Sometimes albums slide under one’s radar for a variety of reasons. “Fortnight to Fall,” the instrumental solo album by EMBER FALLS‘ bassist, Olli Heino, was released already back in 2015 on Bandcamp and YouTube, but has yet to see the light of day in streaming. As of August 27th, 2021, this delightful progressive work is available through Spotify and other streaming services, so it seemed like a great time to check it out.
The album clocks in at just under 40 minutes in length and provides the listeners with some really fun music. The first two tracks are the shortest, with “Intro” working to tease the album with its deceptively slow, acoustic sound. “Of All That is Left” continues by laying out a strong musical foundation for Heino to have some fun with his guitar overtop. This works well to tease what the listener should expect going forward.
The songs jump up in length once they reach the title track, which has a heavy progressive energy thanks to the strong lead guitar melody and the progressive backing instruments that have a very DREAM THEATER vibe, yet with a unique sound. Midway through, for example, it takes an almost horror-like turn, while it teases some nice piano around the three-quarter point, and finishes on a more ominous note. The song proves to be quite an adventure and deserves a bit of time and repetition to digest, but you’ll have fun listening each time. This goes smoothly into “A Sinister Design,” whose name describes it far better than I could. The main guitar melody again takes the lead on top of an ever-changing and evolving backdrop of music, which takes some turns away from that sinister feel, but never abandons it completely. “Contamination” changes things up with its unusual intro, which then takes a gentler turn for a while before the metal instruments come in – largely keyboard-led this time around – and shake things up and bring in the energy. “Fractures of Vision” gets a little longer once again, opening on a chaotic djenty note and has a lot of sweet, sweet riff wankery.
The album then wraps up with something between the song from Rainbow Road in Mario Kart with some sort of glorious semi-industrial progressive heavy metal. When I say industrial, I don’t necessarily means that it sounds like industrial metal, but more than it has an industrial vibe, much like AYREON‘s “01011001” often has (also, speaking of Arjen Lucassen, does this album’s artwork not feel a bit like “Into the Electric Castle“?). It’s hard to find the words to describe, but much like the wild and crazy adventures of that particular road in the game, this song revisits nearly all the sounds that “Fortnight to Fall” has already shared, with a few other treats snuck in there for good measure.
Ultimately, this is a nice little instrumental album, perhaps a bit heavy for those who aren’t hugely into prog, but otherwise well worthy of its place on your list of instrumentals that need to be returned to once in a while.
- Of All That Is Left
- Fortnight to Fall
- A Sinister Design
- Fractures of Vision
- In Colours I Dream