There’s simply something about Metal from Finland. Something in the melodies and in the moody atmosphere makes Finnish Metal stand out from other countries. For the most part, it seems that a seasoned metalhead can spot a Finnish band within the first few minutes of an album, and FALL OF THE LEAFE’s latest work is no exception. “Aerolithe” is even easier to place than many of the other albums from the Land of a Thousand Lakes, as it falls into the Gothic Rock/Metal category that has been on the rise over the last several years. And as you all should know, Finland has spearheaded this much maligned and applauded (depending on who you ask) genre.
FALL OF THE LEAFE are a little more aggressive in technique than country mates HIM or CHARON, putting them closer to the SENTENCED school of Gothic Rock/Metal, without actually sounding anything like them. The melodies on “Aerolithe” are a little less straightforward than we normally get in the genre, making the album less forthcoming at first. For the most part, the songs don’t stick upon first listen, but begin to open up after some time is spent. The previously mentioned aggressiveness is most noted in the crunchy riffing style, giving FALL OF THE LEAFE a modern feel, not that far removed from Nu-Metal, but with much more class. In fact, it’s not too much of a stretch to think of “Aerolithe” as a Nu-Metal influenced Gothic Rock album, as the influences of Nu-Metal are felt in both some of the guitar playing and some of the vocals.
On the other hand, there are plenty of areas where “Aerolithe” is far from anything Nu-Metal, as well. One notable example is “At A Breathe’s Pace”, where subtle leads are intertwined with keyboard melodies and growled vocals. The album is also laced with much appreciated solos and the occasional (near) guitar heroics. The guitars never come near Malmsteen-esqe proportions, but the band isn’t afraid to cut loose at times (simply hear the next track, “Graceful Retreat”). As for the production, there are no complaints.
FALL OF THE LEAFE’s “Aerolithe” is another solid addition to a growing genre that has helped Finland grow on the Metal map. It’s not as immediately catchy as many of the other albums in the genre, but proves it’s worth through repeated listens. If you dig Gothic Rock/Metal, “Aerolithe” is worth checking out.
(Online October 6, 2007)