Whispered – Thousand Swords

I wWhispered - Thousand Swordsas introduced to the little-known Finnish band Whispered by way of their polished demo, Wrath of Heaven. Describing themselves as “Samurai metal” (a genre name as asinine and sophomoric-sounding as “Viking metal” and “ice metal”), I was impressed by their brand of oriental-themed melodic death metal. Whispered practice the now-familiar style of keyboard-driven, Finnish death metal that has been popularized by their fellow countrymen, Children of Bodom.

Though the entire aforementioned demo is included as part of the long-playing Thousand Swords, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the album. Would the feudal Japan theme be as prevalent on the full-length as it was on the demo?  I was skeptical of the sound being able to be maintained for the entire duration of a record, with a playing time of over an hour, no less. The theme ends up being abundant, but restrained enough to not tread quite into the realm of gimmickry. There are a few sections utilizing actual traditional Asian instruments, but the style is relegated mostly to the leads, solos, and keys being played in eastern scales and modes. However, I can’t see the band being able to pull this theme off for  entire subsequent albums, though I could be wrong — fellow melo-deathers Amon Amarth have been able to successfully achieve theirs for every release (though in their case, it is mostly lyrical rather than musical).

Ultimately, Whispered play a well-executed, if typical brand of powered death metal, despite their Samurai motif. There isn’t really a lot going on here that you haven’t heard before from other bands of the style, though the melodic keyboards and delicious lead-work are admittedly pulled off with aplomb and worth at least a listen for that reason alone. Though the album contains a few longer, epic tracks, the band sounds best when not trying to overcomplicate things by firing on all cylinders with straight-up, aggressive metal tunes. Here’s hoping that Whispered is able to tap their considerable potential and step out of the shadow of their thematic, overly dramatic elements to craft a truly great follow up.

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~ by Dux on February 18, 2010.

2 Responses to “Whispered – Thousand Swords

  1. Their Facebook pages says the are “Melodic Death Metal with Japanese Influences”

  2. And being that “powered death metal” is a subset of melodic death metal, and a term I made up, their taxonomy would be fairly accurate for a lack of something more descriptive. I know your opinion about this. Quit beating a dead horse.

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