My first encounter with Whispered was around the time they had just released┬áthe video for “Blindfold” to the world of the internet – off of their 2010 debut album “Thousand Swords“. They did not strike me as the type of band who were breaking boundaries at the time and in all honesty they sounded too similar to what was being put out there. Having that impression, I had forgotten all about the band for several years until they returned with a much stronger sound in 2013, with their single and song title “Jikininki“. With the song floating around Youtube and constantly reappearing alongside the artists I listened to, I finally took the initiative to give them another shot and finally, Whispered got me hooked with┬á”Jikininki” – the song that┬ágravitated me to pay closer┬áattention to this band. With their latest opus, “Metsutan – Songs of the Void” it is clear that they have made a lot of massive improvements and their evolution is only beginning.
For me, Whispered have found their identity since “Shogunate Macabre“┬áand now (in such a short time)┬áthey continue to expand from it and they are excelling in doing so. They are paving a new face of melodic death metal that has not fully come into light. You see “oriental metal” thrown around everywhere, but only a few bands have been able to pull it off, Whispered is one of them. I have come across “ninja metal” bands in the past and they achieve the lyrical themes but the music itself struggles to match the concept. Valjakka has achieved just this, this metalized version of traditional ethnic sound and more.
The instrumental narrative of the album is conceptualized with strong feelings of hope, hate and despair. It is cinematic accentuated┬áby samurai theatrics and┬áin the right moments with bamboo-flutes, narration, choir and brass orchestra.┬áStories within the songs are connected in a way that they were inspired by Japanese folklore and culture, which convey a warrior’s deep introspection of the true meaning of honor and defeat, his dedication and philosophy, tales of a 5-headed dragon falling in love with the goddess of music, an artist gone mad expressing his hate towards the world etc. Among other things this is (by a margin) what sets Whispered apart from other Finnish acts of today.
“Metsutan – Songs of the Void” is a very strong effort and a top notch album in my opinion. With such a huge project I am sure lot of man power went into fine tuning this epic – the powerful┬áand energetic riffs, interesting Japanese pentatonic scales in the choruses and rhythms, story telling and poetic style of writing, fitting grandiose of an orchestra with┬áEastern mythology┬áand oriental instruments to boost.┬áSurely, fans of┬áChthonic would enjoy this! If there were such a thing, I would dub “Metsutan – SOTV” a┬ápearl of the baltic seas…┬áor something. Songs worth checking out are: “Exile Of The Floating World“,”┬áSakura Omen“, “Tsukiakari” and “Bloodred Shores of Enoshima“.
1. Chi no Odori (01:51)
2. Strike! (04:50)
3. Exile of the Floating World (04:12)
4. Sakura Omen (07:31)
5. Kensei (05:29)
6. Our Voice Shall Be Heard (05:43)
7. Tsukiakari (08:05)
8. Warriors of Yama (03:07) Instrumental
9. Victory Grounds Nothing (03:20)
10. Bloodred Shores of Enoshima (11:23)
Playing Time: 55:31
Release date:┬áMay 20, 2016
Label: Redhouse Finland Music Publishing