Despite often being labeled as the Finnish Cult of Luna, I still feel that 2006s Noir is one of the better examples of the post rock/NeurIsis genre of the last few years, mainly because the cello just added something different to the typical build ebbs and thunderous peaks.

However, with providence there has been somewhat of a style shift, a shift that most with place rightfully so squarely at the feet of new singer Jani Ala-Hukkala. If you think Amorphis’ change from Pasi Koskinen to Tomi Joutsen sucked, then die hard fans of the band are going to really dislike Providence. The thing is, not only have the vocals changed with Hukkala plying an almost exclusively emotional clean croon (with the occasional more typical roar here and there from former growler and guitarist Markus Myllykangas), the music has become more relaxed and laid back and shares more in common with the likes of Day Without Dawn/The Postman Syndrome/Biclops and City of Ships than the more rumbling, brooding stylings of Cult of Luna and such.

And frankly, the results are pretty mixed. As much as I like Day Without Dawn, they are the exception to the rule due to their dreamy, layered guitar work. And while Providence has many moments of lush shimmering delicate guitars, warm organic layering and a hint of synths, the fact is that it’s barely a metal album and despite its best efforts, never promotes much of reaction except maybe a quick nap. The 10 rangy tracks deliver over an hour of virtually indistinguishable lush acoustics and silky but shaky croons and at their most urgent and dramatic (“In Session”, “Covenant Colours”, “Eastern Era”, “Where the Spirits Tread”), Callisto are a still a mere shell of the crushing, moody intensity of True Nature Unfolds and Noir. That all being said, I did enjoy some moments, notably some of the synth/flute/saxophone injections and some parts provided a nice level of relaxing, introspctive artisty.

So, If you can temper your disappointment that this is the follow up to Noir and you are in the mood for something more contemplative and mellow in your post rock, Providence should provide something a little more laid back and relaxed. But if you are looking for yet another example of mountainously elegant yet crushing post rock, look elsewhere.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 9th, 2009


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