Finnish MyGrain belong to the group of bands who have started to explore the three-way transition zone between melodeath, power metal and speed metal, and the album MyGrain, which was released in January this year, presents a bit of a different take on this emerging melodeath-speed-power-metal genre.
The norm seems to be the application of the chracteristic Gothenburg sound to more pop-oriented rock and metal music, which sometimes work quite well, but often this approach seems to keel over into the sticky seas of cheese. MyGrain do not embrace the Gothenburg sound, but rather seem to take the sound and sensibility from US power metal (and a touch of Euro power metal, too), and combine it with speed metal tempo and thrash metal energy. As a result, the tracks on MyGrain tend to be a tad more aggressive than most other bands who explore the same region of the world of metal music, and this album actually contain a lot of solid thrashy and groovy riffage.
At the same time MyGrain is an incredibly melodic release in that a lot of the guitar riffs are also inherently melodic, and the band use a considerable amount of synths to perform melodic leads and themes (and while I do like the dimension that the synths contribute, I can imagine that a lot of metalheads will find the the synth effects are too poppy at times). Also, the vocals combine angry and harsh, but not exactly growled, vocals in many of the verses with clean vocals in the choruses, which really underlines the melody and catchiness of the choruses. There are also several more mellow breakdowns and quieter passages in many of the songs, a lot of which also contain progressive elements in the form of odd time signatures and other details to keep the listeners on their feet.
The musicianship is top notch across the board, and these guys obviously know how to write metal music with hit potential. The drummer has great chops and perform impeccably solid, while the guitar work is impressive, bordering on being virtuous – and you can expect neoclassicisms and advanced techniques to pop up in the solos, but without the solos being pure shred (there is actually a lot of melody and feel to the solos).
MyGrain is a very solid album, which should appeal to fans of melodeath and power metal alike as well as folks who like modern metal in general. Given the progressive elements that pop up every now and then, fans of more accessible progressive metal might like it too.
1. Into the Parallel Universe
2. Shadow People
3. Dust Devils and Cosmic Storms
4. Of Immortal Aeons
5. A Clockwork Apocalypse
6. Eye of the Void
7. Trapped in an Hourglass
9. Cataclysm Child