next 53 minutes. Their music is best described as modern metal with death and thrash influences, combining clean and screamed vocals, versatile rhythms, and fast guitar work. After having published three EPs since their formation in 2005, the debut album (self-released on 17 June 2020) is the next important step, and it’s an impressive one.
The cover artwork, album, and song titles suggest that this won’t be a lovely Sunday walk. The graphic is gloomy, mainly kept in black and brown, showing a mysterious character that resembles a plague doctor with long beaked mask and claws. The cape, hat, and glasses intensify this feeling. There is only one light in the dark, shining in the lantern.
Let’s talk about the music then. The first track, “Fallen One,” demonstrates the band’s energetic style from the beginning and gives a great impression of what to expect from “Descension.” Fans of blast-beats will be satisfied by the powerful drumming as the pace is high, but fortunately without becoming too monotone thanks to the rhythm changes in between. The hard-hitting bass is dominant and builds a strong unit with the drums. Together, they push the songs forward in the best thrash manner. The two guitar players bring in mainly aggressive, sometimes melodic riffs, as well as fast solos here and there. The vocals are very expressive – the mix of angry, clean singing and growls fits the message of the songs perfectly, as they are mainly about struggling.
The next songs are in the same heavy style, with a few variations here and there. There are different breaks and little changes in pace; “Recitation,” for example, has a kind of 90s vibe during the refrain, but overall. there is only one direction – straight forward. With “Heaven in Shadows,” they get more melodic, even catchy with the chorus, but the riffs remain heavy.
After the first tracks followed the same formula of angry and energetic, the change of pace during “I Will Fall” came at a good time. The anger and energy are still there, but the mood is darker because of the reduced speed.
“Deliverance” is a song with a guarantee of headbanging and full thrash power – definitely one of my highlights. The following “End of Lifeline” starts in the same mode but turns into a more symphonic style after two minutes. The end of this song is epic and could easily be used as a soundtrack for a movie showdown.
“I Rise” is the shortest song on the album at just over two and a half minutes of playtime, but is no less powerful and contains some great guitar work. “My Descent” becomes the great finale and they once more bring all ingredients together that make “Descension” a great listen.
Altogether, MEDICATED have released a very impressive debut album. The great production creates a mind-blowing sound and supports all musicians’ ability to shine with their high technical skills. The powerful music fits well together with the lyrical themes and singer Aleksi Sihvonen brings in the needed emotions with his expressive vocals. The occasional use of symphonic elements makes the listening experience even more interesting. After having played “Descension” many times, I still can confirm the first impression: this album is pure power. Crank it up!
Written by Katha
- Fallen One
- Heaven in Shadows
- I Will Fall
- End of Lifeline
- Next in Line
- 10.I Rise
- 11.Chains of Gone
- 12.My Descent
Aleksi Sihvonen – Vocals
Samuli Hyttinen – Guitars
Dani Nuutinen – Guitars
Jani Kinnunen – Bass
Pertti Pätsi – Drums