We seem to be living in an era where extreme “technicality” has infiltrated almost all genres of extreme metal. Rapid riffing and picking and barely human drum assaults seem to be a formula of choice employed by many bands to “modernize” their sound, almost regardless of the sub-genre in which they dabble. I’m not complaining, because I happen to enjoy bursts of flash and thrash, but it’s a refreshing change of pace, in a way, to find a newer band who create appealing music without resorting to pyrotechnics, acrobactics, and contortion and rely instead on the ability to write good songs and perform them capably. Magenta Harvest are one such band.
This Finnish group is composed of current and former members of Finntroll, Chthonian, Mygrain, and …And Oceans. They released a debut EP, A Familiar Room, in February 2011, which I really enjoyed — reviewing it here and including one of the EP’s songs in our list of 2011’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs” here. Late last month, they self-released a second EP, Apparition of Ending.
Stylistically, it’s in the same vein as A Familiar Room — a dark form of melodic death metal that’s both viciously heavy and massively infectious. The changes from the first EP to this one are not huge — the most noticeable change is in the sparing but effective use of keyboards, courtesy of Finntroll’s Aleksi Virta. But the band’s songwriting flair is still very much in evidence, and in only four songs the band offer a lot of variety.
The EP’s title track, “Apparition of Ending”, is definitely a candidate for this year’s edition of that NCS “most infectious songs” list. In fact, I’m tempted to just put it on the list right now, without waiting until the end of the year. The verse riffs are physically jolting, and the hook-filled chorus features a combination of lead guitar and bass that’s a sure-fire winner.
“The Unavailing Surpasser” opens with a brief anthemic intro riff and then segues into a lurching rhythm with a groaning low end and a diseased melody that gives the song a strong aroma of fresh corpsemeat.
“The Carrion of Men” is perhaps the EP’s purest example of the point with which I opened this post. The opening seconds of the song announce a very simple but very catchy riff around which the rest of the song is constructed. Stylistically, the song ventures into death-doom territory, slower paced than the previous tracks, with big stomping rhythms and a slithering guitar solo. Simple though it may be, “Carrion of Men” is just made to stick in your head after hearing it only once.
The pacing steps up on “One Walks Down”, and the song bears down hard with blasting drums and jabbing/grinding riffage, but it, too, includes melodic guitar passages that make the song distinctive and memorable.
Though the Gothenburg style of melodic death metal can be heard in places on the EP (and parts of it also reminded me of Hypocrisy, circa The Arrival), the low-tuning of the the instruments and the distortion levels also connect it to old-school death metal. The drumming (Janne Manninen) is also beautifully varied and perfectly executed to accent the changes within each song.
And a word about the vocals: Mathias Lillmåns (Finntroll) is capable of a range of vocal styles, but his ragged howls and hoarse roars on Apparition of Ending remind me a lot of Martin Van Drunen (Asphyx), which is a feat of which few are capable.
Magenta Harvest may have some trouble getting the attention I think they deserve because they’re not trying to break any molds. But the familiarity and relative simplicity of their style shouldn’t detract from the dependable quality of what they’re achieving. Here’s my favorite track on the EP:
“Apparition of Ending”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Apparition-of-Ending.mp3|titles=Magenta Harvest – Apparition of Ending]
Magenta Harvest is:
* Timo Hanhikangas (TOTAL VOMIT EXPERIENCE) – Guitar
* Jonas Frilund (CHTHONIAN) – Bass
* Timo Kontio (HAVOC UNIT, …AND OCEANS) – Guitar
* Mathias Lillmåns (FINNTROLL, CHTHONIAN) – Vocals
* Janne Manninen (MYGRAIN, …AND OCEANS) – Drums
All the songs from both EPs can be streamed here or here, and you can find the lyrics to Apparition of Ending at this location. Magenta Harvest’s Facebook page can be reached via this link. It appears that the album can be acquired in CD form by e-mailing the band at this address:
I don’t know if the band plans to make a digital download available. If I find out, I’ll update this post and let you know.