When a completely unknown band from Finland suddenly gets a deal with the renowned label Spinefarm Records and had been touring with the international stars of BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE before the result cannot be bad. APRIL were declared a demo band until recently and now the debut is in stores waiting to be purchased by interested Metal heads. Things can change this quickly provided that you possess enough musical skills and are able to offer something to the spoiled ears of your potential audience. All this definitely goes for these five Finns, as “Tidelines” has everything an above-average and modern Metal album should have. With that said, the term Modern Metal should be used carefully here, as it was has been used by so many bands many Metal fans are put off just by hearing or reading the description.
With that said Modern Metal would hit the nail on the head with „Tidelines“ since there hardly is another way to describe APRIL’s musical output. Even though you are reminded of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, STONE SOUR or IGNITE again and again, IRON MAIDEN have also left their mark, especially instrumentally, and thus they are among the influences as well. However, such comparisons are hardly suitable to describe “Tidelines” as APRIL have managed to stand out despite the vast amount of other bands.
On their debut APRIL do not waste any time before they unleash the first definitive earworm in “The Power Of One”. The opener shines through strong riffs and clever breaks, has an insane groove and abounds in heaviness. Another big plus is vocalist Hakim Hietikko who uses his voice to create wonderful melodies as well as the necessary aggression and thus perfects the excellent songs. “First Blood” is up to par with the opener and has the same qualities. APRIL know really well how to switch between furious sections and galloping mid-paced parts. Speaking of melody, those who prefer things to be somewhat more comfortable should check out ”Stain”, which starts out with acoustic guitars and is much calmer. After that things become fast again as “Soul Of Elimination” is one of the heaviest songs on “Tidelines” and offers a lot of screaming and intensity. The following “Colourblind” serves the afore-mentioned IRON MAIDEN influences. A picture book earworm. Fresh, unspoilt and recognizable, this song will captivate the listener in no time.
It is not over though, as „Dead Man Walking“ is the next killer in line and immediately goes for the listener’s throat. “Weakened To Speak” almost is a semi-ballad in comparison, though only in parts, for they are miles away from cheesy rants. After this short break “Time Is Up” is up-tempo again, but there are also some more quiet parts after the mid-section. Variation is the key, that is what APRIL have realized. “Two Steps (For A New Revolution)” once again shows what this band is capable of. The only weak point to my mind is the last song on the debut, as “Fading” could have been ditched or replaced with another aggressive track. I do not mind acoustic parts and strings, but that is too much as a closer for “Tidelines” and if they wanted to put such a track on the album a three minute piece would have been sufficient instead of straining the listener with five minutes. But that is just a matter of taste.
Apart from that APRIL deserve the metallic audience’s attention as both the production (Tero Kinnunen, who has worked with NIGHTWISH among others) and the packaging are excellent. So do not be shy and check “Tidelines” out, modern Metal really cannot be played much better.
(Online June 18, 2007)