Einvigi - Monokroma

Artist: Einvigi

Album Title: Monokroma

Label: Einheit Produktionen

Date of Release: 1 March 2024

And there it is. That feeling you get when you discover a new band, and they make an immediate impact on you. Once again, I owe a debt of gratitude to social media as it was a recommendation from a follower that prompted me to check this album out. Actually, to be precise, this was one of the albums listed in his top five or six of the year so far when I posed the question one evening recently. With other names on the list that I loved and agreed with, it seemed sensible to try the others. And the rest is history, because I can definitely see why this particular album features.

The band are called Einvigi and they are a Finnish entity that was created in 2014. ‘Monokroma’ is their third full-length in that time and it’s where I finally jump on the bandwagon. Better late than never, I suppose. Blending blackgaze with more traditional Finnish folk influences and a smattering of post-metal into the bargain, no-one sounds quite like Einvigi which is possibly the best compliment that I can pay the quartet. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Petteri Granberg, bassist/vocalist Joonas Koppanen, guitarist Krister Virtanen, and drummer Mikael Ruoho, they come together to create a rather unique sound, one that I have instantly taken to.

The reason why I have taken so strongly to this album is because it pushes all my buttons. It is heavy and extreme enough where it needs to be, allowing the black metal influences to run riot. But it is not afraid to show a more delicate side, with both the melodic shoegaze elements, and those folkier elements when they manifest themselves. It’s a wonderfully balanced and varied album, too, that flows nicely from beginning to end, ebbing and flowing with an elegance and fluidity that’s really impressive.

The album gets underway with ‘Huoma’, a song that builds in a steady post-metal manner from humble beginnings, introducing a delicate melody as the drums beat a tattoo alongside. And then, we’re thrown headlong into glorious blackgaze territory not dissimilar to Mol as the fast-riffing and raspy gruff vocals intermingle with a beautiful melody that’s solemn yet uplifting at the same time. There are plenty of tempo changes as the mid-section of the song is dominated by a fast, intense double pedal battery, before Einvigi mix it up by going all-out shoegaze on us, eventually unleashing a clean voice that is wonderfully melodious and pure towards the dying embers.

Things get even better with the introduction of ‘Elossa eilen, tänään jo kuollut’ which, when translated, essentially means ‘Alive yesterday, now dead’. A powerful title for a powerfully emotive track which begins in robust fashion, the blackgaze drenched in keys, only to drop away entirely for a minimalist and deeply atmospheric passage to emerge. The vocals are clean again as the blackgaze picks up again, albeit incredibly warm, melodic, and inviting. The best part of the track, however, is reserved for the sprawling chorus, the pinnacle of which is a deeply moving clean vocal melody, as if pleading to the heavens atop a lush melody. Not content to leave it there, the second half of the song introduces more of a folk feel thanks to some clean guitar strumming, that builds back up to that chorus again, alongside some dreamlike layered vocals. I simply cannot get enough of this song; it’s easily one of the best I’ve heard during 2024 so far.

Einvigi - Monokroma

I’m not kidding either, when I state that there’s not a weak track anywhere on ‘Monokroma’; fast forward or skip at your peril because if you do, you’ll miss something genuinely wonderful. ‘Tumman veden lapsi’ (‘Child Of Dark Water’) sees Einvigi at arguably their heaviest on the album, as blastbeats ring out for large sections, alongside spiky and cold black metal staccato riffs. And yet, even when they unleash their metallic weapons to the full, the track still feels inviting thanks to yet more memorable melodic interplay elsewhere within the instrumentation; acoustic guitars, playful bass, and clean singing all help to soften the edges without blunting them, whilst an extended minimalist passage breaks up the heaviness perfectly, only to allow it to return tenfold in the final stages.

None of the compositions are overlong either, with the ten tracks collectively coming in at around the 46-minute mark overall. And yet, as I’ve described them thus far, you can tell just how much is crammed into each composition. But the album never feels rushed, cluttered, or forced in any way. To these ears, there’s precious little on ‘Monokroma’ that shouldn’t be there, with each section working toward the overall aural narrative perfectly.

I love the guitar tones within ‘Ambrosia’, which echo those of Katatonia around ‘Tonight’s Decision’, but even more, I love the peaks and troughs within the song that ensure it’s a truly epic-sounding affair without any unnecessary bloating. I could go on, and I will, because I’m enjoying typing out my thoughts towards this record. ‘Kuolintanssi’ (‘Dance Of Death’) has more of a straightforward hard rocking vibe to it, especially at the outset, but again, the lead guitar melodies are arresting and whimsical without sounding contrived. Never sitting still, we also hear blasts of frantic black metal and evocative atmospheres to keep the listener on their toes and fully engaged. The title track is different again, but still very much within the Einvigi mould, delivering some chugging riffs that work well with the rhythm section to provide a pulsing feel at times.

‘Monokroma’ closes out in real style with the three-part ‘Yksinäisen Laulu’ (‘Song Of The Lonely’), the second part of which is a delightful acoustic guitar instrumental, surrounded by yet more exquisite post-metal-infused blackgaze via parts one and two. Honestly, there is nothing that I would look to change with this release; it’s brilliant in every way and should be a name on the lips of anyone who enjoys high quality, emotional, and atmospheric music in the blackgaze mould. This is one of the biggest and best surprises this year, and I adore it. Sensational stuff.

The Score of Much Metal: 94%



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