At first glance, “Icarean Tomb” has a pretty unsightly cover, comprised of a garbled hodge-podge of blacks/whites/grays, with a dabble of color in the upper center. The band and album name are nearly hidden in the lower left corner, barely legible amidst the backdrop. However, upon closer inspection, there’s a story being told in what first looks like a mess. A man with a gas-mask is kneeling in the foreground, observing ruins in the distance, the look in his eye a mixture of awe and disbelief. The colored area in the middle surrounds a mushroom cloud. And, as if to drive the point home that this is some bad happenings, the cloud is formed into skulls and proudly wearing the universal symbol for radioactivity.
So, from what I can tell, the “Icarean Tomb” is Earth after repeatedly not heeding the warnings of those opposed to the advancement of nuclear power for military might. The planet falls burning, much in the way of Icarus after not heeding his father’s warning of flying to close to the sun. Coupled with the song titles and lyrical themes, I would say 2ND SUICIDE don’t have much faith in the human race. Interesting, yes, but the cover’s still ugly.
Anyway, enough with my ramblings on cover art and perceived themes, especially considering that most of you are here for the music. To that end, 2ND SUICIDE* are none too shabby if you happen to enjoy Melodic Death Metal of the Finnish variety. (*As an aside, how does one commit suicide twice? Are we talking two people – which would then be two first suicides – or maybe a cat with extra lives to spare?)
Actually, while 2ND SUICIDE do play Melodic Death Metal, and are from Finland, they don’t really fit the mold of the typical bigger acts from their homeland (think CHILDREN OF BODOM, ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW, KALMAH, INSOMNIUM, OMNIUM GATHERUM, etc.). In fact, their sound is somewhat close to the debut of Sweden’s SATARIAL, for anyone familiar. The music is speedy but moody with a sense of foreboding buried deep within. The clean vocals used in some of the choruses are unique from the norm, with a sort of hollow, distant quality. The riffing is melodic, but also somewhat angular/unorthodox – not jarring my any means, but a little different.
The compositional skills found of “Icarean Tomb” are rather impressive for a young band. There’s nothing mindblowing on the EP, but the four proper songs (track one is an intro) are all well written and engaging. “Silent Light” is the standout track, and also happens to be the most “Finnish” sounding, with folksy roaming leads that wouldn’t sound of place on an AMORPHIS album, and an enjoyable usage of choir-like backing vocals.
In summary, if well-written and performed Melodic Death Metal is appealing to you, 2ND SUICIDE’s “Icarean Tomb” is worthy of attention. For a self-released effort from a young band, the performances on par with most any signed act, and the sound-quality is only slightly lesser. 2ND SUICIDE should find themselves some followers in the crowded scene, but next time, clean up that cover art please.
(Online July 29, 2011)