Finland. Apart from being the place where I would quite like to be (apologies, Monty Python), it has been a country with a naggingly decent habit of finding, almost seemingly from nowhere, bands and artists that are worthy of our attention. I’m not sure what they have been putting in their tea or, as is probably the case, vodka up there but it seems to be having a positive artistic effect.
The latest Finnish group to grace my proverbial doorstep is Chaosweaver. They are, according to the weird categorizing on my iTunes, “Cinematic Extreme Metal”. No, I have no idea what this is either and, upon repeated listens to this sophomore effort from the Finns, it’s not actually very helpful in describing what it actually sounds like. To these, admittedly untrained, ears, “Enter the Realm of the Doppelganger” wears its influences and inspirations quite openly on its aural sleeve. They’ve taken a little bit of Cradle of Filth‘s sense of drama, a little bit of Slipknot‘s visceral power and a massive dollop of the symphonic narrative beloved of Dimmu Borgir and fashioned a blend of metal that whilst not unique then certainly diverting enough for most of you who like this sort of thing.
There’s some fairly straightforward black metal on ‘Wings of Chaos’ but that’s not entirely representative of the musical madness herein. Far more apposite of their artistic endeavour is ‘The Great Cosmic Serpent‘ where we get the full range of vocal stylings from chief barker Cypher Commander. He swoops and hollers through guttural, throat severing darkness up into diabolically infused melodiousness whilst his band run the gauntlet of extreme riffing to outright in your face chaos. Elsewhere, the enigmatically entitled ‘Ragnarock Sunset‘ represents perhaps the zenith of the band’s ambition with its symphonic hues that combine goth metal, classical influences and, one assumes, a little bit of tongue in cheek silliness from the Spaghetti Western echoes that are hard to miss.
And there you pretty much have it. For many, Chaosweaver will probably be something of a manic and slightly unhinged delight but I’m not so sure. The biggest problem from me with this record is the fact that I can see the joins. The record is exactly the sum of its often derivative parts. Whilst there are some delights to be had- you can’t really fault a bit of frenetic keyboard action, which this album has by the bucketload, and I’m all for a bit of misanthropic indulgence from time to time but, to be honest, there isn’t much here that you can’t get somewhere else and, often better. I cannot fault the band’s ambition in seeking to want to bring some form of alchemy from the various ingredients in their musical soup but on this occasion, I don’t think they have quite managed it. I’m left with a decidedly ho and, indeed, hum, feeling about the entire enterprise.