The name of this Metal brigade might give the listener a hint about the whereabouts of its members and so might the mysterious title indicate the musical direction taken on the band’s latest full-length release. As for the latter question, Latin has been used many times by musicians dealing with the darkest sounds in Metal and also here this language is a part of a gloomy, pretty extreme concept. Needless to say that Latin seems to match perfectly the result of FINNUGOR’s artistic efforts. The ensemble – and now for their location – have their origin in both Finland and Hungary, which somehow also is reflected in the tracks – whereas their melodic spirit can be associated with the first country, the mysterious atmosphere the songs are wrapped in might take our thoughts to the path towards the estates belonging once to a certain notorious Hungarian noblewoman of the Bathory kin.
Ten tracks present on “Fame Et Morte” bring a portion of Symphonic Black Metal, though, not of the kind one can be used to after having experienced some offerings from CRADLE OF FILTH or LIMBONIC ART. The most important and remarkable feature of the band’s music is the extensive use of synthesizers that bestows it with a handful of effects. There appear moments of a somewhat unserious, grotesque character emphasizing even more the overall theatricality of every composition (the level of theatricality these songs are filled with exceeds seemingly most of what the nowadays Symphonic Black acts are spawning, not only these ones for that matter). Then one gets a number of passages with quasi-classical tunes as if directly taken from a sacral ceremony, which in this case makes the album an interesting voyage to the cold, murky and uninviting stone buildings of the medieval Europe. Moreover, there are some opening key sequences in tracks like “Sigillis Septem”, “Fame Et Morte” or “Vocem Angelorum” bearing a dose of primitivism quite similar to what Varg Vikernes has accomplished on his so far last two works. This way or the other the keys are always the musical demiurge and the phrase “key-driven” seems most appropriate to describe the contents here.
The fact that FINNUGOR have an immense affinity towards synthesizers has of course its spin-off effects. In this case the role of this instrument is so vital that the guitars and the drums appear to be nothing more than an addition to the whole structure. Frankly, while first listening to “Fame Et Morte” I did not even think of these two departments. The sound of percussion is mostly flat and only occasionally it gives the music some more life like in the title track. The guitars in turn show admittedly that they are rooted in Black Metal (this typical buzz plus the general simplicity of the riff sequences), yet everything is mostly conducted by the keys and the six strings do not contribute with anything essential. It is much more the vocal performance that proves clearly that FINNUGOR like creating blackish stuff.
Although the tempo is diverse ranging from sluggish to (most often) fairly swift it does not give you an impression of the music being unpredictable and at the same time engaging. Such a feeling emerges also because of monotony in the songs. If you listen to the best fragment on the track-list called “Mare Vitreum” you will soon notice that similar things appear as well in numerous other moments of the CD. Same synthesizer lines, shrieks and clean sublime singing (fitting otherwise the symphonic parts of the album) seem to be pending back and forth and appear here and there all the way through “Fame Et Morte” making me actually lose interest somewhere in the middle of the record.
The latest product from FINNUGOR, though somehow interesting in its form, does not keep ones attention to a satisfactory extent. Probably neither those who appreciate great amount of melodies nor the ones who relish in extreme music expression will find it highly enjoyable to listen to this album. The first ones for the reason of its repetitive nature and the others because of aggressiveness being put to background in favour of the synthesizer section. Perhaps next time?
(Online January 14, 2009)