A good year after “Volvere” Finnish FALL OF THE LEAFE already roll around with their fifth album and they almost seamlessly continue the dark direction of the previous effort, making sure that the Black Metallic past is exactly that, a thing of the past. And contrary to the role models of their new sound, KATATONIA, the Finns have not made the mistake of more or less re-recording the previous high class CD, but to continue to evolve and delve deeper into the chosen sound.
The music of the Uusikaupunki-based band still is very, very catchy and with a certain melancholic undertone, but without writing songs that stick at first listen and then kind of wear off after two or three, instead you have to listen to the disc a few times to really dig in all the way. But they went one step further on many levels, the vocals show a lot more maturity and expression, covering an even wider spectrum, from a very emotional clear voice to aggressive shouts.
Opener “The Fresco“ shows all of this right away, very catchy, with a certain touch of late KATATONIA, but sounding more Finnish and not as bleak. What is a nice added touch is that they sound more powerful than the Swedes do nowadays. On “But The Ghosts Here“ they bring in a more dramatic note, while “Off The Map, Under The Sun“ almost reaches blast beat level, while being very dynamic, great rack! And the expressive trio of “Ordeal“, “Quiet Citizen“ (a bit slower) and “Cold Java“ (faster) also can fully convince.
On the previous album all songs had been pretty close together, “Vantage” still is very cohesive, but overall is more varied as before and an own style is slowly taking shape, which thankfully enough is not following the lead of the usual suspects, but is carving its own niche, which should appeal to fans of nice melancholy as well as worshippers of more catchy sounds. (Online February 24, 2006)