Ablaze In Hatred
The Quietude Plains

2006’s debut release Deceptive Awareness seems to have flown under the radar of many fans of epic, atmospheric doom metal despite having been released by Firebox, to my mind the premier label for that sound, based appropriately out of Finland and also boasting releases from scene icons such as Saturnus, Until Death Overtakes Me, Swallow the Sun, Tyranny, Funeral and Pantheist, as well as promising newcomers such as Mar de Grises, Colloseum and Minotauri. Ablaze In Hatred fit solidly into this roster, their first album being of remarkable quality in performance, production and composition; if not adding much to the style in terms of innovation, then certainly reinforcing the solid foundations of the genre with power, precision and class.

It is with that background, that I shamefully admit that I only became aware of their sophomore offering several months after it’s February release, the title of which I guess might be a reference to both band and label’s marketing strategy as neither the band’s or label’s websites are frequently updated, and I stumbled upon the release in my bloggy wanderings to the exclusion of having heard about it through any other metal media outlets. Better late than never, however, as The Quietude Plains finds the Finnish foursome continuing on their epic path and provides a bounty of majestic riffs, textured harmonies and Mike Ikonen’s impassioned, powerful growls that easily matches their impressive debut. While still reaffirming, rather than redefining, the niche subgenre in which their music comfortably resides, it is the quality of the songwriting that elevates Ablaze In Hatred to the top of the pack. The mix, courtesy of Kari Nieminen compliments the composition, allowing for a ton of breathing room which is so essential to this kind of music working most effectively. Rather than straining to grasp at the subtleties, the listener is presented with the entire palette, and whether it’s Miska Lehtivuori’s bass, Antti Hakkala’s precision organic dynamics behind the drum kit, or guitarists Ikonen or Juhani Sanna’s intricate underlying melodies on the strings or the keyboards they each handle, each element is presented with clarity and emphasis, yet never sacrificing a richly heavy atmosphere and strident momentum which characterizes the band’s sound.

Note that I do not offer up for consideration any one or two stand-out tracks. Where other bands, some admittedly more innovative or experimental than Ablaze My Hatred, will throw 8-12 tracks on an album and hope that the 2 or 3 that stick will generate positive feedback, these four Fins have clearly made consistency their watchword. In my younger days, I valued most hearing the new or next sound and while I still consider myself an adventurous listener, as my tastes have matured, I now have equal appreciation for groups that passionately dedicate themselves to producing great performances within established forms. I provide this brief biography to explain why albums like The Quietude Plains so ingeniously strike the proverbial chord. There are bands that are great because they push and stretch at the boundaries of sound, style and performance, but there are bands that are equally great as through expressing their love of a classic sound, they continually strengthen the foundation, providing a more solid springboard for future explorations. As such, I can not recommend this band or album highly enough for fans of epic, atmospheric and impassioned doom metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
August 28th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: timmy

    Mr. Gnesin, right on again.
    This is one of the best doom albums of the year, if not the best, but it’s still flying under the radar.

    Finnish doom on Firebox under the radar? How does that happen???


  2. Commented by: bast

    Sounds very good


  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    this is for sale at open grave records for $4!!!!


  4. Commented by: Blog › Teeth of the Divine Staff Picks of 2009 › Teeth of the Divine

    […] A.D.D. – Dead River, Ablaze in Hatred – The Quietude Plains, Animals as Leaders – S/T, Antigama – Warning, Between the Buried & Me – The Great […]


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