Album Title: Reveal
Label: Inverse Records
Date Of Release: 26 January 2018
Long term readers will know that this site is generally about supporting the efforts of musicians who have taken it upon themselves to create music at the heavier end of the spectrum. Normally, if I don’t like a record, I will pass on it because I prefer to be a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy. But it is 2018 and I felt like mixing things up a little. In addition, I have been left so deflated by this record that I felt compelled to articulate why exactly.
The album in question is entitled ‘Reveal’ and it is brought to us by Finland’s Vinide, a band best described as melodic symphonic metal. The band is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Elmeri Kinnunen, guitarist Mikko Kähkönen, keyboardist Heikki Polvinen and drummer Jaakko Juntunen, and ‘Reveal’ is their second full-length release.
The first thing to say is that there is some decent material on this album. Reverting to my square-one position of being ‘glass half full’, I am not oblivious to the fact that there are some songs that genuinely show a band with promise. And I think, in a way, that makes the situation worse.
After a bit of a non-event 90-second intro, ‘The Beginning Scene’ makes a fairly strong opening statement, combining some strong riffs with lashings of atmospheric tinkling keys. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of a less heavy and less progressive-sounding Epica with its neo-classical and bombastic approach, topped off by some perfectly acceptable vocals courtesy of Elmeri Kinnunen – I’ve definitely heard a lot worse. The injection of some full-on female operatic vocals just beyond the mid-way point is an interesting embellishment too.
Follow-up ‘Breakout’ rips along at a heady pace, reminding me of early Nightwish on steroids whilst the keys make their presence felt out front. However, the title track is definitely the stand-out composition. It increases the sense of theatrics with a quiet and deliberately slow opening, only to open up with a wonderfully expansive melodic chorus and huge swathes of orchestration.
‘Emmanuel’ is also a nice, chunky power metal number which gets the head moving.
The big problem that I have with Vinide and ‘Reveal’ however, is the inclusion of spoken-word parts. Unlike others, I’m not always anti the inclusion of such things. The case in point is my well-documented love of Seventh Wonder’s ‘Mercy Falls’ and, more recently, ‘The Flood Inside’ and ‘Trips’, both from Long Distance Calling. But here, on this album, it is nothing short of a train wreck.
‘Reveal’ is clearly a concept album with a strong sci-fi theme about robots, Artificial Intelligence and the battle between humans and their self-made enemy. And the spoken-word parts are clearly a key ingredient. In many ways, it is more of a dialogue at times between a male and a female character, as if we are listening to scenes from a movie. Unfortunately, the dialogue is just so awful. The choice of words, the length, the wooden delivery – it all adds up to ensure that my toes remain curled long after the horror has subsided.
Admittedly, the spoken-word sections do not feature throughout and they are self-contained to prevent their poison leeching into other tracks. However, the impact of them completely ruins my overall enjoyment of the record. Allow me to provide an example to illustrate my dislike more eloquently:
‘Anger’ sees Kinnunen deliver a minute-long monologue that is a victim of poor wording and criminal over-acting, culminating with the cringe-worthy line: ‘I’m getting really pissed off right now while I’m thinking all this…I’m going to teach the man a lesson about how to treat me.’ It doesn’t sound so bad on paper, but when (if) you hear it, you’ll understand more, because he doesn’t really sound that annoyed at all.
Then there’s the cheesy ‘Plea’, a 26-second female monologue that sits atop some awful plinky-plonky classical music.
And finally, there’s the worst offender of all, ‘The Truth’. It is a two-and-a-half-minute dialogue between two characters, male and female, which sounds like it was taken from the worst daytime soap opera ever conceived. It is badly written and poorly delivered, culminating in the following exchange:
Male: ‘Those disgusting wankers…sons of bitches…we have to stop this madness…what the hell is wrong with those people?’
Female: ‘I feel exactly the same as you. So what shall we do?’
Male: ‘I think I might have a plan in my back pocket.’
Seriously? At this point, there is nearly half the album left but I have been depleted of all enthusiasm to explore further. I do because I must, but it is a bit of a chore, with the preceding audio car crashes still clouding my thoughts.
In spite of this, I can hear that ‘The Plan’, the subtly-monikered track that immediately follows the ‘back pocket’ moment, is a decent, multi-layered and suitably epic song. And the closer, ‘Save The Earth’ is worth a mention as it ends ‘Reveal’ on a more positive note that it might otherwise have done.
However, in conclusion, I make this plea directly to the Vinide quartet: when you write your next album, please forget the voiceovers and the vocal acting. It has ruined ‘Reveal’ for me, an album that without all these mistakes might have achieved a positive score. As it is, I am almost 100% certain that I will never listen to this disc ever again. Now, does anyone know of a good method to remove the stench of Camembert from a set of speakers?
The Score Of Much Metal: 4
If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:
Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
In Vain – Currents
Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
Tribulation – Down Below
Machine Head – Catharsis
Bjorn Riis – Coming Home EP
Twilight’s Embrace – Penance EP
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Arch Echo – Arch Echo
Asenblut – Legenden
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse