When Finnish melodic death metal act MYGRAIN decided to call it quits in 2015, who would have ever thought of them resurrecting the band in 2018? In fall 2018, the band released an EP, “III,” independently. While they claimed that they would only come back for the EP and a couple of shows, here we are, 2 years later, with a brand new studio effort, “V,” which also sees the departure of keyboardist Eve Kojo. Reason more to dive into the album and see what this new MYGRAIN sounds like.
Starting off with some atmospheric keyboards and pulsing rhythm, driving the track into the next gear, “The Nightmare” shows a mild start until it plummets into one of the more impressive and heaviest tracks of this album. With incredible rhythmic heavy riffs and dramatic keyboard melodies, the track impresses. Not only is the instrumental section on point, singer Tommy Tuovinen shows a different side of his vocals, introducing higher screams in the mix, making the track all the more impressive and offering a high-on-energy beginning. Yes, MYGRAIN‘s comeback effort goes straight into 6th gear.
“Out of this Life” continues with dark riffs filled with triplets, of course, reminiscent of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD‘s style. Melodic elements are introduced right away and from there on, it turns into a more classic melodic death metal track, keeping the spirits high on this album. The chorus is one of the catchier ones they have to offer. “Summoned Duality” keeps the tempo up, with some more straightforward riffs and melodies, this track will certainly please the listener and, of course, who wouldn’t be happy with a slower, melodic guitar solo?
I was fully knocked off my feet by the beginning of “The Way of the Flesh,” which initially felt more like a brutal death metal beginning. While the intro is relatively short, the tempo is kept up high during the track and perhaps the most impressive musicianship is the drumming. With a perfect melodic chorus, this track is also a stand-out song on this album. After such a splurge of energy, “Haunting Hearts” comes as a welcome intermezzo between all the heavy tracks. The power ballad-like song, with a slight IN FLAMES atmosphere, certainly follows in stark contrast with the aforementioned aggressive track, but it somewhat enhances the fact that this album is incredibly diverse.
“The Calling” feels like a classic MYGRAIN track, with otherworldly keyboard melodies and riffs that are out of this world. The track has a lot more clean vocals in the verses, showcasing singer Tommy Tuovinen‘s deep timbre. The track feels somewhat like the most progressive on the album – here and there time signature changes are intertwined in the song. “Game of Gods” starts off with impressive keyboard melodies. Again the band surprises with a more progressive section midway through, with an incredible tempo change that provides the track with a little bit more intensity. “Stars Fading Black” starts with atmospheric keyboards, slow, but creating a bit of a mystical vibe. Soon the tempo picks up and the drums start a beautiful crescendo, to then blend in beautifully with guitars and bass. Surprisingly, the track is a little bit reminiscent of the blazing desert metal act MYRATH, with a subtle oriental vibe at times.
“Fathomless Freefall,” the penultimate track of the album, doesn’t shy away from blast-beats, but the most memorable about this track is perhaps the fast section midway through that breaks with the rest of the style with the song. Again, progressive in nature, the band succeeds in tying up different parts like this together as if it’s not big deal, which creates intriguing, surprising, and refreshing songs again and again. The album ends with an epic, “Waves of Doom,” clocking in at a little bit over 13 minutes. The track is perhaps the longest track in MYGRAIN‘s history and at the same time also showcases the band’s beautiful songwriting. The guitar section in the beginning of the track is downright beautiful, causing goosebumps upon listening every time; the track then falls into an abyss of incredible heaviness, with almost black metal-like riffs, pushing the track further and further. Around 5 minutes, the attention is pushed towards the drums, with even a short solo, after which the guitars steal the show with also an incredible solo moment. This is where it gets more complex, a merely instrumental, atmospheric section is introduced where the band shows that you don’t need much to create a chill-inducing atmosphere. The track picks up speed and intensity again and leaves you to linger at the end of it all, wanting more of where that came from.
All-in-all, MYGRAIN‘s fifth studio effort leaves no room for improvement. The album is a solid slab of melodic death metal, of which its strength lies mostly in the incredible diversity of this album and the progressive nature of many of the songs. There are plenty of hooks present that instantly stick and make you crave for more. While the keyboards on this album perhaps are provided by Mr. AI, they add a different kind of spice to the many flavors present on this album. While the keyboards are perhaps a bit louder in the mix than the guitars, the album is mainly guitar-driven with heavy riffs that have an in-your-face attitude. The production is well-balanced, elevating the album to a different level and altogether from the well-executed keyboards and the heavy guitar riffs to the diverse and impressive vocal delivery, this album might just be one of the best melodic death metal releases of 2020.
- The Nightmare
- Out of this Life
- Summoned Duality
- The Way of the Flesh
- Haunted Hearts
- The Calling
- Game of Gods
- Stars Fading Black
- Fathomless Freefall
- Waves of Doom
Tuomas “Tommy” Tuovinen – vocals
Teemu Ylämäki – lead guitar
Joni Lahdenkauppi – guitar
Jonas Kuhlberg – bass
Janne Mikael Manninen – drums
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