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Impish: The Call (demo)

What an incredible find indeed!

Finland is mostly known for producing dark gothic bands that deliver depressive and melancholic music. In terms of progressive bands, the Finnish have been far behind their neighbours. This always intrigued me, but finally, I've come across Impish, one of the many bands of talented vocalist and guitarist Antti Karhu. I got in touch with Karhu when I stumbled upon Mental Voice, another band of his, playing an interesting style of technical prog metal. Upon acquiring their 2003 demo, I also received a copy of the newly recorded Impish songs. A total of five demos eclipse 28 minutes, and most of them are quite long. Citing bands and artists like Devin Townsend, Aghora, Cynic, and Death as their favourites, I have to point out that these guys live up to the brilliance of their influences. Karhu's vocal style, though far from technically impressive, is very original, mainly because of his enunciation. Repeat listens attest to the depth and diversity of his voice, which is best noticed on the title track of this demo. As the song kicks in with mathematical riffs and rampaging bass and drums, Karhu begins singing in a somewhat throaty tone (quite different from his work with his other band Mental Voice) and screams the first verse that slighlty evokes the modern style of, say, Lamb of God. It's a very interesting mix though, considering the highly technical musicianship provided by his band mates. However, mid-way through, Karhu shifts to his clean singing, while he also lays down open chords on the guitar and launches into an outstanding instrumental lead with guitarist partner Jyrki Hiltunen, not too different from what Devin Townsend does in Strapping Young Lad I would say. That said, none of the songs on this demo feature any extreme vocal stylings, such as death metal growls or black shrieks.

"Spiritual Erection" is a solid tech metal piece with twisted bass variations and killer lead guitar work, while "Die With Me" shows the band's Finnish side, being a dark track that begins with acoustic guitars and morphs into one of the strangest prog songs you'll ever hear. Karhu's vocals could be likened to 80's blues rock singers (no kidding!) for a moment, before the band introduces another intricate passage of instrumental prowess. "Murder Divine" is their stab at an all instrumental piece with lots of swift chord sequences. Unfortunately the guitar tone is severely lacking here. It would be great to hear this track with proper production. The demo's last song is also the longest. "Violent God" demonstrates their most complex writing and pays homage to main guitarist Hiltunen's inspirations. I can certainly hear a vague reference made to both Ron Thal and Ron Jarzombek with some Paul Gilbert type of picking thrown in. The rhythm work of bassist Juha Jaaskela is crunchy and keeps up greatly with Juho Raappana's drumming.

Unfortunately being a demo, the recording quality is far from perfect. I really think Raapana's snare sound needs re-thinking and the dual lead guitars could be a bit tighter. The mix is a bit too loose in some places and some songs could use better structuring. That said, Impish are just a new band and with a real producer and decent label support they could be big. I still cannot believe these guys are not signed. Someone hurry up and give them a good listen. I'd be the first to buy their debut.

Track Listing

  1. The Call
  2. Spiritual Erection
  3. Die With Me
  4. Murder Divine
  5. Violent God

Added: February 10th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Impish website
Hits: 2650
Language: english

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