Artist: Remains Of Destruction
Album Title: New Dawn
Label: Inverse Records
Date of Release: 27 May 2022
I’m delighted to be able to bring you a review today of a debut album that has managed to catch my ear for plenty of positive reasons. The artist in question goes by the name of Remains Of Destruction, and their first full length offering is entitled ‘New Dawn’. A Finnish sextet, the band came into being in 2019, at the hands of vocalist Jesse Yrjölä, who wanted to create a vehicle to unleash his musical ideas. The band grew steadily, with guitarist/backing vocalist Timo Pelkonen the first to sign up, followed by guitarist/backing vocalist Saalas Ruokangas, drummer Janne Ollikainen, Jaakko Saloranta, and keyboardist Osmo Lassila. With orchestration duties shared between Yrjölä and Ruokangas, Remains Of Destruction was deemed complete and since, have worked hard to bring us ‘New Dawn’.
Whilst the title of the debut is well-placed for the band themselves, in that it offers the musicians a new musical outlet, it is less well-named from the point of view of the final output. I say this because Remains Of Destruction will not blow you away with music that is overly original – this venture does not offer a new dawn musically, so to speak. That said, this band have hugely impressed me nonetheless, because ‘New Dawn’ features a brand of symphonic power metal that ticks many of my required boxes. And, unless I’ve completely lost my touch when it comes to quality control, I believe it’ll tick many others’ boxes too.
It may only last for 37 minutes or thereabouts, but it’s a thoroughly entertaining affair from start to finish. There is little space for excess fat, so the music comes in hard and maintains the energy throughout. I like the way in which the songs are both heavy and symphonic, without either element getting overshadowed along the way. The production is commendable too, allowing both aspects of the music to flourish. I did, however, have an initial concern over the vocals of Yrjölä. Not in terms of his abilities, because he has a perfectly strong voice with good range to sit at the heart of this kind of music. It was more to do with the mix of the album and the way that his voice seems quite loud and high up in the mix. It still raises a question mark in my mind during the first song or two, but I am much more used to it now and I am reasonably content that it doesn’t overly detract from my enjoyment.
What is more important though, is the more I have listened to ‘New Dawn’, the more powerful and memorable it has become. The scene is well set by the barnstorming opening track, ‘Blood Moon’. It opens with a theatrical, symphonic intro with a vague Middle Eastern flavour, before the metallic main body of the song kicks in. When it does, it arrives with a real confidence, the riffs substantial, the rhythm section robust, and the melodies enjoyable, particularly in the hook laden chorus that begs to be sung along to. A flamboyant lead guitar solo, layered, textured keys, and a dash of groove round out an impressive opening, signalling Remains Of Destruction’s arrival on the scene in forceful fashion.
The bass work within the slightly darker and more thunderous title track is really ear catching, whilst the chorus is arguably the absolute best thing to be heard anywhere on this album. It blends the orchestral flamboyance with metallic power, and an almost ballad-like anthemic quality that’s irresistible. Again, I love the fact that the band aren’t afraid to let the solos rip through the songs, and this song is no exception. It is also the song that convinced me about Yrjölä’s vocals, as he gives one hell of a performance here, full of passion and gravitas.
There’s an unmistakeable neo-classical element that shines through ‘Final Light’, not to mention a Kamelot-esque galloping rhythm and keyboard solo. Normally, I baulk at such things, but this solo is delivered with a fair amount of panache and restraint, meaning that it fits the song nicely. The great material keeps coming, with the intro to ‘Mastermind’ a powerhouse of drama and melody, with plenty of orchestral bombast. The foundation of the composition is another great chorus that’s a bit of a grower compared to others on the album, topped off with choral effects for extra gravitas, as well as a brief foray into extreme metal territory complete with deep growled vocals which of course I welcome with open arms.
It may not be my favourite song on the album, but the variety within ‘Mankind’s Bequest’ is impressive, especially given the song’s brevity. In under four minutes, we get a cinematic introduction of huge proportions, modern electronic embellishments, a progressive metal sheen, and some bulldozing classic heavy metal.
The muscular guitar tone found within the majestic ‘Northern Stars’ is great, as is the sheer power that’s nicely juxtaposed with moments of quieter whimsy and atmosphere. And ‘Silvery Fields’ is equally as enjoyable, albeit in a more immediate manner thanks to the strong melodic thread that runs through it, much like many of the songs on this album.
Come to think of it, there are very few moments on ‘New Dawn’ that fail to hit the mark in one way or another. For that, Remains Of Destruction must be warmly commended as such feats are becoming ever more rare these days it seems. ‘New Dawn’ could be longer, and it could have been a little more original at times, but it is hard to argue with a record that delivers this kind of entertainment with such consistency. Sometimes, that’s enough, and in the case of Remains Of Destruction, their brand of melodic symphonic power metal is more than enough to keep my head nodding and an appreciative smile on my face. Don’t dawdle, get on it and check these Finns out as soon as possible.
The Score of Much Metal: 88%
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