I never heard this Finnish band’s debut Pride/Fall, but after hearing this excellent slab of melodic, melancholy Finnish death metal, I will certainly be digging it up. Culling from the usual Finnish suspects like Amorphis and Rapture, Noumena’s crunchy, deliberate pace laced with somber harmonies also will appeal to fans of Insomnium, Swallow the Sun and Slumber.

Produced at Sundi Coop (Ensiferum, Rapture, Finntroll, Shape of Despair, Norther, Moonsorrow) Noumena has the familiar Finnish crunch that most of the bands above have already mastered, so Noumena’s lush, thick sound is welcoming and warm. However, With the addition of clean female vocals from the angelic Hanna Leinonen and guest clean vocals on some of the tracks from Fall of the Leafe’s Tuomas Tuominen, there’s plenty of variety amid the mid-paced chugging as first evidenced on first standouts “Everlasting Word” and “Slain Memories”, where Tuominen and Leinonen inject some classy elegance amid Antti Haapanen typically gruff yet eloquent growls. As with their peers, there’s a solid mix of upbeat though still depressive numbers (“The First Drop”, “A Day to Depart”, “Prey of the Tempter”, “Here We Lie”, “All Veiled”) and more somber, balladic tracks that mostly feature the guest vocalists (“Everlasting Word”, “Slain Memories”, “The Dream and the Escape”, “The Great Anonymous Doom”). The slower, more varied tracks are the standouts as they break up the Rapture/Insomnium worship a bit with a little Fin-Goth appeal and because Tuomas Tuominen has such a unique voice.

Even with the heavy handed, obvious influences mentioned (Antti Haapanen is a little too much like ex-Amorphis/Shape of Despair’s Pasi Koskinen), Noumena still stands out as a classy, high end act that has room to improve and develop their own sound. I found them to display the perfect Finnish balance of beauty and bestial that will hold me over until the next Insomnium record and displace my slight disappointment at Rapture’s Silent Stage.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 18th, 2005


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