On My Side EP
posted on 3/2006 By:
On My Side was originally self released by Finnish newcomers Codeon, but the EP caught the ears of the people at Dies Irae Records, who signed the band and rereleased this effort as a teaser for the band’s imminent full length debut. It is a strong demo effort, and it’s easy to understand what the label sees in these guys. Still, the band has some growing to do if they hope to grab the attention of the community at large. Codeon plays thrash-rich Scandinavian melodeath built on aggressive rhythms and an appreciable technical flair. The guitar work of Sami Raatikainen and Asko Sartanen is the highlight of this first effort, with the two launching a barrage of blistering riffs and melodic runs. Raatikainen just assumed the second guitar spot in Necrophagist by the way, so you know he can really torch the frets.
Album opener “Fatal Soul Collision 2004” is the strongest of the five songs on the EP, bursting out of the gate with a volley of speedy riffs and frenetic rhythms. Frontman Vesa Mattila's vocals are grizzly bear harsh with an acidic sharpness, and his performance comes across as a strength at times and a little sour at others. But regardless of whether you like his style, it is a fairly one dimensional performance. The fact that the riffs crush and leap with agility only draws attention to Mattila’s singularness. Maybe that’s what’s keeping the album from really sinking its hooks into me. It’s hard to say, actually–there are few direct criticisms to be made here, but while On My Side is a listenable and decent first effort, the songs fail to really leave a lasting mark. Still, “drop the needle” and you’re much more likely than not to hear crunchy, bristling technicality offset by intermittent melodic overtures. Admittedly, I’m not much of a melodeath guy, but the band is at their best when they emphasize their technical aggressiveness. The sections that are built around melody typically come across as mundane, such as the chorus of the title track. On My Side is worth investigating for genre enthusiasts, who may well hear a bit more on this. It’s too close to call for the rest of you, but this summer’s full length will likely resolve the issue for fence sitters, one way or the other.
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