Finland has always been a cradle for good metal bands. Masterstroke is one of them. The Government in Finland has always found it a basic skill to have young children develop their musical abilities. I guess that's why the bands all have such a good musical background. That a lot of them choose metal is perhaps because this style of music needs good control of the instruments and it does not many limitations in styles.
Third album 'As Days Grow Darker' has some style changes from their previous album 'Sleep'. They are introducing a darker and more atmospheric approach and less standard power metal hooks and lines. "Wait for the fall" is a rather fast track with excellent vocals and here we hear some new influences as we know from a band like Evergrey. Next song "As Days Grow Darker" is a slower track with heavy riffing - the song has a nice melody and sometimes has a doomy vibe. "Walls of My Temple" starts heavy and reminds me of Nevermore, even the emotional vocals of Niko Rauhala sound like Warrel Dane.
The other songs on the album have the same high level, in the balladesk song "Another Step Back' we hear Niko in a very emotional way. "Purity Fades" starts with a very heavy riff, reminding of Memento Mori and even some Candlemass. In fact the whole guitar sound is tuned rather low and heavy, which sees to it that the album sounds heavy as a whole.
Fans of Evergrey, Morgana Lefay and Nevermore should get a lot of pleasure from this record. A perfect mix of Evergrey with Nevermore embedded in songs with a head and a tail. Personally for me the surprise of this month!