‘I Am Become’ is the fifth album by the Helsinki sextet and first with the current line-up. It is also awesome listening for the autumn where the sky is miserably overcast and the days brisk and cold. It’s rather melodic gloominess is rather warming and
The album opens with “As Above, So Below” which if I am not mistaken is in both English and Finnish, along with having Toni Toivonen singing both clean and death vocals over the laid back guitar rhythm and steady drum beat.
“Hearthfire” features Tomi Joutsen of Amorphis on vocals for this very bass riff heavy track. His vocals combine exceptionally well to Toni’s as they flow from death to clean.
The first track from the album I heard was “Elysium” which convinced me the remainder of the album would be worth listening to, with its melancholic lead by Mikko Kolari over Jussi Hämäläinen’s gently strummed guitar and the melodic clean vocals. The death vocals used on the song aren’t overbearing and just add more to it rather than becoming a focal point.
Nino Hynninen’s keyboards combine with the sci-fi vocal effects on “Our Dark Design” give the song a bit of a space age ambiance as well as making it seem there are 3 distinct vocal layers over Sami Forsstén’s extremely robot-like drumming patterns.
The extremely slow “Kouta” is all keyboards over simple drumming and machine-like vocals at first, before having have the guitars come into the mix followed by laconic death vocals as the pace doesn’t increase the way the heaviness does.
“From Iron Shores” starts out with a discordant guitar and an evil black metal rasp, but soon the guitars refind their melody and the clean vocals with loads of reverb carry the song. When the vocals morph into a growl, the bends and sustains the guitars progress through keep the melody flowing beautifully.
It doesn’t take long for the piano on “One Hundred Years” to be drowned out by the sharply picked guitar and snap of Jussi Kirves’s bass as the increase in tempo is met with an increase in volume and vocal aggression.
Starting rather slow again, “Forty One Breaths” maintains a steady bass picking rhythm that the guitars and vocals have no problem ebbing from distorted death to clean and serene then back again without making the drums change pace.
The album ends with the haunting “Ennen” where Riikka Hatakka’s female vocals have an eerie quality to them, which work perfectly for the song.
While the album is predominately atmospheric and melodic, it still has plenty of kick when required. Well worth giving a listen to.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)