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Suotana: Frostrealm

Following up their two track debut demo, Forgotten Soil Of This Land, Finland's Suotana unleash their first album, Frostrealm. As their early cuts (neither of which feature here) alluded to, what this outfit hope to do is take a blackened death framework and inject, via keyboards and a mix of snarly and growled vocals, something more akin to the Gothenburg sound into it. As you'd expect, Children Of Bodom and their ilk spring immediately to mind, Suotana sitting quite neatly in that niche. However with fewer bands offering this sound in recent times, maybe it's not a bad place to be.

Loosely conceptual, Frostrealm (I can't quite work out if that's an awesome album name, or the ultimate cheese) tries to convey what it is to live in a part of the world where constant darkness is a thing of reality and not just a fear lever for fairy tales. Admittedly the imagery has more poetic license than that suggests and the manner in which the themes are portrayed is actually quite interesting; something that can also be said for the twin guitar/keyboard trade off provided by six stringers Pasi Portaankorva and Ville Rautio, alongside ivory basher Jari Körkkö on the rampantly paced, but intricately structured "Todays World". Since the demo, vocalist Juhani Merkkiniemi seems to have polished his attack somewhat, the long held screams less cartoonish in nature, his low howls a little more power packed. Yet, if there's a weak link here, it's maybe the singer's inability to bring a huge amount of character to the party, his contributions often overshadowed by the tight, impactful, nature of the music. A little more variance from track to track wouldn't go amiss either, however with the classy keyboard intro's utilised on "Child Of Frost" and "It Means" offering an all too scarce change of pace, there does seem to be an understanding that the constant chugga-chugga riffs and thunder of bass drums do occasionally require something to balance them out.

For all it's easy to pick faults in what Suotana do, it would be unfair to suggest this isn't an enjoyable romp through a genre that needs some new blood injected into it. They may have some way to go, but if Suotana can continue to improve at their current rate, they may well be just the band to do it.

Track Listing
1. Trail of Abandon
2. Todays World
3. For My Iced Angel
4. Child of Frost
5. Enclosing Me
6. King Pikes
7. It Means
8. Embrace

Added: May 21st 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Suotana on bandcamp
Hits: 1971
Language: english

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