Release DetailsLABEL Elitist
RELEASED ON 8/4/2003
A Warm Glimpse
posted on 8/2003 By:
Here's a debut album that's been getting a lot of buzz in the "weird metal" circles. Farmakon's album "A Warm Glimpse" does a fine job of building off of a solid foundation of Opeth, then adding in doses of thrash and jazz. As is expected when talking about off-the-wall, progressive metal, they are from Finland. I'm sure that the band is getting sick of the Opeth comparisons, but the basis is very valid, and furthermore, is that a bad thing? Don't answer that, I think they're a fine band to be compared to. This basis for comparison is mostly grounded in two main areas: the vocals and the guitar progressions. With so many bands doing the clean-and-quiet/growled-and-heavy song structure, blaming that aspect of Farmakon's style on Opeth would just be overkill. Besides, while an all-out thrasher is always welcomed, I appreciate a band who can continually change things up while remaining interesting. Anyway, the growled vocals are a dead-on Akerfeldt. On the other hand, the excellent clean vocals of Marko Eskola are all his own. About the guitar progressions, they tend to borrow from that style of unconventional riff structure that Opeth has patented. (Think of the riffs in the chorus of "Godhead's Lament".) But screw it, good metal is good metal.
The album's production is strong, clear, and crisp - nothing to complain about. As for musicianship, Farmakon are composed of skilled players, as is a requisite for any band that attempts jazzy metal. As for my take on the jazz inclusion, it's pretty hit-or-miss. I'm not one of those metalheads that gets wet at the first crack of odd time signatures and other indicators that people schooled in music theory would be able to name. (Hell, my musical education is pretty much limited to when I tune my guitar down to D or C.) For me, some bands can pull it off seamlessly, like Atheist, others just lose me in their vision. With these guys, some songs it fits in just fine, but other times it seems like Farmakon are being weird for the sake of being weird.
Songs of note include Loosely of Amoebas, which transitions from ripping thrash, to silly Red Hot Chili Peppers stuff, to soulful wah-induced leads, and back again a few times. Pearl of My Suffering is a superb, ambitious song that deftly weaves the acoustic guitar into an pure metal fabric. Flavoured Numerology draws in the thrash, with a wink and a nod towards The Leper Affinity. Then there's Stretching Into Me, which ends in a suitable fashion, but then inexplicably tacks on an extra 90 seconds of totally out-of-place outro, with Carlos Santana-like soloing and a hilirious growl right at the end.
If A Warm Glimpse is any indication, Farmakon are a band that have an incredible album in their future. This album isn't that incredible album, but it's still pretty damn good. Once they can successfully blend in the jazz elements, or decide to abandon them altogether, look out. But they are a young band and they'll figure that out in the next album or two. Recommended.
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