Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum – Album Review

Re-Armed - Aeternum Ignis - Artwork

Artist: Re-Armed

Album Title: Ignis Aeternum

Label: Black Lion Records

Date of Release: 5 June 2020

Re-Armed have been around for many years but have always seemed to be just off the radar of most discerning heavy metal fans to date. Formed way back in 2001 in Kerava, these Finns started out with a more-than-healthy admiration for their Swedish cousins, basing their output on the great and the good from the burgeoning Gothenburg scene principally. However, it took over a decade and a string of demos before Re-Armed released their debut full-length, entitled ‘Worldwide Hypnotise’ in 2012. A further two albums have since been released to little apparent fanfare, myself included. However with ‘Ignis Aeturnum’, their fourth studio album, I wonder whether their relative anonymity may be about to change.

There is certainly much to admire on ‘Ignis Aeturnum’, that’s for sure. The most intriguing thing about it is the band’s willingness to blend a number of influences together to create a listening experience that, whilst not entirely unique, has flashes of originality about it. It is also like the bastard lovechild of Sweden and Finland, where Swedish influences like early In Flames and Amon Amarth meet with typically Finnish sounds, inspired by the likes of Wintersun, Amorphis and even Children Of Bodom. I also hear some thrash and a little of bands like Ex Deo within the template here too, just to shake things up a little more.

Those Children Of Bodom influences loom large right from the outset of the more ‘modern’ sounding ‘Ode To Life’ thanks to the prominent, energetic bass line courtesy of Juhana Heinonen that is then joined by wailing and squealing lead guitars that continue to shriek and cause havok throughout the song. There are a few flamboyant synth sounds and effects that flit in and out of the track in unruly fashion as well as a more refined sense of the symphonic. But at the central pillar to the song is the heavy riffing and brutal growled vocals by Jouni Matilainen, which are both, to a greater or lesser extent, a feature throughout the entire album.

The symphonic aspects to the Re-Armed sound come to the fore within ‘Eager to Collapse’, thanks to a delicate piano intro as well as dramatic string sounds to embellish heavy riffs and a catchy chorus. But the symphonics are also a feature of a number of other tracks, including ‘The Hollow Lights’ which features some of the most pronounced and dramatic orchestration, coupled with bold, modern-sounding synth embellishments and an abrasive death metal quota, and superb solo guitar work for good measure.

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Other noteworthy tracks include the stomping ‘Words Left Unsaid’ which again blends some heavy, uncompromising chugging death metal with orchestration and a sense of lush drama. The riffs never lose their potency but they fit the more melodious chorus very well indeed. ‘Voyager’ is another interesting track that kicks off in the vein of a movie score, before surprising with a slightly smoother, more mainstream feel, albeit still full of heaviness and power. The difference here being that things are toned down slightly to allow the full force of the melodies to take centre stage. A word has to go to the opener ‘Dive Within’ too, as it is a breathless, up-tempo blast of great death metal with a surprising amount of melody, great guitar work from Oskari Niekka and Allan Välimaa, strong drumming from Iiro Karjalainen and a gorgeous spoken word outro in what I believe is the beautifully musical Finnish language.

At the current time, my favourite track has to be ‘Beyond The Horizon’, thanks to its sheer anthemic nature. It rips from the speakers with barely contained aggression, blended with seriously strong melodies. It settles into a groovy beast that’s topped off by arguably the most immediate of all of the choruses. There’s a definite early In Flames feel to the verses, but rather than being derivative, it feels fresh, partly because of the cleaner vocals that aren’t forced or contrived; instead they are another string to the Re-Armed bow.

All things considered, ‘Ignis Aeternum’ is a really strong body of work, with very few weak links, meaning that this must be the breakthrough album from Re-Armed, a record that puts the quintet firmly on the melodic death metal map and opens the door to a greater number of possibilities going forward. I know that the music world is generally lacking in justice, but let’s hope that in the case of Re-Armed, the Gods are listening and lend a hand, for it would be a crying shame if Re-Armed didn’t get the recognition they deserve for a very decent album indeed in ‘Ignis ‘Aeternum’.

The Score of Much Metal: 85%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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