Noumena
Death Walks With Me

After 2005’s Absence and 2006’s Anatomy of Life, Finland’s Noumena looked to be on the verge of breaking out and rising to the levels of fellow Finns Amorphis, Insomnium, Swallow the Sun and previous greats like Rapture and Sweden’s Slumber in the realms of melancholic death metal. However, the band took a hiatus and simply disappeared for 7 years. As detailed in my interview with band, I get an email out of the blue asking if I want to review the new Noumena album, Death Walks With Me.

Not much has changed in the Noumena camp, the band still plays an excellent form of typically Finnish, somber doom death metal with female vocals used extensively. The only real change is that Suvi Uura has taken over from Hanna Leinonen and there are no guest vocals from Fall of the Leafe‘s Tuomas Tuominen as on the last two releases. Those very subtle changes are what make Death Walks With Me still excellent, while still delivering a trademark and instantly recognizable Finnish sound.

You can hear obvious Amorphis influenced, smooth riffs (“Nothing”) sheathed in a more despondent tone and Antti Haapanen’s gruff deep roars play off Suvi Uura’s unique, crisp tone. Rather than the typical female soprano vocals, she has a meaner rock presence, though still alluring. And it all comes together perfectly as the album ranges in moods from stern chunky, but elegant melodic death metal (“Only the Silent”, “Let it Run Red”) to full on depressive doom dirges (“Sleep”, “Season of Suffocation”) and an overall sound that can only be described as Finnish.

Standouts include “Handful of Dust” with a killer climactic choral arrangement and “The Storm” with a nigh perfect melodeath bouncy riff to die for. Other highlights include the aforementioned somber lope of “Season of Suffocation” with its striking French horn solo and closer “Sundown” where Uura takes center stage with a cello driven ballad to close things out on a down trodden note as only the Finns can.

Of course, it all comes with the expected, familiar Finnish guitar tone and polish and the whole effort drips with mood and emotion amid the clearly perfect riffs and writing. I’m glad to see these guys not only back in action, but back with such a great album, and while Amorphis‘s Circle will get the lions share of the attention in Finnish metal circles this spring/summer – don’t sleep on Noumena, as even without a ‘real’ label they have delivered a release that’s easily on par with Circle, just without the big name, legacy and respected 11 album back catalog. But note for note, song for song this a just as good.

I hope they can sell enough copies of this to re-release Anatomy of Life, as the $200 asking price on eBay and Amazon is ridiculous…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 9th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: stiffy

    Great band. One of the few who can keep this style alive and sounding great. This album brings a smile to my face. Hope they continue.


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