Review: “Inter Vivos” by Dead End Finland

Inter Vivos“, meaning a life-long commitment which only expires due to the death of the other party, is the name that Dead End Finland have chosen for their forth studio album, which has been an incredible three years in the making. It follows 2011’s “Stain Of Grace“, 2013’s “Season of Withering” and 2016’s “Slaves to the Greed“, although a trio of the songs that appear on it were released in 2018. Their roots are in Melodic Death Metal but they pride themselves on building in Symphonic and Electronic elements to create a hybrid sound of their own which is dark-toned, but at the same time extremely beautiful. Recorded at their own D-Studio, Mikko Virtanen (Vocals), Santtu Rosén (Guitars & Bass), Miska Rajasuo (Drums) and Jarno Hänninen (Keys) have created what they believe is their finest album to date.

The synth heavy introduction to “Deathbed” with its smattering of Industrial Metal riffs and spoken word piece instantly brings to mind bands like Cynical Existence and Rammstein, the main difference being that Dead End Finland’s sound is a symphony compared with the colder, starker Industrial tones of the others. The Nu-Metal introspective vocals from XX don’t tread too deeply but do showcase a fine clean sung range. “Closer To Extinction” then bites down hard like the gnashing of teeth with some gravelly uncleans that you might not see coming. The Industrial elements are a bit colder on this one but they’re backed off beautifully by some orchestral work that gives the whole song a sense of the epic. “Lifelong Tragedy” continues that sense with the guitars being the thunder of the storm within the mix rather than at the forefront of the sound. It’s slow crawl building tension is well constructed around wordy lyrics that stare into the abyss.

Picking up the tempo from the gloomy doldrums, “Tightrope” has a far more involved groove metal guitar backing creating a Mnemic esq feel during the beast calling uncleans. The clean vocal parts are clearly a big part of the bands sound so when they play their part against the bright synths it provides a fine contrast to the brutal side. Similarly, “Dark Horizon” hammers home it’s intent with a suitably distortion laden riff with some tribal rhythmic drum fills building Dead End Finland’s wall of sound. What’s great about that approach is that the way the human brain works means that you appreciate different elements with each repeated listen. Attacking in waves from the black to the bright and back again, this one is a stand out cut. Changing the pace with a bright classical piano instrumental in “Dead Calm” serves to break up the album flow with a moment of clarity before “War Forevermore” chimes in with its black future inspired lyrics. The vocals sound like the wrath of the Gods at times while the lyric “War. What is it that you’re fighting for?” is reminiscent of the Edwin Starr song while creating a catchy sing-a-long moment, surrounded by a whirlwind of synths and rhythmic guitar battery.

Stepping up the heavier aspect with the Nu-Metal tinged “My Pain” is the obvious way to follow up one of the more epic tracks and it’s opening half of gravelly uncleans is a solid foundation that breaks for some repeating clean lines that provide that sing-a-long ability once more. It would be interesting to here this one without the synths, as why they are integral to the overall sound, there is more intense guitar work underneath. “Born Hollow” chugs and lurches offering some Melodic Death Metal touches as it plays out against science fiction keys and driven guitars. If this was the soundscape of a film adaptation of the “Dead Space” game series, it wouldn’t be far off the mark. Slowing things down for a their final moment, “In Memoriam” is perhaps the ode to a broken relationship as much as a submission to depression. A powerful sentiment that is wrapped up in swathes of sonic mortality, it’s a somber and thoughtful way to end the album. Some will no doubt call for more unclean vocals from Dead End Finland, such is their unquestionable quality but they are just a part of the overall sound the band are looking to create [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Deathbed
  2. Closer To Extinction
  3. Lifelong Tragedy
  4. Tightrope
  5. Dark Horizon
  6. Dead Calm
  7. War Forevermore
  8. My Pain
  9. Born Hollow
  10. In Memoriam

Inter Vivos” by Dead End Finland will be released on 24th January via Inverse Records

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