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Farmakon - A Warm Glimpse (9/10) - Finland - 2003

Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Label: Elitist Records
Playing time: 47:34
Band homepage: Farmakon

Tracklist:

  1. Loosely Of Amoebas
  2. My Sanctuary In Solitude
  3. Mist
  4. Stretching Into Me
  5. Same
  6. Flowgrasp
  7. Flavoured Numerology
  8. Pearl Of My Suffering
  9. Wallgarden
Farmakon - A Warm Glimpse
Someone had described FARMAKON as "OPETH in a head on collision with MR BUNGLE" but since I don't know anything about MR BUNGLE I can't really attest to that statement. Instead, I'd describe FARMAKON as a fusion of OPETH, Thrash, Funk and lounge-Jazz. Sounds impossible? Sounds like a mishmash? Not at all, for FARMAKON has succeeded in the seemingly impossible with their debut full-length. And the fact that this is their debut only makes this that much more incredible. So wipe that look of disbelief from your face and read on.

Whoa! I'm not even sure where to begin here! This is certainly unique and probably will be a turn-off for the most extreme Death Metal fans with it's odd mixture of elements, but it'd be a grave injustice if fans of Progressive Death Metal were to pass this by. Ok, I guess you want some kind of a proof of that. But first I'd just want to say that I'm not that experienced as to be able to fully explain this music so bear with me on this one. Alright, here we go…

The base of "Loosely On Amoebas" is Swedish Death/Thrash in the vein of THE HAUNTED or THE CROWN but to make it more interesting there are some OPETH like passages with beautiful riffs and clean vocals and at times the song breaks down to some funky lounge-Jazz jamming. "Mist" then shows a bit more of the OPETH side of FARMAKON. Already the first notes bring "Morningrise"-era OPETH to my mind but still FARMAKON maintains a sound wholly their own. And more of the OPETH kind is shown on the next track but whereas "Mist" took on "Morningrise", "Stretching Into Me" is taking on "Still Life" and especially it's more mellow parts. But wait, there's more! The last couple of minutes of the track are made up of a kind of Funk with a touch of Latin American rhythms. I know, I nearly cried at that moment too…

So you can basically expect the unexpected here. One minute it's a furious Death/Thrash attack and the other it's like OPETH and the next thing you know is that it's moody jamming as could be found in some smoky little pub…and the next minute it's something else again…

FARMAKON carefully navigates their ship keeping clear of such hazards as overdoing it or making it sound too difficult to approach. Everything is fitted together with care to deliver the best possible outcome and despite the progressive nature of the music it is still easy to approach and even get into, yet hard to fully comprehend. But hey, I'm only my sixth or so listen in so I've still got a lot more to go!

And to keep the OPETH similarities going the singer sounds just like Mikael Åkerfeldt at times. Not only can he growl like the great Mikael but he also has a great clean voice and can also vary those two vocal types all the way from Hardcore to almost Black Metal screams. The rest of the quartet should be merited as well for being able to go from fast and crunchy Death/Thrash to lounge-Jazz, Funk and whatnot in between like any pro of said genres without ever losing control. And that is something not many can muster.

Quirky and odd at times, but never out of control. A bit like EPHEL DUATH, just heavier. "A Warm Glimpse" is an extremely mature offering from such a young band and should appeal to any open-minded fan of Death Metal. Any fan of Progressive Death Metal and OPETH should be on the lookout as well! (Online October 21, 2003)

Jari Huusko



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